History 1009: World Civilization to 1450

College of the Siskiyous
Liberal Arts and Sciences Department

(Last Update: August 25, 2017)


Course Information

  • Course Title: World Civilization to 1450
  • Course Number: History 1009
  • Semester: Fall 2017
  • Credit Hours: 3
  • Meeting Time and Location: Online with Canvas

Instructor Information

  • Instructor: Dave Bush
  • Office Hours: Office hours will be held online through Canvas on Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Canvas private messages sent during that time will be answered as they arrive.
  • Contact Information: For the quickest response, email me through Canvas. I answer emails within forty-eight hours (but usually within twenty-four hours), excluding weekends and holidays. Messages sent to any of my other email addresses may take up to a fortnight to be answered. See the Important Class Information module for additional, and important, email instructions.

Catalog Course Description

  • World Civilizations to 1450 will explore the history of world civilizations and the interactions of technology, culture, warfare, environment and politics in world history from the Ancient World until 1450.
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Recommended Preparation: A minimum grade of "C" in ENGL 0900 or Qualification by Assessment.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Through objective quizzes, written assignments, discussion board posts and a final exam students will:
    • Articulate a historical interpretation, utilizing secondary and primary source materials, while creating a written historical argument.
    • Critically evaluate an interpretation of World Civilizations to 1450.
    • Critically analyze the evidence used by others to construct historical arguments.
    • Evaluate the roles of the environment, ethnicity, class and gender in the evolution of world civilization's social, cultural and political institutions over time.
    • Evaluate World Civilizations to 1450 in a comparative context.

Course Content

  1. Course Introduction / What is History
  2. The Beginning of Human Time
    1. Paleolithic
    2. Neolithic Revolutions
    3. Hunting and Gathering vs. Agriculture
  3. The River Valley Civilizations
    1. Mesopotamia Agriculture and Societal Structure
    2. Mesopotamia Religion
    3. Egyptian Culture
  4. Early Chinese History
    1. Confucianism
    2. Minoan
  5. Gods and Empires
    1. The Assyrian Empire
    2. Zoroastrianism and Monotheism
    3. Judaism and Hebrew Culture
  6. The Birth of Reason
    1. Greek Reason and the Polis
    2. The Hellenistic World
  7. Rome and China
    1. The Roman Empire
    2. The Rise of Christianity
    3. Han China
  8. Hinduism and Indian Culture
    1. The Vedas
    2. Hinduism and Jainism
    3. The Buddha and Buddhism
  9. The Silk Road
    1. The Road Most Traveled
    2. The Indian Ocean
    3. Collaborative Learning Exercise
  10. The Rise of Islam and Islamic Empires
    1. The Rise of Islam
    2. The Spread of Islam and Islamic Empires
    3. Islamic Culture
  11. The Early Middle Ages
    1. The Manorial System
    2. The Christian World in the Early Middle Ages
  12. Tang and Song China / The Americas
    1. Buddhism in Tang China
    2. Mayan Culture
    3. Aztec Empire
  13. The Mongols and Islamic Empires
    1. Mongol Invasions
    2. Science and Technology in the Islamic World
  14. Ming China and the Indian Ocean
    1. Zheng He and the Indian Ocean
    2. Slavery in Africa and India
  15. The High Middle Ages in Europe
    1. population Crisis and the Black Death
    2. A Renewal and Rebirth in the West
  16. A Brave New World(s)
    1. Columbus and Zheng He Compared
    2. The Columbian Exchange
    3. Course Conclusion and Review

Assigned (Required) Books

  • McKay, John P. and others. A History of World Societies, Volume I: To 1600, 10th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-4576-5994-2. Make sure to purchase the correct textbook edition and volume!
  • Cline, Eric H. 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-691-16838-8.
  • Weatherford, Jack. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005. ISBN: 978-0-609-80964-8. (We will read only the Introduction through Chapter 7 of this book.)

Library Card

  • All students must have a College of the Siskiyous library card so they can access the college's Films on Demand website. COS Library cards can be requested online at the "Apply for or Renew a Library Card" web page.

