King's College History Department

CORE 131 Western Civilization on the Web

Summer  2001 
Dr. Pavlac
Hafey-Marian 307
Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. 5748
If you have any questions or problems concerning the course, phone or e-mail me directly.  
If you have any problems with WebCT or computer issues contact Melody Ferkel Tel.  (570) 208-5814

Purpose | General Requirements | Exams | Maps  
| GradesGrading Policy | Presentation | Class Schedule |


I. Description:

Where did European culture come from? This survey of Western Civilization can help answer that question. This course is a survey of the main stages of Western Civilization, with an emphasis on concepts, forces, ideas, events and people that have shaped our western society up through the 19th century. In other words, we will examine, through reading and writing, how our ancestors and the creators of our culture handled nature, ordered government, structured society, produced wealth, expressed ideas in word and form, and conceived the ultimate meaning of life, the universe and everything.

II. Purpose:

A. Mission Statement:

This Core Curriculum requirement is a course in the Civilization sequence.

Civilization courses are designed to explore in some depth the complex dimensions of our world and the cumulative experience of the past, to provide an understanding of how yesterday influences today and the outlook for tomorrow. We study the major developments of Western peoples until the 20th century because most of the problems and institutions of contemporary society have distinguishable roots in the historical past. Moreover, because of the physical and material expansion of the West in the modern period, many of these forms ( capitalist industrial manufacturing, the nation-state system, etc.)  have become global in nature.

We offer this course as part of your general education requirements because it is important for educated citizens to be familiar with the main stages of Western Civilization and recognize it as an expanding force which produced important forms of political, social, and economic organization. You should understand that most of the structures within which we order our lives are products of this evolution. Historians believe that past human behavior can be studied scientifically and that social scientists can improve our understanding of people in the present.

Further, whatever your major or career goals may be, throughout your lives you will be deluged with information, opinion, and interpretations about events which you should be able to evaluate critically. Answering questions and solving problems by critical analysis -- not just memorization of data -- is a basic goal of education. Information is just the raw material in this process and, though rational analysis must be based on factual data, memorizing tidbits of information is not an end in itself. Our real goal is to develop concepts which give order and meaning to the raw material of our recorded past. Doing this requires comprehension beyond minimal factual details of past events. Major emphasis will be on patterns, themes, and concepts against which the factual data must be understood.

We hope that upon successful completion of this course you will have improved your understanding of world civilizations and become a more perceptive judge of the data, opinions, interpretations and explanations continuously offered to you. This process, indeed, should last your whole life, since (paraphrasing the observation of the distinguished professional historian Carl L. Becker from 1931) "Ultimately, every person is their own historian."

B. Objectives for the student:

  1. To be familiar with the main stages of civilization as an expanding force that has produced important forms of political, social, economic and cultural organization which are our common heritage.
  2. To identify major events, persons and ideas that contributed to the development of Western (including American) and non-Western attitudes and institutions.
  3. To develop concepts which give meaning and order to the raw material of our recorded past.
  4. To identify and analyze significant problems and situations as they relate to the continuing issues of contemporary life.
  5. To be able to do research independently and using the internet.

C. Goals for the student:

  1. To improve understanding of the major events which have influenced the modern world.
  2. To be an intelligent consumer and evaluator of information about world events.
  3. To develop a global perspective which recognizes the political, economic and cultural interdependence of all nations.
  4. To understand the influence of the past on contemporary events and problems or, in other words, to develop Historical Mindedness.
  5. To implement self-study habits and usage of the internet.

D. General Learning Outcomes for the student:

In addition to the more content-related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal-learning goals of developing academic skills. It is expected that successful completion of this course will help you improve your ability:

  1. To manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.
  2. To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.
  3. To differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences.
  4. To frame questions so as to more clearly clarify a problem topic or issue.
  5. To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.
  6. To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in written form.
  7. To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams.

III. General Requirements

A. Class Participation & Attendance:

You must have regular and convenient access to a computer which is connected to the internet (able to access WebCT and other sites on the World Wide Web).  You will receive proper logins and passwords before the course begins.  

