General Policies

  • The instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule or assignments as the course progresses, and this syllabus may be updated online as necessary. The online version of this syllabus is the only authoritative version.
  • This course will meet synchronously online via Zoom. The Zoom connection information is available on Blackboard and in our course Slack. 
  • See the George Mason University catalog for general GMU course policies.

Attendance and Participation

Over five short weeks, this course will engage in a semester’s worth of learning about information technology and how to employ it to study early American history. Much of our class time will be spent discussing what we have read, learning new digital skills and tools, and practicing those skills and tools together. In addition, all digital skill assignments are based on workshops and tutorials held during class. Therefore class attendance and active participation is crucial for your success in this course. 

You will also receive a grade for assignments, discussions, presentations, and practice work that we do in class. Come to class with a good knowledge of the assigned readings/videos/projects. Be ready to discuss these materials and ask questions, or present about the course work you have completed. In-class assignments cannot be made up.

Exceptions for attendance and participation will be made only for health reasons, religious holidays, reasons relating to the pandemic, and other university-approved excuses. If you anticipate missing class for an excused reason, please let me know as soon as possible. 


This course will primarily use a platform called Slack for class communication. While I welcome all questions on class projects and assignments, it is my hope that Slack will be a useful tool for students to communicate with and solicit advice from each other as well. For questions about assignments, the course schedule or resources, use the #general channel. To discuss technical problems and offer help and suggestions to each other, use the #tech-help channel. I expect most discussions to take place in these public channels. Questions about grades or problems of a personal nature should be addressed in a private Slack message, or discussed with me during office hours. 

Required Purchases

During this class you will create a professional/academic blog with a personal domain name, and use it to complete many of your assignments. You will be required to purchase a plan from Reclaim Hosting at the start of this course. A personal plan, including your unique domain name, costs $45 for one year of service. If you already have a professional/academic blog, please talk to me.

You are not required to purchase any texts for this course, but you will have readings due nearly every day our class meets. These materials will either be freely available online or accessible through Mason’s library catalog. 


This is a class about using digital technology, and thus requires the use of a computer and other online tools. All assignments in this course will be submitted electronically. During class, please use your devices for course work and class communication only. Do not use your devices for watching movies, checking email, browsing social media or handling personal affairs. One of the goals of this course is to learn how to be respectful producers and consumers of digital content, and the way we utilize technology in the classroom is part of that. 

Late Work

Due to the condensed nature of this class, we will be moving through materials and assignments at a rapid pace. It is therefore imperative that you keep on top of the readings and turn in assignments on time. In that vein, no unexcused late work will be accepted. If extenuating circumstances arise, please let me know. Any alternate arrangements must be agreed upon by the instructor and student before an assignment is due.


Students are responsible for verifying their enrollment in this class. Students must take the appropriate steps to drop or withdraw from the class in order to be removed from the class’ roster. Failure to attend class does not result in an automatic drop. Schedule adjustments should be made by the deadlines published on the Registrar’s website for the Summer 2021 Academic Calendar.

Academic Integrity and Classroom Conduct

George Mason University has an Honor Code which requires all members of this community to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity. Cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing are all prohibited. All violations of the Honor Code will be reported to the Office for Academic Integrity.

Unless otherwise specified you should work on your own assignments. When you rely on someone else’s work, you should give full credit in the proper form. 

Plagiarism consists of presenting the writing, research, or analysis of others as one’s own, and is not acceptable in any form. Any text, information, analysis, ideas, or opinions from someone else that are presented in your own work—whether paraphrased or copied verbatim—must be properly attributed to its author and source and cited in a footnote, endnote, or bibliography. Direct quotes must be inside quotation marks or offset as a block quote. Paraphrased text must have been substantially altered in word choice, order, and sentence structure. When in doubt, please ask for guidance and clarification. Any instance of plagiarism will result in, at minimum, the student receiving a grade of 0 on the assignment, and the student will not be given the opportunity to redo the assignment.

Our in-class conduct and discussion will also be guided by the principles of academic integrity. In order to learn, we must be open to the views of people different from ourselves. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility toward others who have different ideas, perspectives, and traditions than your own. Please refrain from personal attacks or demeaning comments of any kind. See the George Mason University statement on diversity.

Disability Services

Disability Services at George Mason University is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. If you are a student with a documented learning disability and you need academic accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Resources first. Then please discuss your approved accommodations with me. Please do not hesitate to seek out the assistance you need to be successful in this course.

Website: | Email: | Phone: (703) 993-2474 


HIST 390 is taught by many people at George Mason University. I have borrowed and adapted course structures and materials from syllabi by Jessica Dauterive, Mills Kelly, Abby Mullen, Lincoln Mullen, Amanda Reagan, Stephen Robertson, and Stephanie Seal Walters.