Dr. Colin Rose



Office Hours: Tuesday 10-12 or by appointment

Times and Locations:

Lecture: Wednesday 10:00am-12:00pm PLZ309

Seminar 1: Wednesday 1:00pm – 2:00pm TH269J

Seminar 2: Tuesday 12:00pm – 1:00pm TH269J



Welcome to Brock University!!

In this course we are going to learn about the city and community around us with the skills and tools of historians. As historians we’ll work together on an exhibit about the Niagara region in the mid-twentieth century (1919-1964). The end goal of the course is for groups of students to publish a pair of digital exhibits about the Niagara Region in the early twentieth century that will have a website, an interactive map, and an online photo-document gallery.

I want this course to help you succeed in all of your courses here at Brock.

We’re going to meet in a large group for two hours on Wednesdays at 10:00am.

History at Brock offers you a lot of flexible skills and tools! We’ll talk about how these skills can help you do well in all of your courses here at Brock.

Reading and writing are important parts of doing well at university. We are going to learn how to do them well for both university assignments and public audiences.

We’ll also have various visitors to help us navigate the first year of university and its challenges.

There are only twenty-odd people in our class, so I am excited to get to work closely with you all! At Brock we emphasize talking about ideas and learning skills together, so we will work together on how to present ideas and arguments to professors and colleagues in person.

Smaller Group Seminars:

In smaller groups we will practice a variety of historical skills and work on our group projects. Some weeks we’ll visit the library and its rare book room. We will learn how to work with original historical documents to create effective narrative, analysis and argument.

When we are not working directly with historical documents, we’ll work in computer labs on the different steps of our group projects. At the end of the semester we’ll put the different parts together and publish the results.

Required Readings or Texts:

There are no required text books for this course. Various readings for discussion and background reading will be posted on SAKAI or read together in class.

Course Communications:

Most course communications should be via your official Brock email address to mine (crose@brocku.ca) or in person. I strongly encourage students to drop into my office hours if they have any questions or concerns about the course or about the study of History at Brock generally. Otherwise you can feel free to make an appointment to see me outside of my usual office hour times.

I prefer to be called “Prof. Rose” in person and in email. If you have a preferred title or pronoun, please do not hesitate to let me know in person or in writing. I will use it without question

Late Submission Policy:

This course works with the suggested Brock late penalty of 5% per day, unless accompanied by medical documentation. See Medical Exemption Policy and the medical health certificate at http://www.brocku.ca/health-services/policies/exemption

Much better than taking a late penalty is to arrange an extension with Prof. Rose in advance of the assignment’s due date. This requires students to be aware of their workload and to manage their time effectively. If you think that you will not be able to complete an assignment on time, please contact Prof. Rose and request an extension. I will grant extensions for medical / personal emergencies on short notice.

My policy on extensions is this: I will grant an extension equal to the length of time you contact me ahead of the due-date up to one week, i.e. one or more week’s notice will give you an extension of one week, while one day will give you a one-day extension. Please note that requests for extensions should be framed to put me in the most sympathetic mood possible. “Dr. Rose, I have other assignments due that week and I don’t think I will be able to complete yours” is not going to put me in a good mood. Think strategically here.

Relationship between attendance and grades:

Students are expected to attend all classes and must submit all assignments in order to pass this course.

Important dates: (check the section on sessional or important dates in the relevant online University calendar at http://brocku.ca/webcal/)


November 6 is the date for withdrawal from the course without academic penalty.


October 30 is the date you will be notified of 15% of your course grade.


October 9-13 is/are the scheduled reading week(s).


December 5 and 6 are set aside for makeup days due to holidays.


December 5 and 6 are set aside for designated reading days (these may be used to cover classes missed because of adverse weather).


December 7-20 are set aside for formal examination periods.



Academic Policies


Academic Integrity:

Statement for undergraduate courses

Academic misconduct is a serious offence. The principle of academic integrity, particularly of doing one’s own work, documenting properly (including use of quotation marks, appropriate paraphrasing and referencing/citation), collaborating appropriately, and avoiding misrepresentation, is a core principle in university study. Students should consult Section VII, “Academic Misconduct”, in the “Academic Regulations and University Polices” entry in the Undergraduate Calendar, available at http://brocku.ca/webcal to view a fuller description of prohibited actions, and the procedures and penalties.


Intellectual Property Notice: 


All slides, presentations, handouts, tests, exams, and other course materials created by the instructor in this course are the intellectual property of the instructor. A student who publicly posts or sells an instructor’s work, without the instructor’s express consent, may be charged with misconduct under Brock’s Academic Integrity Policy and/or Code of Conduct, and may also face adverse legal consequences for infringement of intellectual property rights.


Academic Accommodation:

As part of Brock University’s commitment to a respectful work and learning environment, the University will make every reasonable effort to accommodate all members of the university community with disabilities. If you require academic accommodations related to a documented disability to participate in this course, you are encouraged to contact Services for Students with Disabilities in the Student Development Centre (4th floor Schmon Tower, ex. 3240). You are also encouraged to discuss any accommodations with the instructor well in advance of due dates and scheduled assessments.


