Keep a record of ALL YOUR OWN WORK in your journal. The journal will become a clear record of your reading in the library, surfing through SAC [ID], and studying other course materials and completing exercises defined in week-by-week listings in the course ACADEMIC CALENDAR

Table of Contents of this Explanatory Page =

Thoughts about "Reading" in the Academic Setting [Hop to new page then return]
What Should You Enter in the Journal, and How Much?
The Journal's table of contents and bibliography
Start Your Own Library of Copied Material
Become Map Savvy
Make a Backup Copy of Your Journal
Final Words on the Concept of the Journal

What Should You Enter in the Journal, and How Much?

Some course exercises will be completed within one week, some will stretch through the whole term. Some of the exercises (like number one, "purchase the journal") obviously require no entry in the journal. Be smart about what is most journal-worthy in the exercises, and use your nine hours of work outside class wisely. The week-by-week readings in SAC and the library do require constant attention, and should be entered in the journal from the early days to the end of the term.

The Academic Calendar in the course webpage syllabus suggests readings for each week.

The journal provides an opportunity for thoughtful and careful reading of primary documentation [ID] as well as quick reference to secondary monographs and certain general reference works. Here are a few paragraphs from the SAC instruction page that explain the presentation of primary and secondary sources in SAC entries.

How much should you read and write? There's enough suggested in the syllabus and in SAC to occupy a lifetime. So, the answer is this = limit yourself to nine hours of course work outside of class time. Not everyone will read the same things, but everyone has a chance to become closely acquainted with the general topics raised in the syllabus and to explore individual interests as well. Put in the time, and you'll be happy with the results. I guarantee it.

Take guidance from lectures, and follow your own interests and instincts. Branch out on occasion to these suggested readings embedded in SAC entries, especially when you come across them as you follow LOOPS suggested in the course webpage syllabus.

Here we touch on one of the most difficult but useful skills this course will ask you -- and the journal will allow you -- to cultivate. Work constantly to familiarize yourself with the central issues of the course, as defined by the syllabus and in SAC. But at the same time, develop your own interests, guided still by the syllabus and in SAC. Follow these leads without losing your own identity. You could describe this skill as an ability to adjust to your environment but also to thrive individually.


Table of Contents and Bibliography

Work on the the journal-worthy exercises should be entered in the order you do them. For example, you may take up one exercise on a sequence of journal pages, interrupt it with work on another, recorded on the next sequence of journal pages, then take up the original exercise again on a third sequence of journal pages. This works for you and for your readers because your Table of Contents, kept as a register of your work in the first several pages of the journal, will provide guidance to work on any given exercise, even when it is distributed over several different sections of your journal. Typically, the Table of Contents will list exercises, weekly topics (as indicated in the course ACADEMIC CALENDAR) and/or titles of the readings you have done, listed in the order in which you do them.

You may integrate your list of readings (your "bibliography") with the table of contents or keep a separate list. In either case you may use SAC and Syllabus abbreviations or codes.

Organize your reading and writing as you wish, but you need not expand your time commitment. The standard 9 hours/week can be distributed over any number of different reading and writing schedules, but if you deviate much from the broad outline in the syllabus, be sure to consult with the course professor(s).

When is the Journal Due?

You will submit your journal and the results of your work at the times indicated in the course syllabus.

Your professor(s) are happy at any time to look at  journals with you during office hourse. This library, internet and journal based course is very different from what you might be familiar with. Your professor(s) are confident you can do it, but we also know that we can help you get untracked and adjusted, especially in the early days of the term.

You know or will soon learn how to pace yourself. Steady work is good, about 9 hours per week, but sometimes you will have reason to give more time one week than the next, etc.

Start Your Own Library
Photocopy or "cut-and-paste" into word-processing text, as you will.
But Don't Put These in the Journal.
Remember = The Journal is a Record of Your Own Work only.

Become Map Savvy

Feel free to put photocopy outline maps in your journal. You may fill these outline maps with as much hand-written information as you wish. An outline map filled in by you can be called YOUR WORK and belongs in the journal. [Here's an example of a good outline relief map of Eurasia.]

It is recommend that you learn to sketch outline maps yourself, and that you do so occasionally in your journal. This is a good way to consolidate your grasp of relevant geography. In turn, grasp of geography seriously expands your ability to remember the events that take place on the geo-physical "stage". Remember that your outline or hand drawn maps can include dates and other key words.


Make a Backup Copy of the Journal

It is wise to photocopy your journal to create a "backup" copy. A good time to photocopy your journal would be just before submitting it. If for some reason the original is lost, you have a copy to fall back on.

Final Words on the Concept of the Journal

A central concept here is this: When you "process" information from a source through your eye and onto the blank page by hand, while in the process of analysis and synthesis of the information, you will remember it better, you will "make it your own". And your journal will preserve a record of that work, for your professor(s) to see, but for you to see and use, perhaps for years to come.

And that's what you should to do with the history before us in this course = MAKE IT YOUR OWN.

The Golden Rule of the journal is this: Record everything you need in order to complete course exercises with precision and detail. Record your work on each journal-worthy enumerated assignment in the course syllabus.