Final Reflection

Our final assignment is a Reflection Essay. It is a space for you to think about your process of archival research, oral historical research, and “public history” presentation.  You should critically evaluate your own learning journey over the course of the semester as you consider the ethical, emotional, and intellectual issues you confronted. You may make use of any of our course readings in your writing as you do so.

To help organize your writing, respond to the following prompt:

If ten years from now you could only remember about 20% of your class experience, what would you want to remember about your experience in this class?  Consider your performance and development over the last four months.  What have you learned?  Why is it important?

Your essay should be clearly written and organized. While the length is not specified, it should not exceed 10 typed pages.  It is due no later than 5:00PM on Thursday, May 16.  It should be saved as a PDF, named your first name, and emailed as an attachment to

The End

We’re at the finish line! One more class to go!

We will meet on Tuesday, May 7th to install our exhibit, turn in outstanding materials, and complete course evaluations. We will also discuss the “Reflection” assignment.

Here is a breakdown of what you need to do for next week:

1. Finished Panel
Your completed panel must be submitted to me by Wednesday, May 1, at 8:00PM. It should be designed on PowerPoint but sent to me as a PDF. That means if you do NOT have PowerPoint you will need to visit one of our computer labs and work on the final copy there. It should conform to our template specifications and then you should save it as a PowerPoint file and then save it again as a PDF. Please send me the PDF via email as an attachment. My email is

2. Return Recorders
if you checked out a recorder you need to return that recorder to me by next Tuesday.

3. Interviews
You need to complete your second interview by next Tuesday. That will also be your last chance to turn in the resulting materials. Those include: 1) the one-page write-up of the experience; 2) the audio of the interview; 3) the folder with completed paperwork; and 4) the manila envelope (addressed to them, with the thank you card and copy of their consent form inserted).


It’s all about the exhibit right now.

Next week you should have your panel completed by class time. That means you should have your text, images, and quotes entered into the panel template provided to you on our Google Drive.

Here’s how you access it: Go to our Google Drive folder and in “EXHIBIT” you will find the PowerPoint template for our panels (it’s called “0_PANEL-TEMPLATE.pptx”). For font consistency (you will need Futura font in MS Office), it will be best to work with this on an Apple computer. If you do not have one you can either download the Futura font or work on a computer in the computer lab.

You should have your panel completed by class time next week (Tuesday, April 30). Please bring it saved on your computer or on the flash drive that I provided to you. We will spend our class correcting any errors and finalizing each panel. We will also move them all to one master flash drive for the printer.

If you have interview materials to turn in from your second interview, please bring those to class next Tuesday, too. If you’re still working with those, or still have to conduct the interview, you can turn those in during our last class.

WEEK 13: final stretch

This is the final stretch of our class and project. It will take your time and effort to bring us from where we are to a finished product. I hope you enjoy the process and I thank you in advance for all your work!

1. Second Interview
Your goal is to complete your second interview as soon as possible. As soon as you are done, post your mini-transcription in our “Interview Notes” folder on our Google Drive. The sooner that is done the sooner other can use the quotes in our exhibit write-ups.  Our “soft” deadline for this is Friday, April 19, but if you haven’t done your interview yet the goal is to get it posted as soon as you can.

2. Write a draft of your panel
Everyone now has a panel assigned to them. (You can find yours and our notes on yours in the “Panels (4/16/19)” document which is in our “EXHIBIT” folder.)

Your goal this week is to write a draft of your panel. You should integrate some of the research we have done and posted on the “OUTLINE” document (also in the “EXHIBIT” folder) as well as some quotes from the interviews we have done (everyone has posted their quotes from their own interviews in our “Interview Notes” folder). Your panel can integrate oral history quotes in the narrative. It can also make use of quotes as stand-alone features, like a photo or a document.  Either way, it must tell a story in non-academic language.

The draft you write should be around 500-600 words, or about 1.5-2 pages double-spaced. If you have stand-alone quotes, those are not included in the word count. Please have any stand-alone quotes and 2-3 photos identified in advance. You can find images in the PDF document I emailed the link to last week.

PLEASE BRING YOUR DRAFT TEXT PRINTED OUT ON TUESDAY. We are going to read each others’ narratives and work to edit them for length, clarity, and consistent voice.  We will also make sure there is no repetition of images or story.

When we are done with our editing, we’ll learn how to transfer the content to a PowerPoint slide that can be printed as a poster for our exhibit.

Week 12

We’re in the final stretch of designing and composing out public history exhibit! This will be an exciting three weeks as we go from the outline we have now to the final product.

Our goal is to deliver the entire thing to the printers by Friday, April 26. That would get it back to us ready for installation on Tuesday, April 28. If we don’t get it done by then, we might need to reconvene to install the exhibit later in the week (probably Thursday, May 2). We’ll work out those details as we confront them.

For next week’s class, here is your to-do list:

1. Second Interview
You should each be working to conduct your second interview as soon as possible. If your interviewee as been unresponsive, let me know immediately so we can assign a different person to you. The goal is to complete the interview and post your completed mini-transcription of useful and pertinent quotes to the “Interview Notes” folder on our Google Drive no later than Friday, April 19.

2. Retrieve Research Notes and Insert into the Outline
We now have a rough outline of the various “chapters” of our story. Your task is to continue pulling quotes and notes from your archival and oral history research and placing them in the section you think they are most useful. Do not double post your research in multiple chapters. Do not post research notes that do not come from your own research.

In class, we will:
1. finalize how many panels will be created for each chapter;
2. who is going to create which panels; and
3. start writing our narrative for our panels.