Required Software

  • A web browser is required for this course. The Canvas learning management system works with many browsers, and it seems to work best with Mozilla's Firefox browser. Search "Download Firefox" to access this free browser download.
  • There are PDF documents in the class, so a PDF reader is required. Search "PDF reader" in your favorite web browser to locate free PDF software.
  • There are PowerPoints in the class, so a PowerPoint viewer is required. Search "PowerPoint viewer" in your favorite web browser to locate free PowerPoint viewer software.

Statement of Instructional Methods

  • This is an online course using Canvas learning management software.
  • The class is divided into several modules. (A link to the Modules page is found in the left-hand-column menu of the Canvas class home page.)
    • The Important Class Information (ICI) module and Module 1 require web readings only; therefore, students can complete all the required work for these modules without a textbook.
    • In most cases, modules include: assigned readings, an objective quiz (or quizzes), a discussion forum and, sometimes, an essay.

Regular and Substantive Contact Throughout the Term

  • This is a distance education course. A distance education course is more like a face-to-face class rather than a correspondence course. In this distance education class there is a schedule with regular due dates for objective and subjective assignments throughout the term; weekly discussion board participation is a graded requirement to ensure regular and substantive contact.
  • Students must access the class at least three days each week in order to regularly participate in class discussions, check for announcements, read and reply to private messages, send questions to the instructor, watch assigned videos, and complete weekly graded assignments.
  • The instructor will answer private messages sent through the class website within twenty-four to forty-eight hours excluding weekends and holidays; post at least two (but likely more) announcements to the class each week; participate in the discussion board several times each week; grade, offer feedback on and returned written assignments within two weeks of the due date (but likely sooner); and announce to the class if they will be offline, excluding weekends and holidays, for more than forty-eight hours (although this has never happened in the last sixteen-plus years of teaching online).