Please be aware that this course will require a great deal of self-motivation.  To properly learn the material, it should also take time and involvement, between ten and fifteen hours per week.  

Because this is an online course, you may work at your own pace and during the time of your choosing.  Yet you must submit assignments by the due dates listed on the class schedule.  Prompt participation provides the essentials for achieving and evaluating class goals and objectives. 

If you miss an assignment date, contact the instructor as soon as possible. Note that the "weeks" of class are not commonly accepted Sunday-Saturday seven-day periods.  

All comments and writings used for this class are to be only applied to this class and may not be used for any other purpose unless given explicit permission from the instructor.

If at some point during the semester you must discontinue the course, due to poor performance, illness or some other cause, be sure to follow proper procedures for withdrawal.

All students who have a learning disability, physical handicap and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should schedule an appointment with the instructor within the first two weeks of class to discuss available accommodations.

B. Weekly Assignments:

Each week (note the specific days applied to each "week")  you will have 4 (FOUR) tasks to complete.  See also the class schedule, for an overview of all your assignments for the course.

1.  Learn the general history of Western Civilization by reading the textbook and material on the World-Wide-Web:  

Perry, Marvin. Western Civilization: A Brief History. 4th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.

The Perry textbook is intended to provide you with important factual and background information before class and to be used as a review and reference work afterwards. The review questions at the end of each chapter should help you find the key points in the reading.  The textbook also provides a website, <>, where you can find additional aids for learning such as Web links and primary sources. 

 You should read those primary sources from that site and others, listed on the class schedule.  For the Perry sources, note the "Questions to consider" to help you better understand the source.  

You should also surf the web for more information to help you understand the material, using links from the texts or on the class schedule.  There are no requirements to look at specific sites or parts of specific sites--you should follow your own interests and links as much as you like.  If you have questions about, or suggestions for sites, submit them to the instructor or the Maillist Discussion group on WebCT.  

Note that you will not have to read the entire textbook, but the more you read and understand the text, the better you will do on the exams.  


2.  Take the ACE quiz for the appropriate chapter of Perry on the website and submit the results to the instructor.  You may take each quiz at any time during the week and with any learning aides you choose, including an open textbook, as long as it is submitted on time according to the class schedule.

To submit the quiz:  When done, click on the button on the bottom of the page "Email to Instructor."  On the next page, fill in the information requested.  

Student's Name:  put your own name

Class/Course Name: Western Civilization

Instructor's Name: Prof. Pavlac

Then in the next boxes: 

Student's Email: your e-mail address

Instructor's Email:

With the radio buttons below that you can either send it to both student and instructor or only to instructor.  You might choose both, just to be sure it is sent, since you also will receive a copy.  Text is preferable to HTML.  Then press the button "Confirm Email" and your quiz is done and sent.

Note that you do not have a quiz on every chapter.  Nor do the quizzes cover everything in each chapter.  But learning material other than what you are quizzed on, will help you do better in the course. 


3.  Learn about specific Issues of Western Civilization by reading from the textbook

Mitchell, Joseph R., and Helen Buss Mitchell, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Western Civilization.  Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2000.

The Taking Sides/Mitchell textbook will provide issues framing our examination of Western Civilization as the foundation for bulletinboard/maillist assignment (see #4) in a discussion group. You should compare what you read in the text with the Perry textbook and other sources and websites, as as listed in the Mitchell text.

Note that you are not responsible for every issue in the text.  For your own benefit, you might read the other issues on your own.  

Dushkin Online Home PageThe text publisher provides this website, which also includes study guides and more information.

4. For each issue, you will have to submit responses to questions in a discussion group.  

At the beginning of each week the instructor will send you one or several questions concerning the issue.  Use the Bulletin Board tool on WebCT, under the icon with pages posted, labeled "bulletins/Mail/Discussion/Listserv.  You should provide one solid paragraph containing your own answer to at least one question.  You should also, within the next week, respond to at least two (2) other students' answers on the same issue.  More responses are desirable and will improve the class Mail Discussion portion of your grade, as well as make an interesting class.  It is hoped that a conversation can result from these answers and responses.  

