How does participation in innovative community-based research help students meet complex course and programmatic learning objectives--the fostering of a critical historical imagination, for example--that are central to community-based research, and yet resistant-by-design to charts and metrics?
The project research team made a case study of History 2301E, the American History survey course at Huron University College, in 2014-15. Working with local archives, the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project, and other community partners, here and in the US, History 2301E students explored local connections to the American antislavery movement. The class did fieldwork in the archives, digitising, transcribing, and annotating manuscript materials; conducted local interviews; and travelled to Oberlin College, an important antislavery community with many direct ties to antislavery communities in Canada. Students created a research website to make their work accessible, and hosted a public event at Huron focused on the links between 19th-century and modern antislavery movements.
While the U.S. history class was underway, the Off the Chart research team surveyed background literature on community-based research learning; prepared an annotated bibliography on community-based research, public humanities, digital history, and assessment, linked to the Huron University College library catalogue; wrote and administered surveys of student perception of community based learning and research; and developed a workshop on writing the final CBL reflection paper for the class. At the conclusion of the course, we reviewed assessment and assignment rubrics in light of survey results, and created this website to document the research process, project results, and house an archive of student reflection papers.
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