West Valley College

Winter 2018

History 17B Online (3 units)
Section 10039

Tim Kelly, Ph.D.
Office Hours:  By appointment on campus

Office SS1E
Ph: (408) 741-2546


Don't know much about American history but fed up with the conventional ways of learning it?  Well then you've come to the right place.  Who says history has to be boring?  You will embark on a fascinating exploration of the making of modern American society.  Through multi-media web lectures, readings, e-mail discussions, music, posters, and film clips, this course will investigate the post-Civil War years of American history by examining a wide variety of topics, including racial and ethnic politics, popular culture, reform movements, and diplomatic history.

History 17B is a survey of the political, economic, social and cultural development of the Unites States from Reconstruction to the present.  Topics covered include Reconstruction, Native American culture and western settlement, Industrialization, the Progressive Era, World War I, the Twenties, the New Deal, and World War II.  Also covered are domestic, social, and foreign policy issues of the post-World War II period from the 1950s through the 1990s,  including reform movements, Vietnam, the Civil Rights and other ethnic movements, the Feminist Movement, popular culture, and post-Cold War foreign policy.

Required Texts

You will also have additional reading materials (documents and web pages) that are online.

General Course Policies

  1. Print out this syllabus as evidence for transfer to a four-year institution.
  2. Participation on the group discussion board and COMPLETING THE ASSIGNED READING by the beginning of each topic are essential to passing this course.
  3. Tutoring is available at no charge at Tutorial Services.  It is provided by qualified, trained students who have been recommended by the faculty.  Contact Tutorial Services in the Library Building or call 741-2038.
  4. ***Plagiarism/cheating will be treated as automatic failures for the assignment and offenders will be referred to the CSSO for disciplinary action.  Familiarize yourself with the campus policy on cheating detailed in the College Catalogue under Student Conduct Code, 5.8.19 Policy on Cheating.  (You will find examples of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it at***
  5. West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  College materials will be available in alternate formats (Braille, audio, electronic format, or large print) upon request.  Please contact the Disability and Educational Support Program at (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY) for assistance.
  6. Student Learning Outcomes will be assessed through an essay question on either the Midterm or Final asking students to assess how the U.S. has incorporated social and economic reforms in the twentieth century.

Quizzes and Exams
You are required to take 16 quizzes (the two lowest scores being dropped and added back into your total as Extra Credit), a midterm, and a final.  ALL QUIZZES AND EXAMS ARE CONDUCTED ONLINE.  You will have 15 minutes to complete 10 questions (once you begin the quiz, you must complete it within 15 minutes by 11:59 pm of the due date).  You MAY NOT make-up a missed quiz.

Your Midterm and Final exams will be essay format and will be explained in Study Guides posted on the lecture web page.

Quiz questions will be drawn from the assigned textbook for the week.  Questions for the Midterm and Final exams will be drawn from both the lectures and the readings.  Once you take the quiz, the system will give you an immediate score; however, you can only fully review your quiz for the correct answers once the quiz period is complete (i.e., at the end of the week).

IF A PROBLEM OCCURS:  Students are encouraged not to wait until the last day to take a quiz (which will be available for the entire week).  If a problem occurs with the system or your computer (and let's face it - such problems DO occur from time to time), contact me ASAP.  I will help you solve the problem.  If, however, you wait until the final day (or worse, the final hours) and a problem arises, I cannot guarantee that I will be able to help you before the deadline (you take that risk upon yourself by waiting so long to take the quiz).

Extra Credit

Your two lowest scored quizzes (which includes a missed quiz scored as zero) that are dropped will be added back into your total score as Extra Credit.  The incentive here is to take ALL of the quizzes (not just the 14 required) and do the best you can on them all.  


You will write and submit one 3-4 page paper on Ellen Schrecker's book The Age of McCarthyism (make sure you have the SECOND EDITION!).  More details about the paper can be found HERE.  This paper is due by 11:59 pm (PST) on the due date listed below.

Threaded Discussions

Every week will feature two threaded discussions. Click on the Discussions icon on the Angel page (under the Lessons Tab) and read the topic statement and then post your comments. You may respond to the instructor's statement or any other comment made by other students.  It is important to participate on a regular basis in each of these discussions (which will be the basis of your participation grade in the course).

