Course Requirements


  • Breakdown
  • Attendance
    • Missed Classes & Late Arrival
  • Participation
    • How to gain full points
    • How to lose points
  • Quizzes
  • Project
  • Presentation
  • Odds & Ends Writing/Activities

Grading Details

  • Where to Find Your Grades
  • Grade Scale
  • Incomplete Grades

Course Requirements

To pass this course, students are expected to complete all assessments and assignments listed below.

Assessments may change over the course of the semester based on student feedback and/or professor evaluation of the usefulness and effectiveness of an assignment.

All changes to the assessments will be reflected on the course website,, and announced in class or via email.


Your final grade in the course will be based on the following assessments.

Please note:  These assessments and/or the points allotted for each assessment may change before the start of the semester.

Instructions for specific assignments may also shift during the semester.


The following table lists all assessments for the course and a breakdown of the points allotted to each assessment
AssessmentPointsCompletion or Qualitative?Deadline
Project (Total)200

Project Proposal

(25)Completion26 Sept (L01); 27 Sept (L02)

Project Collaborative Points - Individual


Project Final - Group

(150)Qualitative5 days after presentation
Presentation150QualitativePresentation slots TBD

Significance Reflection

(20)CompletionStart of Class 6

Significance Slides/Sheets

(80)QualitativeStart of Class 5

Collaboration Reflection Prep

(20)CompletionStart of Class 7

Primary Source Reading/Reflection

(10)CompletionStart of Class 8

Fact-Checking Questions/Comments

(10)CompletionStart of Class 9

Activities: Web Literacy

(100)QualitativeStart of Class 12

Narratives Discussion Questions

(20)CompletionStart of Class 13

Workshop Check-In

(10)Completion (group, in class)End of Class 14


(100)QualitativeStart of Class 15

Web Accessibility DQs

(20)CompletionStart of Class 17

Sustainability + Open-Access Questions

(10)CompletionStart of Class 19

Accessibility Audit

(100)QualitativeStart of Class 20

Attendance (100 pts)

General Policy

You are expected to be present and on time for every class. You are expected to stay for the entire 90 minutes of the class. Classes start at 12:00 pm (L01) or 3:30 pm (L02), depending on which section you’re in.

I take attendance by snapping a photo five minutes after the start time. If you miss the photo, I assume you’re late. If I don’t spot you by the end of class, I assume you’re absent.

Missed Class & Late Arrivals

I’m serious about attendance because your presence is vital to the success of the course – but I also understand stuff happens. You could end up hospitalized, there might be a family emergency, your alarm may not go off, or you need to take care of your mental well-being.

So here’s the deal:

  • For each class that you are present and on-time, you earn 4 points.
  • For each class that you are present but either late or leaving early, you earn 3 points.

At the end of the semester, I will magically transform your three lowest grades into full marks.

This essentially means you may miss three classes without any penalty to your grade. You do not need to provide any documentation to justify your absence. You do not need to disclose anything to me that you would prefer not to share.

If you think you’ll miss more than three classes during the semester (or you’ve already missed more than three), please come see me.

I don’t guarantee a way to make up the points, but it won’t hurt to ask. At the very least, let’s chat about what’s going on (again, you only need to disclose as much as you’re comfortable) and how the absences might impact your final grade.

Participation (150 pts)

How to gain full participation points  🤗

You should aim to complete as many of the following activities as possible, but if you miss one you can still earn full points.

For instance, you might not think to email me a question, but if you’ve done your best to do everything else I wouldn’t pull points. Or, you might not want to speak in front of everyone, but you’re great at chatting with me in your group and consistent about the rest of the activities. Again – there’s a fair chance you could earn full points.

  • Have courage and speak in front of everyone in the class at least once.
  • Chat with me when I visit your group during an activity.
  • Come chat with me after class about course content.
  • Listen carefully to your peers during small group discussions and activities.
  • Good ways to show you’re doing this include eye contact, repeating back to them what you think you heard, and asking follow-up questions.
  • Listen carefully to anyone speaking to the whole class (including me, the instructor)
  • Voice your ideas and perspectives in small groups.
  • Submit questions and comments electronically (via Google Slides Q&A or email)

How to lose participation points 😔

The following activities will hinder you from gaining participation points:

  • Not showing up to class or showing up consistently late.
  • Consistent use of technology for non-class purposes
    • This includes using messaging apps, social media, videos, and music for purposes not related to the class. I’d also include online shopping here.
  • Disrespectful behavior toward peers or professor, online or in the classroom
  • Not joining in class activities

Please note that good performance in the “gain” categories doesn’t necessarily cancel out behaviors from the “lose” categories.

For instance, you might be awesome about speaking up and asking questions in class (kudos to you!). But if I notice that you’re spending a lot of class time on WhatsApp or shopping online, you won’t be able to earn full points for participation.

Quizzes (300 pts)

You’ll take four quizzes this semester to test your understanding of key concepts in the course. Quizzes will be a combination of MCQ and short answer. The quizzes will also be cumulative in order to reinforce your knowledge and reflect the interconnectedness and ongoing relevance of course concepts.

Each quiz is worth 100 points and will be completed in class. I will drop the quiz with the lowest grade at the end of the semester.

There are no make-ups for quizzes. If you miss a quiz, this will become your lowest-grade quiz and will be dropped. If you miss more than one quiz, it could substantially impact your overall grade in the course.

Project (200 pts)


Create a narrative about the history of humanity for the time period between approximately 10,000 BCE and 1500 CE.

The narrative should be constructed collaboratively in a group of between two and ten people.

