Syllabus for HIS-101



Western Civilization I is the first semester of a two-semester survey of the history of Western societies, institutions, and ideas, and the impact they have had on global culture over time. Starting with the emergence of a European civilization that was distinct from the classical world on whose foundations it was partly built, this course traces the major developments in the formation of Western Civilization to the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815.

Western Civilization I offers a broad overview of events that played an important role in shaping the development of western thought, culture, and tradition as we know them today. The course synthesizes various approaches to the telling of history by focusing on political as well as social events. Integrating such diverse disciplines as religion, government, and economics, it aims to provide a foundation of knowledge that will allow you to better understand the origins of social, political, and religious institutions of the present day.


After completing this course, you should be able to discuss:


  1. The major contributions of the Greeks and Romans to Western Civilization.
  2. The factors that led to the decline and fall of Rome.
  3. The emergence after the fall of Rome of a vibrant and distinct European culture centered north of the Mediterranean.
  4. The influence of Christianity on the development of Western Civilization and the power of the Roman Catholic Church.
  5. The Renaissance and the profound changes it brought about in Europe.
  6. The development of modern nations with strong central governments built on the foundations of feudal kingdoms in England, France and Spain.
  7. The reasons for the Reformation and the fundamental religious, social, and political changes brought about by this movement and the resulting 'Wars of Religion.'
  8. The economic, social, and political impact that the discovery of the New World had on Europe.
  9. The emergence of a global economy during the eighteenth century and the political and economic consequences.
  10. The policy of 'balance of power' practiced by European Powers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
  11. The struggle between kings who believed their power was absolute and granted by God, and representative bodies, such as parliament.
  12. The fundamental differences that separated West and East Europe.
  13. The Westernization of Russia under Peter the Great and the rise of Prussia as a major power.

  1. The fundamental and far-reaching changes that the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment set in motion starting during the seventeenth century.
  2. The "Democratic Revolution" that took place in Europe and the Americas during the late eighteenth- early nineteenth centuries.
  3. The causes and consequences of the American and French Revolutions.
  4. The rise and fall of Napoleon.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required TextbookHistory_101.jpg

ISBN-13: 978-0077599607


Western Civilization I is a three-credit online course, consisting of six modules. Each module is built around one or more chapters in your textbook. At the end of each module, you will complete a written assignment. You are required to participate in three online discussions. You will take two online examinations: a proctored midterm and a proctored final. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and take two proctored online examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for activity due dates.

Discussion Forums

Western Civilization I requires three graded online discussions, each focusing on a different subject. There is also an ungraded but required discussion in Module 1 titled "Introductions."

Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

For posting guidelines and help with discussion forums, please see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course website.

Written Assignments

Western Civilization I requires six written assignments. Each written assignment tests your comprehension of reading material assigned in the appropriate module and consists of short answer questions and essay questions. For each assignment you can choose any three of the short answer questions and any two of the essay questions to answer.

The short answer and essay questions in your assignments are designed to help you focus on the most important issues and themes presented in the module in which they appear. For that reason you will see a direct correlation between the questions in your written assignments and the modular learning objectives.

Please note that while you are not required to hand-in all of the questions in the written assignments, you should be able to answer any of them since there may be similar questions in your examinations.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Modules area of the course, and read through the written assignment questions before you begin each lesson. Your answers to the assignment questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the course materials. Formulate responses in your own words (do not merely copy answers from your reading materials), citing text materials where appropriate and in an appropriate manner.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Below is the rubric that will aid in the grading of written assignments.

For help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course website.


Midterm Examination

For the online midterm examination you are required to use the University’s Online Proctor Service. Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see the General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for both exams within the first week of the semester.

The midterm exam is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and consists of short answer questions and essay questions similar to the ones you have completed for your written activities. It covers all material assigned in modules 1, 2, and 3 of the course. You will not be allowed to have any material with you.

Final Examination

For the online final examination you are required to use the University’s Online Proctor Service. Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see the General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for both exams within the first week of the semester.

The final exam covers all reading and activities from Modules 4–6 of the course.

It is two hours long and consists of short answer questions and essay questions similar to the ones you have completed for your written activities.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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