HIS 499: History Capstone

Course Description

HIS 499 is designed as the capstone course for Charter Oak students with a history concentration. It offers rigorous practice in the study of history as a mode of discourse. Themes include specific historical content; thesis, evidence, Interpretation and judgment; research methods and critical reasoning; precise historical writing with citations. Each student produces a capstone project that demonstrates those themes, satisfies the history concentration outcomes, and locates the project within the field of historical study.


  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of content in one or more historical cultures, by explain primary characteristics of that culture, the main events of its history, and its historical significance.
  2. Participate knowledgeably in the affairs of the world around them, drawing upon understanding shaped through reading, writing, discussions, and lectures concerning the part.
  3. See themselves and their society from different times and places, displaying a sense of informed perspective and a mature view of human nature.
  4. Conduct research in primary and secondary materials appropriate for constructing a scholarly paper of substantial length and determine the evidentiary value of those sources including internet sources.
  5. Exhibit sensitivities to human values in their own and other cultural traditions and, in turn, establish values of their own.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading


Weekly Commentaries & Reactions to Discussion Board


Written Exercises


Scholarly Book Review


Draft Project Proposal


Final Project Proposal


First Draft of Project


Revised Draft of Project


Final Project




Required Text

  • There are no assigned common texts for HIS 499. Students will select one scholarly book to review as noted in this syllabus for Week 3.

Supplemental Materials

  • See the Webiliography section of the course in Blackboard for a list of recommended books.
  • Occasionally, the instructor will identify and post (or provide a link) to some scholarly article or some primary document useful to the week’s work. These will be generally initiated by the discussions in which students are engaged; sometimes students request materials about issues in which they are interested.
  • For some topics materials beyond the readings may be appropriate. Students tend to use internet sources, thus opening a world of research materials. Internet sources are also somewhat problematic, however, because of the potential for plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional. Thus, except for links that are identifiable newspaper sources, or addresses with .edu or .gov, internet sources are discouraged. Interlibrary loan is, however, encouraged.

Course Schedule



Activities and Exercises




    • Welcome and Introductions

  • On-line Discussion:
    • Student Introductions
    • Reactions to “Your Mama’s Knee”
    • Comments on Reid document
  • Review Syllabus
  • Post Reactions to “Your Mama’s Knee”
  • Post comments on Reid document (excerpt)



  • On-line Discussion:
    • Analyze issues in Study, Research and Writing of History
    • Historiography: inference, ethics and plagiarism
  • Post inference exercise
  • Post definitions of plagiarism;  remedies and penalties for plagiarism



  • On-line Discussion:
    • Secondary Sources
    • Scholarly Book Reviews
  • Post thesis statement and validity of evidence and author bias of a recently read history book
  • Post first proposals for capstone project



  • Post comments on student initial project proposals.

  • Post comments comparing the three reviews of book selected in Week 3 with elements of a good review (from Week 3)



    • Revisions and clarifications of proposed scholarly research papers or projects

  • Write a scholarly book review of the book selected in Week 3, using elements of scholarly review identified in Weeks 3 and 4
  • [Optional] Post revisions and clarifications of project
  • Post scholarly book review of book selected in Week 3 -- roughly 1000 words



  • Practicing Writing Narrative History – The Great Goldilocks Caper.  Tale written in historical narrative form
  • Post 3 – 5 page historical narrative: The Great Goldilocks Caper



  • On-line Discussion of Proposals
  • Full Proposals for Projects submitted to instructor. Include statement of historical problem; research plan; sources to be examined; possible thesis
  • Students work on papers/projects



  • On-line Discussion:
    • “Tips” on collecting evidence and organizational shortcuts
  • Post progress reports on research for projects



    • Students work individually on projects

  • E-mail “Office Hour” regarding progress on projects
  • Individual work on projects
  • Each student holds e-mail “office hour” with instructor regarding paper/project



  • On-line Discussion:
    • Issues regarding the first full draft of the paper/project
  • Submit to instructor first full draft of paper/project. Papers will be returned with comments prior to Week 11.



    • On-line Discussion:
      • Transitions and word options in historical writing

  • Students work individually on draft #2 of projects
  • E-mail “Office Hour” regarding draft # 2 of projects
  • Individual work on draft #2 projects
  • Each student holds e-mail “office hour” with instructor regarding first draft of the project
  • Post written exercise on transitional sentences and word options



  • On-line Discussion:
    • Issues in developing revisions for draft #2 of projects
  • Submit to instructor revised draft #2 of projects. Papers will be returned with comments prior to Week 13.



    • On-line Discussion:
      • The technical apparatus of citations and bibliography

  • Students work individually on final draft of projects
  • E-mail “Office Hour” regarding final draft of projects
  • Individual work on final draft of papers/ projects
  • Each student holds e-mail “office hour” with instructor regarding final draft of the paper/project
  • Post written practice exercise on accuracy in citations and bibliographical listings



    • On-line Discussion:
      • The meaning of Historical Scholarship
      • Placing Research into the Field

  • Students work individually on final draft of projects
  • Post comments on what your scholarly paper/project  means and how it fits into the field of historical study



  • On-line Discussion:
    • Improving HIS 499
  • Submit to instructor the completed final project
  • Submit COSC Course Evaluation

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.