The narrative should be presented in a format that is digital, accessible, free, and sustainable. [Update 12 Sept]: Although the project should meet these four requirements, sharing publicly is not mandatory. You may choose to share your project just with me (Heather), just the class, or with a wider audience on the web.

The final product should have clear and systematic citations for all ideas, words, images, videos, and audio created by members outside the group.

It should be free of plagiarism (meaning everything should be in your own words and should give credit to other creators where credit is due).

Any audio, video, or visual material should be licensed as Creative Commons or Public Domain. If the material doesn’t already have a license with that label, it would be good to seek the creator’s permission to use their material.

Instructor/Student Roles in Project

It’s ultimately up to you and your group members to decide how you wish to accomplish the objective. Creativity and outside-the-box thinking are welcome.

That being said, you don’t have to do this alone. Obviously I’ve set up parameters and deadlines, but I’m also here to mentor you through this open-ended task. If you have a question, please ask!

Just know that I may very well respond with another question instead of a concrete “yes” or “no” answer. So, if you come and say, “Hey prof, can we do x…?” I might respond, “How does this fit into your project as a whole? What makes it seem like a good/useful/productive idea?”

In addition to discussing any and all questions with you, I will read and provide feedback for sections of each project. How much and how often I can do that will need to be determined once we know the number of groups, formats for projects, etc.

In general, it will be best to come chat with me about challenges instead of sending me lengthier written or created segments.

Deadlines & Grading

Submit your groups (no points)

  • Please have one member of your group submit all group members’ names by Wednesday, 5 Sept (L01) and Thursday, 6 Sept (L02).
  • I will provide a Google form in class for completing this step

Project Proposal + Consultation (25 points)

  • The project proposal is due Wednesday, 26 Sept (L01) and Thursday, 27 Sept (L02).
  • Please fill out all questions in the Google Doc: Project Proposal (last updated: 10 September 2018)
  • Please also sign up for a group consultation using the widget below. During consultation, we’ll review your proposal and clear up any questions you or I have about the direction of the project. (Done 😊)

Final Project Version (175 points)

  • Final versions of projects are due five days after your group presentation. This will allow you to make revisions based on feedback following your presentations.
  • Presentations will take place during classes 21 to 25. On the class calendar, you’ll see these marked as Presentations (1), Presentations (2), etc.
  • The final deadlines for projects have corresponding numbers Final Project (1), Final Project (2), etc.

The tentative rubric is available here: Tentative Project Rubric (F18)

Presentation (150 pts)

You can find the presentation order/schedule here: Presentation Slots (F18)

Everyone’s project will look a little different and I’d like to give you all the chance to share what you’ve learned. To that end, each group should plan to provide a 10-15 minute presentation at the end of the semester.

The presentation should introduce your project and should include reflection about the process of creating your project.

If you’d like to submit a draft of your presentation and receive some feedback from me, you may do so. Drafts should, however, be submitted at least one week before the presentation to allow sufficient time for review.

The presentation will be graded according to the following expectations: Presentation Expectations (F18) [18 October 2018: The Presentation Expectations document is currently open for comment/questions/suggestions. Feel free to add your thoughts if you feel so inclined!]

Odds & Ends Assignments (100 pts)

Throughout the semester, you’ll complete some odds and ends writing and activities that help you earn points and boost your grade. At present, I have six of these assignments scheduled:

  • Submit an article about best practices for collaborative group work (Class 7; 10 points)
  • Locate and share one primary source and one secondary source related to your project (Class 8; 10 points)
  • Submit an article about how fact-checkers check facts (Class 9; 10 points)
  • Complete discussion questions about historical narratives (Class 12; 20 points)
  • Complete a mini-project (interview/write-up/reflection) (Due Class 13; 30 points)
  • Complete discussion questions about web accessibility (Class 16; 20 points)

Full details for each activity will be provided on the individual class pages and explained in class. Typically, you’ll submit each assignment via Google Drive.

Grading Details

Where to Find Your Grades

Grades will always be available via a web app linked in the header of the course website.

Grades are now available in individual spreadsheets sent to you via Google Drive. The grades are private; you will only be able to see your own marks. The document containing the grades is shared only between me (Heather) and you (the student)

If you have any issues with your gradebook, please don’t hesitate to email or chat with me.

Grade Scale

I know that A looks like a high bar to aim for! Here’s how students in the past have successfully earned their A’s:

Round button with the words "don't panic" written in big friendly letters
Jim Linwood, “Don’t Panic Badge,” January 1, 2008, CC BY 2.0. via Flickr

Show up. Genuinely participate in discussions. Turn everything in, on-time and complete. Make sure everything is truly in your own words. Use technology responsibly and mindfully. Ask for clarifications when you don’t understand. Communicate clearly and resolve group issues early on.

Letter GradeInterpretation
93.99%AOutstanding Engagement in the Course
89.99%A-Outstanding Engagement in the Course
86.99%B+Excellent Engagement in the Course
82.99%BExcellent Engagement in the Course
78.99%B-Average Engagement in the Course
75.99%C+Average Engagement in the Course
71.99%CFair Engagement in the Course
68.99%C-Fair Engagement in the Course
65.99%D+Some Difficulty Engaging in the Course
59.99%DSome Difficulty Engaging in the Course
0.00%FInsufficient Engagement in the Course
FXFailure for non-attendance

Incomplete Grades

Under certain circumstances (e.g. extended hospitalization), students may apply for a grade of Incomplete. See the UB catalog for details of the Incomplete grade policy and requirements at:

Request for an Incomplete grade must be made prior to the end of the semester. Approval is not automatic, must be supported by robust relevant documentation, and is at the discretion of the instructor.