Booms and Busts in North American History:
This is my first history course at the University of Maine, slated for spring semester 2016. As stated in the syllabus, “This course examines natural resource development and the broader commodification of nature in the geographical area now referred to as North America from the sixteenth century to the present. Particular attention will be paid to resource booms and busts as analytical windows into the various political, economic, social, and environmental consequences of the past exploitation of nature.”
See below for the course syllabus:
History 3355: Nature, Culture, and the Canadian Environment:
In 2012, I created the first environmental history lecture course ever taught at the University of New Brunswick. Titled History 3355: Nature, Culture, and the Canadian Environment, my goals with the course were to provide a survey of the environmental history of the geographical area that is now known as Canada from the end of the last glacial period to the present, and to attempt to engage students through the melding of non-traditional teaching techniques with time-honoured methods.
Two of the main non-traditional techniques employed were Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) sessions and what I have termed Digital Environmental Histories. EBL sessions are tutorials that are in large part student-driven, which requires students to make historical connections in small groups and challenges them to rely less on the instructor. In one of the EBL sessions I designed, students examined 18th and 19th-century citizens’ petitions to New Brunswick’s colonial government for early examples of ecological awareness. Digital Environmental Histories are short digital movies on Canadian environmental history topics. Students worked in groups on the digital movies instead of individual major research papers, and I dedicated part of one class each week to computer lab sessions to make certain students had enough time to complete their projects in a satisfactory manner. Student feedback indicated that levels of engagement were very high for this assignment.
See below for the course syllabus and the EBL session example mentioned above: