I am Jonathan Rees, Professor of History at Colorado State University – Pueblo and the subject editor for the U.S. History II collection at Milestone Documents. I have a strange habit of redesigning my introductory modern U.S. history survey class very, very frequently. I’ve arranged it with one textbook and a published document reader, switching those textbooks and readers. I’ve arranged it with no textbook and then switched back. I taught it face-to face for about twenty years, and then switched to online. I’ve moved from in class exams to written essays.
The only thing about that class I haven’t changed since I adopted it is Milestone Documents. Easy, inexpensive online access to a wealth of primary sources in U.S. History along with short introductions and textbook sections that I can assign a la carte has fit well in every iteration of my class that I’ve developed.
Since I started serving as the U.S. History II editor, its usefulness has only grown because the good folks at Milestone Documents have been able to track down nearly every document I’ve ever directly referred to in class, so that the match between what I assign and what I cover has been near perfect. The advent of reading quizzes for individual documents only makes it more useful for the online version of my class.
However, as I’m sure most of you know, one of the most the wonderful things about teaching history is that you can teach the same time period in a thousand different ways, and all those iterations can be just as valid as the other. That’s why Milestone Documents is revising and expanding its offerings in U.S. History II, so that we can all take up more content that fits however we want to teach this subject.
That’s why I want to hear from you, my fellow Milestone Documents devotees. What documents from the latter half of American history would you like to see included in the collection? What sub-topics from this period do we not have enough coverage in now? How can we make the documents in the U.S. History II collection better fit the way you teach this subject?
If you’d like to try to answer any of these questions, for now you can contact me directly at Jonathan.Rees@csupueblo.edu. In the future, Milestone Documents will be establishing a system for customers who teach in various historical subject areas to talk to each other not just about content, but about pedagogical methods and other ways to make their classes more effective.
Some of the first efforts at revising our existing collection will be appearing shortly. These will include new document overviews for Andrew Carnegie’s “Wealth,” Anzia Yezierska’s “How I Found America,” and the Principles and Beliefs of the John Birch Society. More announcements along these lines will also appear shortly.
In the meantime, rest assured that Milestone Documents refuses to rest on its laurels. As higher education and teaching are changing, so have the options that instructors have for what to assign and how exactly to assign it. I remain grateful to work with a company that is committed to keeping up with the times, and which can help us all produce the most interesting and useful classes that we can imagine.
Professor of History
Colorado State University – Pueblo
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