Evaluation and Grading

  • Quizzes:
    • Quizzes are based on assigned readings.
    • Each quiz is timed, and must be taken in one sitting.
    • Quizzes may be taken just one time (with the exception of the Important Class Information quiz and the first textbook quiz). Once a quiz is begun, it may not be started a second time. Be careful - do not start a quiz until you are really ready to take it.
    • Quizzes have objective questions.
    • Quiz questions are worth one point each.
    • Quizzes open at 12:01 a.m. and close at 11:59 p.m. on the dates listed in the Class Schedule document.  Each quiz must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on the due date.
    • One day after a module closes, the quizzes' answer keys will become available.
    • Students with a question or concern about a quiz must email the instructor within five school days after the quiz is open for review.
    • Important Class Information Quiz:
      • The Important Class Information quiz in the ICI module is based on the Syllabus, Class Schedule, Essay Instructions, and other documents in the ICI module.
      • This quiz must be taken within the first few days of the start of the class; however, this quiz is primarily for your benefit, and you can take it as often as needed at the beginning of the term to earn a 100% score.
      • The quiz is not worth any points, but it must be taken, and a 100% score earned, before the rest of the course work becomes accessible.
      • People who do not take the Important Class Information quiz at least one time before the deadline listed in the Class Schedule will be dropped from the class.
    • See the Important Class Information module for additional quiz instructions.
  • Essays:
    • There are two 1,000 word essays based on assigned primary and secondary source readings. (This is nothing to worry about. There is plenty of time to write each essay. Clear instructions are provided, and I am here to answer your questions.) You can do this!
    • Each essay is worth seventy-five points.
    • Essays are submitted through Canvas.
    • Essays open at 12:01 a.m. on a module's start date and close at 11:59 p.m. on a module's due date.  Work must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on the due date.
    • Work is usually graded and returned within one week, but no longer than two weeks, after the due date.
    • As in all college-transfer-level courses, there is a minimum 2,500 word (ten page) writing requirement. This requirement will be achieved through the essays, the written part of the test and discussions.
    • If you have questions or concerns about your essay grade, you must send me a private message through the class website within five school days of my announcement that all essays have been graded. In your one private message, you must clearly detail the specific reasons why you think a category grade is, or category grades are, incorrect. If you would like me to review parts of your essay, I may re-grade the whole assignment, and the essay grade may increase or decrease. I will reply to your message to re-grade your essay within two weeks (but more likely within less than one week). My reply and re-grade are final.
    • Re-writing an essay after it has been graded is not an option.
    • See the Important Class Information module for additional essay instructions.
  • Discussion:
    • Students are expected to participate in class by making relevant, thoughtful, constructive and respectful posts on the current discussion board at least thrice per week. For this class, a week begins Monday and ends the following Sunday.
      • At least one of your weekly posts should be made by Wednesday.
      • At least one post per module (not per week but per module) should be based on an assigned documentary film that you have watched. (These videos are free and are accessed through the college's library website.)
      • For grading purposes, posts need to be made at least one day (twenty-four hours) apart; however, students are encouraged to make more than three posts each week, and it is acceptable to make more than one post each day.
    • Posts should be based in fact - not in feelings or personal beliefs.
    • Posts should demonstrate one's critical thinking skills.
    • Avoid ranting and flaming posts; such posts are unprofessional.
    • Throughout a module's discussion period, I will post questions to the class and comment on students' posts.  Students are encouraged to respond to my questions and comments, respond to other students' posts, or begin their own discussion thread by posting questions of their own based on class readings or any combination of these options.
    • Grading Class Participation:
      • Twice during the class (in the Midterm Discussion Assessment (MDA) and the Final Discussion Assessment (FDA)) each student will select some of their best posts for grading based on assigned criteria. Each assessment is worth forty points.
      • See the Class Schedule document for the MDA and the FDA due dates.  Students will have only about two days to submit each assessment, so keep your eyes on the Class Schedule.
      • Detailed instructions on submitting posts for grading will appear on the first day the assignment is due.
      • If you have questions or concerns about your discussion assessment grade, you must send me a private message through the class website within five school days of my announcement that all assessments have been graded. In your one private message, you must clearly detail the specific reasons why you think a category grade is, or category grades are, incorrect. If you would like me to review parts of your discussion assessment, I may re-grade the whole assignment, and the assessment grade may increase or decrease. I will reply to your message to re-grade your essay within two weeks (but more likely within less than one week). My reply and re-grade are final.
    • The MDA and the FDA may not be re-written and submitted a second time after being graded, so make sure to carefully read the instructions before submitting your assessments.
    • See the Important Class Information module for additional information on making discussion board posts.
  • Test:
    • There is one test in the class.
    • You must take the test on your own; you may not have help from anyone else when taking the exam.
    • The test has objective questions and a short-answer essay.
    • The test is open only for a few days!
    • The test is worth fifty points.
    • The test may be taken just once.
    • The test is not returned to students.
    • Detailed information about the test will be posted in class near the end of the term.
  • Life Happens Points:
    • Unexpected events occur in all our lives.  Sometimes our schedules are interrupted with rather insignificant events such as a last-minute work schedule change, a power outage, or a vehicle malfunction.  Other times the unforeseen event is serious; a close friend dies, a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness and must spend time in the hospital, or you might be in an accident. (I hope none of this happens to you this term.)  Events such as these might result in missing some class work.
    • Therefore, since life happens, there are Life Happens (LH) quizzes throughout the class. These are unannounced quizzes that are open for only forty-eight hours (excluding weekends and holidays). In total, the LH quizzes are worth five points. If, for whatever reason, you miss a quiz or essay, your grade will have a bit of a cushion with these extra-credit points. See the Important Class Information module for more details.
    • This means there are no make-up quizzes or essays - no matter how tragic the circumstance. Most modules are open for a week or more, so plan accordingly. Turn work in early.
    • Do not give up or stop participating just because you missed some work. You can still pass the class even if you miss some quizzes or assignments. Email the instructor if you have any questions or concerns about how you are doing in the class. I am here to help.
  • Professionalism
    • Debating topics, challenging quiz questions, asking for clarification about a grade, disagreeing with an historical interpretation presented in the class and so on is acceptable and encouraged if expressed in a professional manner befitting the academy.
    • After one email warning for an unprofessional post, email message or other communication, ten points may be deducted from your overall class grade for each additional unprofessional post, email or other communication. Such unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, rude, insulting or sarcastic comments. In extreme cases, discussion board posts may be deleted. Let me emphasize, it is fine to disagree - just remain calm and polite while focusing on the issue rather than attacking a fellow student or the instructor.
    • See the Important Class Information module for additional information.
  • Points Per Assignment Category:
Assignment Category Maximum Points Percentage
Discussion Assessments