Be sure to think about your responses, make them relevant, use clear language, and avoid slang, inappropriate humor or insults (both to the living and the dead).  In all cases, you should try to base your contributions on historical research (from the books, websites or other sources).

Submissions to the discussion group are an essential part of the course. Be sure to properly participate.  You are also encouraged to ask questions and find answers to questions from one another, and the instructor.

Some possible ways to contribute: 

Be sure to note the concerns about plagiarism.

C. Exams:

You will take two exams as assigned. The exams are comprehensive: each exam may cover material since the beginning of the course. Each exam is worth different percentages of the final grade.  The exams will be in two parts.  

One part will be a map quiz based on maps from the text book, Geoquest and the atlas (bundled with the Perry textbook, if available).  Learning information is available on WebCT.  On the course homepage click on "Course Materials" then "Maps for Beginners" and "Map Information."  Sample quizzes and the actual midterm and final quiz will be offered on the course homepage under "Map Quizzes."  You may take the quiz any time during the exam dates listed on the class schedule.  

For study and practise, you can find a map at <>.  Also go to WebCT <> for study paths, self-tests and the quizzes, and a list of all the specific locations you must know.

The other part of each exam will be based on a selection short answer and essay questions which the instructor will e-mail to you the day before you may begin on the exam.  To answer the questions, you must apply from the Perry text, the discussion material from the Taking Sides text, and suggested websites and readings as listed on the the class schedule.  You must e-mail/reply your answers directly to the instructor, before the end of the last day for that exam listed on the class schedule.

Be sure to note the concerns about cheating.

Purpose | General Requirements | Exams | Maps  
| Grades | Grading PolicyClass Schedule


IV. Grading Policy:

Click here for general parameters of evaluation and grading.

Your final grade will be based on a percentage (above 91%=A, 89%=B+, 81%=B, etc.) of the sum of the assignments. 

Midterm Exam 125 points
Final Exam 125 points
ACE quizzes 25 points each
Mail Discussion 250 points

V. Current Class Schedule:

All topics are tentative; the instructor may change them at his discretion.  All assignments are due by the last date of the "week."
DATE Perry Text Taking Sides Issue Suggested Websites Other Suggested Readings
May 22-29 pp. 1-40 pp. i-xxi CivWeb;
May 30-June 5 pp. 41-84; take ACE quiz for Chapter 3 1. Athenian Slave Society Perseus; Ancient Greek World Runaway Slaves in Alexandria
June 6-12 pp. 122-141;  take ACE quiz for Chapter 5 3. Christianity and Women Women in Ancient Christianity The Regulation of Women and Family
.June 13-19 pp. 85-121; take ACE quiz for Chapter 4 4. Roman Empireís Collapse Rome-Fall of Roman Empire; Sometimes Silly none yet
June 20-26 pp. 142-208; take ACE quiz for Chapter 7 6. Crusades NYU medieval history; first;
ORB/Crusades; Catholic Encyclopedia; positive; women
Call for JihadJewish persecutions
June 27-July 2 pp. 210-226  7. The Renaissance  Burckhardt;
artists; women
none yet
July 6-10 Midterm Exam Midterm Exam Midterm Exam Midterm Exam
July 11-17 pp. 226-243; take ACE quiz for Chapter 8 8. Martin Lutherís Reforms Martin Luther Primary Source: Ninety Five Theses
 July 18-24 pp. 244-277; take ACE quiz for Chapter 9 10. Slave trade African Timelineseconomicsimpact Portuguese in West Africa
July 25- 31 pp. 278-312; take ACE quiz for Chapter 10 11. Witch Hunts
12. Scientific Revolution
Witch huntsScientific Revolution; Sci-Rev-Weblinks Diabolic SeductionPascalís Wager on the Existence of God
August 1-7 pp. 314-348; take ACE quiz for Chapter 11 13. French Revolution French Revolution Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen
August 8-13 pp. 349-473; take ACE quiz for Chapter 16 15. British Imperialism European Imperialism Imperial Conquest
August 14-16 Final Exam Final Exam Final Exam Final Exam

Purpose | General Requirements | Exams | Maps

| Grades |  Grading PolicyClass Schedule |




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Last Revision: 22 May 2001