Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Winter 2-11-2020




HIST 200 is a challenge for many students at CSUSB. For many students it is one of the first college level classes they take, and the transition to college can be difficult. In addition, reports indicate that as of 2018 roughly 40% of entering first year students in the California State University System probably need some remedial classes to get up to speed for CSU studies.

Conventionally, such classes, often with 150 students, take the form of classic large lectures and textbook classes. The trouble is that lecturing has been shown, repeatedly, to be inferior to more active approaches. That is doubly true when students may have little experience with lecture classes, particularly with large ones, and therefore, are ill prepared for that approach to basic, introductory classes.

The principle difficulty in introductory US history classes is, therefore, how can one introduce students, in any fairly comprehensive way, to a great deal of material in a suitable manner.

There is no one answer, and there is no perfect answer. But what one can do, and should do, is to incorporate as much “active learning,” and, in general, what in 2019 we call “high impact practices” as possible into the classroom.