The information you provide here in this survey is very important to us, and I hope you will not rush your responses. As I indicated in the introduction to the course, we may, in fact, be making history here with the first college and graduate level course based solely on the Library of Congress's American Memory collection. This course was an experiment, an exploration, and I need to try to gauge whether the new ability to do archival work has educational value or not. Your reflections are crucial. And the survey is anonymous. Blackboard checks off whether you submitted a survey or not but batches the responses without tagging the names.
Except for the first question, all of the other questions in this survey call for essay-type answers. This survey need not be completed all at once, so we encourage you to take your time with your responses and to return to the survey several times if appropriate. NOTE: If you want to return to do more work on the survey, click "save" at the bottom. That way what you have done will be there when you return. Click "submit" only when you are completely finished.
1) On a scale of 1 - 5, with 5 as the highest ranking, how would you rank this course?
2) Would you recommend a course like this based on online archival research to another student? Why? Why not?
3) Was there an archive or an assignment that you liked best? Least? Can you expand on your reasons? For instance, is your choice based on the content of the archive or the exercise?
4) One of our course goals was "to learn more about five significant pieces of American history." Did the course help you achieve that goal? Can you describe a significant piece of knowledge or a powerful emotion that you think will stick with you? Can you describe the change between your knowledge or feeling "before" and "after" on one or more of our topics?
5) A second course goal was "to gain experience with the new phenomenon of online archives." Did the course help you achieve that goal? Did you like the opportunity to be a "library rat"? For instance, would you look forward to another course that used archives? And do you have a sense of how to operate in an archive? For instance, would you now feel comfortable navigating and negotiating a new archive on your own?
6) A third course goal was "to perform authentic scholarly work with primary materials." Did the course help you achieve that goal? For instance, can you make comparisons with "traditional" lecture and/or textbook courses you have had? Specific details appreciated. The kinds of assignments? Your engagement with the content? The amount of time put in? Knowledge gained? etc., etc. How was the experience here the same or different, better or worse than other educational environments?
7) A fourth course goal was "to realize the constructedness of history." Did the course help you to achieve that goal? Do you feel any differently about history per se or your own knowledge of, connection to, or perspectives on history as a result of work in the archives?
8) Would you like to add anything to the list of goals for the course? Did something happen to you that we didn't articulate or intend? Is there something we should add to the list of outcomes?
9) If this was your first online course, how did it go? If you have taken online courses before, how did we compare?
10) How did you and the technology get along? Blackboard? RealPlayer? Linking? Was information in our course web site clear? If you contacted the help desk, how would you characterize their response?
11) Did you feel you were part of a community of learners? Was there valuable interaction among students and instructors? Was there group energy and commitment? Did you feel you were learning from others and that you were contributing to the learning of others? Any specific examples you can give?
12) We're going to do a report on this course. Could you fashion a one- or two- sentence "sound bite" (something a little dramatic or with a bit of emotion or a little rhetorical sparkle) that we might use on the cover or as epigraphs to the sections of the report? For instance, if an outsider asked you for a concise response to the experience working with archives in "Virtual Americana," you might say "________________."
13) The American Memory project is a huge, huge undertaking of time and money by the Library of Congress. That's time and money provided by taxpayers! By you! Is the project worthwhile? This may be the first time that the LOC has the opportunity to hear from upperlevel undergraduate and graduate students. And, therefore, we would like to send the LOC a compilation of our reflections on the value of their work. So, imagine yourself addressing the head librarian at LOC in a paragraph or so in which you reflect on reasons or examples of the value (or non-value) of archival experience. What substantive would you like to say to the people who put these resources together?
14) Is there anything else you would like to comment on?