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Cuyamaca College
Course Syllabus

History 108

Summer 2001 (06/18/2001-07/28/2001)
Section 0952
Room D114, Monday & Wednesdays 08:00a.m. - 12:00 noon 

Instructor: David Fontilla or
(619) 225-0739

Catalog Description

    Early American History. 3 Units.  3 hours lecture.  Survey of the political, social and cultural development of the early United States, with emphasis upon the origins of the basic American institutions and ideals (sic), from European contact to Reconstruction.  (Cuyamaca College Catalog 2000-2001, p. 148.)

Related Catalog Information

    No prerequisite, corequisite or recommended preparation is indicated.  History 108 meets Associate Degree general educational requirements, meets general educational requirements for and transfers to the California State University system for at least elective credit, and meets Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum requirements.  It is subject to University of California limits on total credit awarded for a series or sequence of courses in the same discipline.

Course Objectives

    Upon completion of the course students will be expected to be able to:

1.  Identify basic themes and explain major issues relating to American history through 1877.
2.  Critically apply such basic themes and issues to modern issues.
3.  Describe major constitutional issues and developments.
4.  Discuss origins of and changes in the political system of the United States.
5.  Compare and contrast significant theories of historical development.
6.  Discuss history and the role of the historian.
7.  Analyze American historical development in contexts of economics, social change, intellectual trends, industrialization, and interactions among differing cultures and ethnic identities. 


1.  Faragher, John Mack, et al., 2001, Out of Many: A History of the American People 
2.  Zinn, Howard, 1995, A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present
One other text or combination of writings as agreed upon between student and  instructor for individual student reading, written analytical review and presentation to class.

Important Dates 

June 23             Last day to add a class or to drop a class without a "W"; last day for refund
June 30             Last day to apply for CR/NC
July 4                No class meeting
July 7                Last day to apply for Summer 2001 degree / certificate
July 21              Last day to drop class
July 25              Final Exam

 Student Responsibilities

Regular, punctual attendance and class participation can be expected to have a significant impact on the grade a student will earn in the class.  If a student misses class or arrives late, the student remains responsible for information and assignments provided in his or her absence. 

A student's excessive absences will result in that student being dropped from the class; specifically, a drop notice can be expected to be submitted on a particular student once that student is noted to have been absent from regularly scheduled class meetings for a total of twelve (12) hours.  Those  who anticipate absences or attendance problems are encouraged to contact the instructor to discuss individual situations that might justify relaxation of that policy.

A student who elects to drop the class must ensure that necessary forms are completed.  Neglect could result in retention on the class roster and ultimate recordation of a failing grade.

Cuyamaca College requires that a final examination be administered in a course and that its administration be at specified times on specified dates.   The one and only final examination for History 108 Summer 2001 is expected to be administered on July 25, 2001 in Room D114 beginning at 9:00 a.m.  The complicated procedures and requirements relating to modification of those details for the benefit of any student or group of students suggest that rescheduling is impracticable.

Mutual respect and cooperation will be expected wherever the student ultimately takes the skills he or she develops in this course.  Lack of mutual respect and cooperation will accordingly be as intolerable in this class as it will be in such subsequent situations.  Students should acknowledge a responsibility for working together in a mutually supportive environment conducive to an enjoyable educational experience.  Students are invited to discuss with the instructor any and all circumstances that suggest that one or more classmates may have forgotten or chosen to ignore such matters.  The instructor is prepared to exercise appropriate authority to remedy unacceptable situations; on the other hand, the instructor genuinely anticipates that no such circumstance or occurrence will require such a discussion with a student, any such remedial action or any such exercise of authority.

Class Sessions

            Instructional techniques will include lectures and audiovisual material.  Great emphasis, however, will be placed on critical reading by students, student writings allowing for practice in analyzing and articulating concepts relating to those readings and material presented in class, and exchanges of student ideas in the form of in-class discussions and "on-line" written exchanges.

            Performance in such tasks will obviously demand that students read all material in a timely manner.  Students are expected during the session to read all material in the Farragher (Brief Third Edition) text and the first 10 chapters of the Zinn text.  Course progress and  assignments will presume that students are reading approximately 20 pages in those texts each and every day, including the afternoon/evening of the first class meeting, or at a pace generally designed to allow for completion of reading of material in those two texts no later than July 18.   Students should be aware that other readings will be assigned from time to time and that later weeks in the session will be involved with individualized reading and writing.  Tasks involved in this course suggest that the student who gets behind in reading will have a difficult time passing this course; effective time management will be an important academic tool to be utilized or skill to be developed.

Grading Policies

            At the completion of the course, letter grades will be assigned to the performance of each student, in accordance with a grading calculation scheme that will assign relative weight to various student performance criteria.  A letter grade of "C" will be given to students who satisfactorily accomplish the work assigned during the semester and exhibit general mastery of basic concepts and skills addressed in the course.  Lower course grades will almost invariably relate to inability or unwillingness of a student to accomplish work assigned; unacceptable performance will result in a failing grade.  Higher grades will be reserved for students who have demonstrated work above and beyond what is normally required; “A” grades will be reserved for students who exhibit truly excellent mastery of concepts and skills.  

Such letter grades will be computed on the basis of multiple factors, with relatively minor emphasis to be placed on student performance in traditional academic testing tasks.   A final examination on the last day of class and any quizzes that might be administered prior to that final exam will contribute approximately 20 per cent to the overall course grade.  

By comparison, matters relating to regular student participation in  on-line written exchanges and in-class discussions will contribute approximately 25 per cent to the overall course grade.  Each class session is expected to be a forum for student exchange of perceptions informed by readings assigned and materials presented.  Such exchanges and readings and materials will provide a basis for regular student involvement in computer-based "on-line" discussion activities.  Students will be expected to be involved in both in-class and out-of-class "on-line" activities; those students with little or no prior access to computers or involvement in computer-based exchanges will be assisted in developing basic skills and arranging access to computers to enable their on-going participation in this important facet of modern education.  "On-line" discussion activities will occur on a Cuyamaca College-based WebCT site; matters of access and use will be a subject of initial class presentations.

The most significant grading factor, approximately 30 per cent of the course grade, will relate to student responses to 6 of 10 writing tasks relating to assigned readings and potential class discussion topics.  The 10 available writing tasks will be posted on an assignments module of the course WebCT site; responses are to be posted to that module.  Each response will consist of not less than 1 nor more than 3 pages of original material drafted by the student in response to one or more questions or topics posed in preparation for each scheduled class meeting.  Such responses must be posted, no later than 5:00p.m. on the evening prior to the class meetings to which they relate, on the WebCT course site in a manner to be consistent with any instructions to be provided.  Late postings will not be accepted.  Postings will be evaluated and graded by the instructor, with 1 to 5 points awarded for each response.  Students obviously would do well to perform assigned readings and complete on-line writing assignments as soon as possible, to ensure that time pressures do not prevent completion of 6 assignments and to prevent awarding of a 0 for any of the 6 possible grades.  Moreover, students who desire to do so may submit more than 6 responses to the 10 assignments; in such cases only the six highest graded responses will be totaled, effectively eliminating lower graded responses from grading consideration.

Approximately 25 per cent of the course grade will be based on an analytical review paper on a text and/or other writings to be selected by the student and approved by the instructor, and a related class presentation.  The analytical paper will be 5-8 double-spaced pages in length, will summarize the unique approach to the subject matter of writings reviewed, will compare the author's or authors' material with material in other writings encountered in conjunction with this class or independent student research, will properly footnote references to all sources, and will conclude with reasoned analysis that the student writer considers appropriate to the task.  

In selecting a text or group of writings to be utilized in that analytical review paper, a student may want to consider materials referenced by Farragher, et al. and Zinn at the ends of chapters or writings referenced by the instructor during lectures.  The primary factor in selection by each individual student, however, should be the particularized and personalized interest of that student.  The analytical review paper will provide training in effective research in matters an individual student concludes, on the basis of readings and materials he or she otherwise encounters, deserves further study and research.  The instructor is prepared to assign outside reading texts for students incapable of exercising initiative in finding subjects that interest them, but considers such a tactic to portend ultimate poor performance by the student on the task; on the other hand, the instructor welcomes early discussions with students about their analytical paper topics and will assist such students by recommending texts and other writings that individual students might find helpful.

A prospectus identifying a text and/or other writings a student proposes to review must be submitted to the instructor no later than July 11.  Shortly thereafter the instructor will approve each text and other material to be utilized in each individual student's analytical review and, allowing to some extent student choice as to dates, assign to each student either July 18 or July 23 as the date on which that student is to be prepared to orally present to the class the substance of his or her analytic review and to answer related questions from class colleagues.  On the basis of such exchange a student may thereafter revise his or her analytical review , but all such reviews must be in final form and submitted to the instructor no later than the July 23 class meeting.

The tasks outlined above would seem more than ample to keep serious students busy.  However, students who wish to engage in extra credit work are invited to discuss such matters with the instructor.  On the other hand, no extra credit work will be allowed for students who have failed to meet basic course requirements, unless such failure is related to extremely unusual circumstances beyond student control.

One willing to do the work can reasonably expect success, whether measured by a grade or worthier considerations such as personal intellectual development. One not so willing can expect to receive little benefit and a poor or failing grade.  Success in this course will likely correlate primarily with effort; it may ultimately have far less to do with “native intelligence” or success or lack thereof in other courses.