Determination of Course Grade

  • Course Letter Grade Scale:
Letter Grade
Minimum Points
Maximum Points
A (90% - 100%)
B (80% - 89%)
C (70% - 79%)
D (60% - 69%)
F (00% - 59%)
This grade is assigned to students who score below 60% because they stopped participating in the class.
  • Course Grade Determination:
    • Grades are based on the quality of the work submitted - not on the amount of effort put into the work.  Now, there is often a correlation between how hard one works and one's grade, but simply working hard does not guarantee any particular grade.
    • Warning: During the course, your class grade average displayed in the Canvas grade book may be inaccurate because of the way Canvas calculates grades. (See the ICI module for more information about this issue.)
    • You can determine where you stand anytime during the term by doing some simple math.  (See the ICI module for more information about this issue.)
    • All students enrolled in the class at the end of the term will receive a course grade.
    • The instructor has absolute and final discretion in awarding grades.

Class Policies

  • Class Participation:
    • While this is an online class, it is not an independent study class where a person works at their own pace. Nor is this a correspondence course.
    • This class requires students to regularly and substantively interact with each other and the instructor. Also this class has a schedule, due dates, and class participation. We travel this history road together.
    • Class participation (through discussion board posts) is a weekly, and critical, part of this class.
  • Attendance:
    • Students are responsible for accessing the class at least three days each week in order to participate in class discussions and check for announcements and private messages.
    • Simply accessing the class does not count as attendance. Attendance in an online class requires substantive participation (making a post or submitting work) in the course.
    • Students who do not regularly attend class risk being dropped; see the Drop Policy (below) for more details.
  • Computer Requirements and Computer Literacy:
    • Students should have access to a computer capable of quickly and reliably accessing websites and know how to navigate the web.
    • While this does not happen often, you may be asked to go to a website requiring a high-speed connection.  It is the student's responsibility to access these sites.
    • You are responsible for knowing how to use Canvas. I am an historian not a Canvas or IT expert. I will help you as best I can, but it is the student's responsibility to know how to use their computer, software and Canvas.
  • Self-Motivation:
    • One key difference between taking a class online compared to a traditional class is that the online class requires significantly more self-discipline.  The student is responsible for monitoring their own progress.  If you are not self-motivated and self-disciplined, it would be better for you to take this course in the traditional way.
  • Missed Quizzes or Assignments:
    • Print out a copy of the Class Schedule (found in the ICI module) and keep it handy. This has all the due dates for the class.
    • Because you know all the due dates far in advance and because you may take the quizzes and submit the written work anytime during the extended period the module is open, late work is not accepted beyond the one-day late period.
    • Computers crash, power is interrupted, the college's server goes offline and the internet goes down, so plan accordingly. If you wait until the last six hours, or even the last day, to turn in work and you experience a technical issue, that is not an excuse for late work.
    • Attempting to submit work or take a quiz and receiving a message of "Server is too busy," or some other error message, is not an excuse for late work because quizzes, written assignments, the test and other work are open over an extended period of time during which the work may be submitted. Warning, do not wait until the last minute (or hour or even day) to submit your work.
    • Being without a textbook (because you have the wrong edition of the book, because your book was stolen or for whatever other reason) is not a valid excuse for late work or other problem.
    • The class website can slow down when many people are online at the same time. Inability to access work, submit work, complete work or the like because of a slow connection is not an excuse for late work. Submit your work early to avoid such troublesome issues.
    • Adding the class late is not a valid excuse for late work.
    • An unexpected event in your life is not an excuse for late work.
    • And any other reason is not a valid excuse for late work.
    • Advice for your whole life: expect the unexpected, and submit your work early.
    • If you miss a quiz or two, all is not lost.  Never give up. Everyone can pass this class with a good grade. Remember, never give up.
  • Instructor Initiated Drops
    • I will drop inactive students.
      • To avoid being dropped early in the term:
        • Take the Important Class Information quiz within the first five days of the beginning of the term.
        • If you add the class late, to avoid being dropped take the Important Class Information quiz within one day of adding the class.
    • After Census Day, students who miss one or more of the essays or three or more objective quizzes or do not submit the Midterm Discussion Assessment (MDA) or any combination of the above between the Census Day and the "W" drop deadline will likely be withdrawn from the class.

