A Brief History
In order to earn a passing grade on any essay in our course, you must use and cite primary and secondary sources that are course assigned readings as indicated on the syllabus and/or via Blackboard for my Ashland University students or Canvas for my Kent State University students. Moreover, you must cite your sources using footnotes throughout your essay and on a bibliography at the end of your essay per the examples found on the “Sample Reference Formats” file provided to you on Blackboard for my Ashland University students or Canvas for my Kent State University students. An essay that does not have both footnotes and a bibliography is an automatic failure.
Be sure on each essay to cite at least one written primary source and at least one written secondary source. Be sure as well on each essay to cite at least one class lecture (for my in-person classes) or class lecture video (for my online classes). The “Sample Reference Formats” file indicates the minimum class sources that should be cited for each respective essay in our class. Notice that each example bibliography includes a relevant article from the website that I use as an educational resource for my classes (historyandheadlines.com) as well as one or two visual sources that are used to help illustrate part of your argument and not merely for decoration or to take up space. Notice that the images have a descriptive label that also indicates where the images are from. I additionally have provided you with a video playlist showing you how to make footnotes and how to format images. The syllabus also contains examples of how footnotes should be formatted by the “Grammar Tips” section and another example of how an image should be formatted and labelled within the “Grammar Tips” section.
You may only use one or two non-class sources for each essay, usually for the sake of finding a relevant visual source. The overwhelming majority of what you are citing absolutely must come from class resources.
There are multiple reasons why students in my classes must use and cite class sources instead of random non-class web sources. The first reason is that instead of having any graded timed quizzes or exams in your class, your essays are how you will show me what you learn from the class readings and lectures as well as how well you understand the class material. Another reason is to make it nearly impossible for any students to cheat on their essays in our class. Students who are required to predominantly draw upon and cite the class sources will have a nearly impossible time plagiarizing from non-class online sources, paying some online service to research and write their essays for them, or using some AI program to similarly use random web source to write their essays for them. Students who are caught cheating can face serious academic consequences and so I want it to be nearly impossible for students to cheat in my classes. Finally, the specific primary and secondary written sources that I assign my students to read are ones that are considered reputable and important by my academic peers and that cover the topics from different perspectives thereby diminishing biases found in random web sources or a lack of reliability of what may be found on random web sources.
So, again, in order to earn a passing grade on any essay in our class, you have to cite your sources using both footnotes and a bibliography per the examples on the “Sample Reference Formats” file and the “How to Format Footnotes” playlist. Moreover, you must cite a mixture of different kinds of class assigned readings and lectures per the examples on the “Sample Reference Formats” file as well. What you see on that file are the minimum class sources to use for each respective essay. You may use additional class sources as well. Failure to cite class readings and lectures via footnotes and a bibliography on any essay in our class will result in a failing grade on that assignment.
As one final comment, please also look carefully at how I quote anyone on the “Grammar Tips” on the syllabus as well as on the “Sample Reference Formats” file.
Question for students (and subscribers): What essay topic are you most looking forward to writing about in our course? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!