Saturday, December 6, 2008

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Sherwood Botsford said...

Thanks for History 131.

Please consider remaking this series. Things that would make your podcasts better to me: (In order of decreasing importance.)

1. Get a radio mike so you don't fade out whenever you turn to the blackboard. This is especially troublesome when I'm listening to your podcasts in the car.

2. Get a shotgun mike, and get one kid in the class whose task it is to point the mike at whatever kid is speaking. Or make a point of repeating the question/comment.

3. Get maintenance at your school to fix the @(#* door closer so it doesn't go "ca chunk!!" If they don't cooperate, use carpet tape and some scraps of carpet in the door jamb. Or if hall noise isn't an issue wedge the door open.

4. You often refer to maps/illustrations on the screen or board. Really cool would be to encapsulate this artwork into the podcast (It can be done. I don't know how.) Might be copyright problems. History is almost as much about geography, and not having a map to glance at relies on my remembering just where is Kentucky relative to Maryland.

5. Re-edit the recordings before posting.
a. I don't particularly care about grades, and 'short lecture next tuesday' and 'email me your essay by Thursday'.
b. I find the digressions onto "National Egg Chucking Day" to be a distraction.

Sherwood Botsford said...

Part 2

I would like a history podcast that was a little heavier on the culture and technology:

Example: Effect of the cotton gin and the McKormick thresher on settlement patterns.

What caused the end of the riverboat era on the Mississippi?

How did schools work? How mobile were people to move to a new trade, compared to the guild system in Europe?

During the Revolutionary war, there was some use by the Americans of indian style shoot from behind the trees, guerilla tactics. Why were these tactics not used during the Civil War?

What was the effect of the mini-ball on warfare? Later on, the effect of the breach loading rifle on settlement in the West?

What was the technology behind blockades? How effective were they?

How expensive were the railroads and canals? Compare to daily wages of the time. How much to use them?

You mention in passing that by the pre war years you could travel from Boston to Puget Sound (And how many of your students equate that to Seattle?) in 6 weeks. Ok, the canals were in place to get you to the lakehead at the American equivalent of Thunder Bay, but before Mr. Hill built the Great Northern, how did you do the rest of the trip?