College Policies

  • Drop Policy:
    • I am required to assess your attendance.  If you have not taken the Important Class Information quiz before the census date, you will likely be dropped, and there will be no refund of tuition and fees.  After this census date, you should not plan on an instructor withdrawal if you want to withdraw from the course.  You are ultimately responsible for your own withdrawal by the withdrawal date.  Non-attendance after the census date will result in a "F" and "FW" if you do not withdraw yourself.
    • It is the student's responsibility to drop the class. You must notify the Admissions Office if you want to drop the class.
  • Withdrawal Policy:
    • It is the student's responsibility to withdraw from the class. You must notify the Admissions Office if you want to withdraw from the class.
  • Incomplete Policy:
    • College's Incomplete Policy: "Incomplete academic work for unforeseeable emergency and justifiable reasons at the end of the term may result in an "I" symbol being entered in the student's record. . . ." (See the current College of the Siskiyous Catalog for details.)
    • Dave's Incomplete Policy: In addition to the above requirements, to be consider for an Incomplete you (1) must make the request after the last day to withdraw from the class, (2) must have completed all work, or missed no more than two quizzes and or one written assignment, due in the class before the day you request an Incomplete and (3) must have at least a 68% grade average on work you have submitted.
  • Students on the roster at the end of the semester will be assigned a course grade.
  • Academic Honesty and Student Conduct:
    • Please read the College Behavior Standards (including the Academic Honesty/Plagiarism policy) in the current College of the Siskiyous Catalog.
    • Any student caught violating the Academic Honesty/Plagiarism policy risks receiving an "F" for that assignment and should harbor a deep feeling of shame for years.
    • Students who violate the Student Conduct Policy may be reported to the dean.
  • Academic Accommodations:
    • Students have the right to request reasonable accommodations to college requirements, services, facilities, or programs if their documented disability imposes an educational limitation or impedes access to requirements, services, facilities, or programs. A student with a disability who would like to utilize accommodations is responsible for requesting necessary accommodations by identifying himself/herself to their instructor or the Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS) office located in Eddy Hall 101 (Building 94) on the Weed campus. Their phone number is 530-938-5297. Applications for services are also available on their website at
    • Students who consult or request assistance from DSP&S regarding specific modifications, accommodations, adjustments, alternate text or use of auxiliary aids will be required to meet timelines and procedural requirements established by the DSP&S office.
    • Verification of the disability is required to determine and provide appropriate services. If you feel that you will need academic accommodations in this class due to limits imposed by a disability you must contact the Disability Student Program and Services Office:
      • Phone: (530) 938-5297
      • Toll-free Phone: (888) 397-4339
      • Fax: (530) 938-5378
      • Email:
      • Website: DSPS

Tentative Course Sequence (Class Schedule)

  • The Class Schedule document found in the Important Class Information module has all the due dates for the semester.
  • To access the Class Schedule click on "Modules" in the left-hand-column menu.  Then select "Important Class Information."  Then click on "Class Schedule."
  • This is an important document; print it out and keep it handy.


  • The above is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor (a.k.a. "The Decider").

Read this Syllabus again.

Why attend a history class?  Besides obtaining GE units, it is impossible to fully understand the present without knowledge of the past. Over two thousand years ago the Roman statesman and author Cicero expressed this point when he wrote, "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."