Academic Accommodation due to Religious Obligations:

Brock University acknowledges the pluralistic nature of the undergraduate and graduate communities such that accommodations will be made for students who, by reason of religious obligation, must miss an examination, test, assignment deadline, laboratory or other compulsory academic event. Students requesting academic accommodation on the basis of religious obligation should make a formal, written request to their instructor(s) for alternative dates and/or means of satisfying requirements.


Medical Exemption Policy:

The University requires that a student be medically examined in Health Services, or by an off-campus physician prior to an absence due to medical reasons from an exam, lab, test, quiz, seminar, assignment, etc. The Medical Certificate can be found at: http://www.brocku.ca/health-services/policies/exemption

Short Writing Assignment: 5%

In Week 2, we will have an in-class writing workshop in which students will brainstorm the question “What do historians do?”. Students will write individual 2 page responses in the second hour of class.

Group Project: 60%

The group exhibit project has three parts:

– A Website about the history of Niagara (20%)

– A StoryMap about St Catharines’ historical downtown( 20%)

– A Photo-Document Gallery about St Catharines people between the world wars. (20%)

Students will work together to plan and develop these three parts. I am open to discussions about how they organize their shared workload. So a group may wish to have one or two people focus entirely on each part of the project, and then bring them all together at the end. In this case an individual student might have their contribution be worth the 60% portion of their grade. Or you may wish to tackle each part together one after another, in which case an individual student would have a grade made up of all three parts (3×20% individual grade= 60%).

Final Written Assignment: 15%

At the end of the course you will write a four-page paper reflecting on your experience in this course. Further details will be discussed in class as we progress.

Attendance and Participation: 20%

This is a small, intensive learning course. It is important to come and bring all of your questions and ideas with you. I will not assign a great deal of outside reading because we are going to read together in class and talk about what we are reading. This 20% includes your efforts to work constructively with your fellow researchers.


Week 1: September 5th

Introduction to Brock, to History, to this class.

Syllabus Review

Week 2: September 12th

Brainstorming: What does a historian do?

In-class writing assignment (due in SAKAI by midnight).

Group Project assignments

Lab: Library Visit. Meet in TH269J for class trip to visit the library.

Week 3: September 19

Reading Like a Historian

  • What are primary sources?
  • What is a “peer reviewed article”
  • How do we read history books?

In-class reading materials on SAKAI Resources.

Lab: Visit to David Sharron in the Rare Books Room. Meet on Tenth Floor of Library.

  • Written
  • Photographs

Week 4: September 26

History and the Web:

  • Brainstorm: History on the Web
  • How to make a historical website using WordPress at Brock.

In-class reading materials on SAKAI Resources

Group work lab: Project Proposals

Students will discuss their ideas for their group projects and at the end of lab email prof. Rose a brief (1 page) proposal. This proposal should include the topic, a division of labour plan, and a first idea of what each part of the project might show.

Week 5: October 3

History as a Conversation

  • Public Histories
  • Academic Histories
  • Politics and History

Readings from SAKAI

Group Work Lab: Writing and Editing workshop

Each part of your project requires small and focused pieces of writing. Today we’ll identify those needs and spend dedicated time on writing for a public digital exhibit.

Reading Week October 9-13

Students may wish to visit some fascinating history conferences in St Catharines this week. Ask Prof. Rose for details.

Week 6: October 17

Organizing Historical Projects:

  • Primary Sources
  • Databases and Bibliographies

Citation for Historians

Zotero Workshop

Lab: Visit to Rare Books Room. Meet on tenth floor of library.

In this week students should input their chosen primary sources into their source bibliography, including all digital content and metadata information.

Week 7: October 24

Mapping History: GIS and StoryMaps

  • What is GIS?
  • Types of Data and Metadata
  • Introduction to ArcGIS online

Lab: Making StoryMaps with ArcGIS Online.

Week 8: October 31

Historical Maps as Historical Sources

  • How to find Maps?
  • How to read maps?

Introduction to Storymaps

  • Historical Maps and how to find them

Lab: Georeferencing Historical Maps

Week 9: November 7

Writing History for Different Audiences

  • Term paper workshop
  • Best practices for writing history on the web

Readings: “History Essay Guidelines” on SAKAI Resources.

Lab: Visit to Rare Books Room. Meet on tenth floor of library.

Do you think there are any other sources you could use for your group project that you’ve missed? Now is a good time to have a last dig into the archive.

Week 10: November 14

Public History: Digital Content Sharing

  • Digital photogalleries
  • Social media

Readings on SAKAI Resources

Group project Lab: Project Outline

In this lab students should draft for Prof. Rose an outline of their group project’s progress. It will include a plan for completion and revision as a group as well as an outline of the division of labour.

Week 11: November 21

History Exams Study Workshop (Visit from BUHS?)

  • Expectations for exams
  • Best tips for how to succeed at Brock exams.

Lab: Group work on project. Final

Week 12: November 28 / Dec 5?

End of term review

Writing Workshop for Final Reflective Paper

Exhibit Publication?