I’ll try to bring some food to help us work. See you next time!


This week we continue our work on the design of our public history exhibit. This week we will focus on “narrative themes” as we set ourselves to the goal of selecting a narrative for the exhibit and beginning our work to make it cohesive.

This week you should continue reading through your research and drawing quotes that you think might be useful to our exhibit. This includes two kind of quotes: 1) one that might be included in our exhibit as is; or 2) quotes that might help one of us as we write narrative for one of the panels in the exhibit.

Before class you should also begin reviewing the research work of others. Our central goal of the first part of class will be to answer the question “What is our story?” You should come to class with your own sense of what that is. Last time we wrote down our own personal take on that question. This is where we will start class this week.

I will also begin sending out contacts for our next interviews to you before our next class. I am away at a conference this weekend but I will start doing that as soon as I get back. I will also provide you some email text to use as you craft your message to them.

Finally, because it looks like a lot of the next round of interviews will be via Skype or Facetime, we will do some learning on how to download and work with Audacity. Audacity is a free software solution for recording and editing sound files. It is one quality solution for us to use when recording from our computers. We’ll also look at QuickTime as another solution.

The next few weeks will take a great amount of team work and focus. It should be easier on our daily lives than if we were working solo on the project but effective teamwork takes its own skills and commitments that are unique to the academic world. Let’s stay informed and prepared for the road ahead by bringing our creative and critical skills to the group on Tuesday.

We’ll see you then!


Last time we started discussing and planning our public history exhibit.  As we transition to the final phase of the spring semester, we’ll be more focused on doing the work we need to do—as a group—in order to make your collective vision a reality.

Next class, we’ll hear our lastResearch Reports from those who did not go last time; we’ll turn in our interviews and prepare to mail materials to our interviewees; and we’ll work on our public history exhibit.

Here’s what you need to do for next week:

1. Prepare to submit your first interview.
You should have submitted your one-page write up on the “experience” of your first interview. If you have not, do that as soon as you can. You can submit it via email. The rest is due next Tuesday——the audio interview itself (.wma or .wmv format); the folder with completed paperwork; and your transcription of useful quotes (uploaded to our “Interview Notes” folder).

2. Email you first interviewee to say “thanks” and to get other contacts.
Touch base via email to say “thanks” to your interviewee. As you do, follow-up on names they provided you or make a pitch for contacts for others who might be good to interview. Our interviewees are the best sources for more folks to talk to. The personal connection of someone who has been interviewed usually ensures pertinent people who make good recordings. We’re looking to be done with these in 2-3 weeks, so there’s some time to make connections but not much.

3. If you have one, fill out your thank you cards.
If I gave you a blank card last time, write a message of thanks to your interviewee. We will include these in our mailings to them (which we will prepare in class). If you didn’t get a card, I will have one for you this week.

4. Review our collective research.
We’ll spend much of our class starting to learn from our shared research notes and beginning the work with turning this into a cohesive narrative. One way to prepare is to make sure all your work is complete and start to look through what others have provided.


All my best to you on a safe and peaceful spring break.

We regroup on Tuesday, March 26.  Most of you will have completed your oral interview by then.  We’ll start class by hearing from those of you who did.  (Consult the last post on our blog to see how I will assess your interviews.)

We’ll use most of the class time to start an envisioning process of our public history exhibit.  We’ll do some work with our research findings, chart our next steps, and prepare for our second interview.

Take care until then…

Assessing the Interview

A good interview is a mix of things we (the interviewer) can control and things we can not.  For our class, I am most concerned with the realm of things we can control. We don’t need to be perfect; we just need to be prepared and mindful as we execute the interview.

The following list questions might be useful to you as you think about assessing your own performance:


  • Is the recording audible?
  • Did you save the file in WMA format and back it up?
  • Did you begin the interview by identifying the interviewee, yourself, the date, and location?


  • Did you ask open-ended questions that gave the interviewee room to tell their story?
  • Did you refrain from interrupting them, leading them, or getting in the way of their story?
  • Did you guide their story to help make it a usable oral history document?
  • Did you ask follow-up questions when necessary about their time in Claremont?
  • If you are part of a team, did you work equitably together as reflected on the recording?
  • Did the interview cover all the key topical areas we intended for it to cover?


  • Did you complete all our paperwork according to our directions?
  • Did you made copies of the interview and paperwork for the interviewee?
  • Are the interview and paperwork submitted for archiving?

Remember your goal: guide the storytelling process so that the interviewee tells the story they want to tell and so that you both create an archival document that will be useful to future generations. Prepare by developing your interview guide and knowing what topics you want them to discuss. Prepare your follow-up questions to give them opportunities to discuss what they remember, how they feel, and what they think.

WEEK 8: Oral interviews

It’s time for us to set-up our oral interviews and then conduct them!

Next Tuesday we WILL NOT meet as a class.  The interview we had scheduled as a demonstration for our class had to cancel due to health reasons.  Instead, I will be in our class room from 1:15 to 2:30 to answer and questions you might have as you prepare to conduct your first interviews.  I’ll also bring some recorders with me in case you need to check one out.

Between now and then you should send your email to your assigned interviewee and set-up a time to speak to them on the phone so you can arrange an interview time. Remember to consult all our paperwork to help you prepare for your first interview.

You must conduct your first oral history interview by the end of break. If you get another contact or two from your interviewee be sure to email them to profe for record keeping.  All your documents and the digital copy of the interview are due in class no later than Tuesday, March 26.

If you have any questions, please ask them as a comment to this post so that I can answer it for you and for everyone else.