High Plains Passport (revised 10/12/15)
At the bottom of this handout is a list of passport sites. As articulated in the syllabus, the visitation of these sites, or events, and corresponding assignments associated with your visit are worth 20% of your course grade.
We will divide the class up into teams of at least TWO, and no more than FOUR persons each. Each team will choose a DIFFERENT ONE of the passport sites to visit and write about. (A discussion forum will be set up for teams to form and call “dibs” on their sites. No more than one team can blog about any one passport site).
Once the site is selected, each team will then be responsible for choosing ONE of the sites, coordinating the visit for all the team members, recording experiences and capturing images for use in the blog, and then posting a DRAFT of the blog for review by your professors. Once the blog is approved, it will be PUBLISHED on our site.
The team will share the final grade for the blog. It will be up to the team members to make sure that everyone is collaborating and contributing fully to the assignment. Materials have been posted in the resources area that outline the best practices for managing teamwork/collaboration.
Finally, to really stress the spirit of collaborative learning, we will have a “holistic” measure of our final blog as a class project. As you all work together in your individual teams, we will strive for the final blog to represent the best abilities of our class; the teams will all contribute to the overall layout of the final blog itself, the introductory statement from the class, and the author profiles at the end. A small portion of your blog grade will then be shared by the entire class—based upon the final outcome of the project.
For an example of a set of academic blogs posted for a CAP 469C Great Plains last fall, click here: http://academic.csc.edu/esp/cap469c/
First, be sure you have investigated the site or event you are visiting before you make your plans to visit (make sure they are open and accepting visitors, for example). Reviewing web sites or other information related to the site or event may help you prepare your visit and your subsequent report.
When you visit your site/event, be sure to take notes and keep an eye out for interesting details you will want to share with your classmates and blog readers, particularly as they relate to the subjects we have been exploring in class as part of our inquiry. You will want to have plenty of details and materials when you get together with your team members to compose the blog.
You will also need to take photos or video (where permitted) to record your experiences. Be sure to get permission to use any image that includes a person that can be clearly identified (general crowd shots are okay. There is “implied consent” when you are in a public place, but it is good practice and courtesy to ask permission before using the image of someone prominently displayed in a photograph that might be posted in your writing).
It is also good scholarly practice to document everything–so if you interview people, please get names, and if you use information from your visit, please attribute it fully (see your instructors if you have questions).
From your notes and materials gathered from your visit, meet with your team members and draft a blog entry that addresses the following areas at some point in your writing. (You do not need to follow this order. Let your blog flow organically from your own thoughts and interests).
- Name or list the place or event you visited and when you completed your observations.
- Identify a major IMPRESSION/IMPACT that the visit left on the team. Blog entries generally identify a major theme/topic that is then explored from a variety of angles, allowing readers to share in your thoughts and experiences, and what you ultimately learned in the process. Ask yourself—“what is the point” of the experiences/observations we are sharing, and why should readers care?
- DESCRIBE/SHARE some well-chosen examples and details from your experiences that help to illustrate your impression/impact. The more specific, the better. Consider items, images, experiences, information, interviews, tours, displays, brochures, etc… that relate to specific themes or issues we have been exploring this semester, especially ones that relate to your own areas of inquiry and interests in this course.
- Provide at least one image/photo that helps to illustrate and capture the IMPRESSION/IMPACT you are writing about.
- LINK your experiences, in some way, to our subject of inquiry this semester. You might share how your experiences at this place or event have contributed to your own understanding of our major subject of inquiry in this course: “what does it mean to make a home on the range”? Or you might connect your experiences to some of the readings, discussions, debates or explorations we have had in our course this semester.
- A simple grading rubric will be used to assess your final, posted blog (see below). The final blog will be worth up to 200 POINTS. If you follow the instructions outlined above, you should do fine.
- There is no word-length requirement, but be sure to respond to all the prompts fully. Blogs are generally pretty brief—but we have multiple authors trying to record a variety of experiences. Therefore, blogs of less than 1000 words are likely to be underdeveloped and lacking specifics or details.
- Blogs are generally pretty informal in tone, but remember that this is a college class, and your posts are public, so we will want to strive for clear, pointed and error-free language in our posts. (Proofread carefully).
Sites featured on the Nebraska Passport Webpage: http://nebraskapassport.com
Knight Museum and Sandhills Center*
908 Yellowstone Ave.
3200 W. U.S. Hwy. 20
Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center*
1000 Main St.
Arthur Bowring Sandhills Ranch State Historical Park*
90468 Nebraska Hwy. 61
Dawes County Historical Museum
341 Country Club Road
Badlands National Park and Visitor Center
25216 Ben Reifel Road
Custer State Park and Peter Norbeck Visitor Center
13329 US Hwy 16A
Hudson-Meng Bison Kill and Visitor Center
Rapid City, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial
South Dakota Game and Parks Outdoor Campus WEST
Rapid City, SD
Cherry County Historical Society Museum
Wildcat Hills SRA (Nature Center)
Scottsbluff National Monument
Chimney Rock Visitor Center
Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park
North Platte, NE (may also be able to view Sandhill Cranes)
The Great Platte River Road Archway
High Plains Western Heritage Center
D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives
Sites or activities you come up with that are approved by your professors.