Pass/No Pass Option and Dropping

Students wishing to take this class with the Pass/No Pass grade option must fill out the required form with Admissions and Records (click HERE for the form) no later than the due date specified below (see Dates to Remember).  Faculty no longer play a role in whether students request Pass/No Pass.  See the WVC Catalog under "Academic Regulations and Standards" for more information about this option.  

In addition, students who wish to be dropped from the course are responsible for doing this on their own.  I will not do this for you.  If you stop logging on to Canvas but your name is on my roster at the end of the semester, you will receive an "F" in the class with no opportunities to change this to a "W."  Once you log on to Canvas you will be counted as attending the class and so will not be dropped as a first day No Show.

Course Requirements
                                                Grading Policy:
Grades are awarded on a Standard Scale:
1. One 3-4 page paper 
2. Midterm Exam
3. Final examination 
4. Chapter Quizzes 
5. List-Serve Participation
(250 pts)
(260 pts)
(300 pts)
(140 pts)
(50 pts)

900 - 1000
800 - 899
700 - 799
600 - 699
599 and below

Dates to Remember
JANUARY 10-13:
Last Day to Drop w/out a "W"
Last Day to request P/NP from A&R
Quizzes for Chs. 17-25 Due
MIDTERM Available
JANUARY 24-26:
Last Day to Drop w/ a "W"
Schrecker Paper Due
Quizzes for Chs. 26-32 Due

FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE:     JANUARY 24 (Wed.) - 26 (Fri.) (Availability ends 1/26 at 11:59 pm)

How to Read the Lectures

For more information about this online course format, go to

Course Outline

WEEKS I and II (January 2 - 13)

- Introduction:  What is History?
- Race and Segregation in Post-Civil War America
- How the West Was Won (and Lost)
- Progress and Conflict in the New Industrial Order
- Coming to America:  The New Immigration, 1880-1924

Readings:  Text (Davidson, et. al.), Chs. 17, 18, 19, 20  

- The Conflict Between Urban and Rural America
- Progressivism and the Reform Impulse in America
- Expansion and Imperialism:  The Rise of an American Empire
- The Roaring Twenties
- The Great Depression
- A New Deal for America

Readings:  Text, Chs.21, 22, 23, 24, 25

QUIZZESChapters 17-25 due on Canvas by FRIDAY, January 12 at 11:59 pm.

MIDTERM:  January 10-13 (availability ends SATURDAY, 1/13 at 11:59 pm)

DISCUSSIONS:  Racism in America - Part I (1/02-1/13)
                              Individualism (1/02-1/13)
                              American Foreign Policy (1/02-1/13)
                              Tax Cuts and Government Regulation (1/02-1/13)  
                              FDR's New Deal (1/02-1/13)

WEEKS III and IV (January 14 - 26)

- America and the Second World War
- Cold War Containment
- A Cold War Home Front
- "A Date with the Family":  Postwar Prosperity in America
- The Era of Reform:  New Frontiers and Great Societies

Readings:  Text, Chs.26, 27; 28; AND Schrecker, pp. 1-133, 262-274

Online Readings:

DISCUSSION:  "The Problem That Has No Name" - Still a Problem?  (1/14-1/20)
                        `   Kennan's "Long Telegram" (1/14-1/20)
                            1960s Youth Rebellion (1/14-1/20)

- The Civil Rights Movement
- The Tragedy of Vietnam
- Coming Apart at Home:  America's Youth Rebellion
- The Paranoid Style of American Conspiracy History
- The Age of Disillusionment:  America in the Seventies

Readings:  Text, Chs. 29, 30

Online Readings:

DISCUSSION:  King vs. Malcolm X (1/20-1/25 - THURSDAY)

- The Reagan Revolution:  The Ascendance of Conservatism
- Race and Ethnicity in Modern America
- Conservatism Resurgent:  The Clinton and Bush Years
- America and the World

Readings:  Text, Chs. 31, 32

Online Readings:   

PAPER:  Schrecker Paper Due SATURDAY, January 20 by 11:59 pm.

QUIZZESChapters 26-32 due no later than Wednesday, January 24 on Canvas by at 11:59 pm.

DISCUSSION:  Race in America - Part II:  Charlottesville Riot (1/20-1/25 - THURSDAY)
                            Post 9-11 Foreign Policy (1/20-1/25 - THURSDAY)

FINAL EXAMJANUARY 24 (Wed.) - 26 (Fri.) (Availability ends 1/26 at 11:59 pm)

This course officially ends on 1/25, but I'm willing to extend the Final Exam to Friday the 26th.