HS 7301: Public History Methods (Conceptualizing Capstone Project), Spring 2020

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Course Information

Instructor Information

Dr. Lindsey Passenger Wieck (LWieck [at] stmarytx. edu)

Office Hours
Schedule an appointment or ask questions via our group text or individual text message.

Office Location
Chaminade Tower 500 - Department of History

Office Phone

Course Details

Class Time & Location
6:30-9:15PM Mon AND Weds, Garni Science Hall 107

Online as of March 23, 2020

Class Dates
Mar 02, 2020 - May 06, 2020

Twitter hashtag

Publicly Historians: Our Blog
Log in for Publicly Historians

Course Texts

Required Books:

Mira Sucharov, Public Influence: A Guide to Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Engagement (2019) | kindle, paperback, or hardcover

Portfolio hosting via Reclaim Hosting - $30

All other readings:
Other readings and resources will be available here or on Canvas.

Course Description & Objectives

This course offers an extended focus on the methods of Public History, building on the conceptual knowledge gained in the Introduction to Public History course. Students will learn strategies for and practice using techniques including writing for public audiences and digital publishing. Students will also learn about concepts important across public history fields including grant writing, communication and publicity, and education and accessibility. Students will work in this course to develop their brand and their professional materials, including resume and/or CV, LinkedIn profile, and a portfolio. In this course, students will work toward creating a proposal for a capstone project to be completed alongside or as part of their internship. Required before internship.

Professional interaction and networking involves respect, open dialogue, and timely responses. In this course, all students will aim to prioritize these skills.

Upon the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
  • Develop skills and experience with an assortment of public history methodologies including writing for public audiences, writing grants, managing projects, and working with different types of historical materials.
  • Interact with and critically assess a variety of public history collections including museums, websites, and digital repositories.
  • Develop a proposal for a capstone project to be completed alongside or separate from the student’s internship (and/or continue your project from your first semester).
  • Create a portfolio and other professional materials, and prepare to apply for internships.
  • Learn how to identify and measure the meaning and impact of public history activities.
Skills you'll practice in this course:
  • Show respect, engage in open dialogue, and provide timely responses to community partners, instructors, and colleagues.
  • Public speaking
  • Working collaboratively with peers and community partners
  • Networking and developing professional skills; developing portfolio and professional materials
  • Posing historical questions; finding & analyzing primary and secondary sources; citing sources
  • Using digital tools for storytelling
  • Using principles of basic web design and content development
  • Continued use of social media to connect with other public historians, as well as promoting projects for communities & stakeholders.
  • Grant and proposal writing

Adult typing on a typewriter


WATCH Wieck video on using Best Practices in PH on Canvas

Date & Topics Read & Prepare for Class Tasks To Do

Class 1: M 3/2

Capstone Topics: Historical Research

Professionalization Topics: Resumes and Cover Letters

Guest Speaker: STRIVE Career Center

Being a Historical Detective

LISTEN Mob Queens - Episodes 1-5 (approx. 2.5 hours); Or find in your favorite podcast app. ** Please note there is some explicit content in these podcasts. If this is a concern for you, please let Dr. Wieck know.

REFLECT  While the content of this podcast is really interesting (or so I think), I'd like for you to focus on the historical work they are doing. How do they identify leads? How do they research those leads? What do you think about the conclusions they're drawing? Are there things they are doing that are problematic? What do you admire most about their research and storytelling?


BRING Bring TWO PRINTED copies of a recent resume and cover letter, if you have them.




Class 2: W 3/4

Capstone Topics: Project Planning and Capstone Overview

Professionalization Topics: Branding Yourself and Social Media; Using Instagram

Branding Yourself and Social Media

READ Mira Sucharov, A Guide to Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Engagement, chapters 7-12 (pages 67-148).

READ Digital Pathways, "Instagram for Museums"

READ Digital Pathways, "Social Media for Museums: An Overview"

READ Russell Dornan, "Should Museums Have a Personality?"

READ Benjamin Chacon, "The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2020"



  1. Russell Dornan, "The Museum: How Instagram Brings Back Seeing"


Instagram Takeover -- assign

REFLECT Twitter thread or short blog post reflecting on the readings


Begin to think about your capstone project and consider doing outreach to seek a community partner.


Class 3: M 3/16: NO CLASS

  • Work on resume / cover letter drafts
  • Make sure you have all the materials you need for your capstone proposal checked out from the library and available in your home
  • Begin doing outreach to potential stakeholders - be patient, compassionate and understanding, recognizing everyone is stressed and anxious

Class 4: W 3/18 - no class

Capstone Topics: Historical Background and Context

  • Work on developing your Capstone Proposal (v.1)
  • Watch video on Canvas about developing your Historical Background and Context section of your capstone proposal.

Cover Letter and Resume Drafts

Capstone Update (v.0) -- Email Dr. Wieck an update with your progress on your capstone proposal topic.

Class 5: M 3/23

Live class from 8:00-9:00PM

Professionalization Topics: Creating Social Media Strategies

Professionalization Topics: LinkedIn

READ US National Archives, "Social Media Strategy - Read Intro, Vision, and Goals 1-4.

READ Rachel Gonzalez, "Keep the Conversation Going: How Museums Use Social Media to Engage the Public"

WATCH-OPTIONAL Sarah Heffern, Kirsten Hower, Raina Regan, Liz Williams, "Building Connections Using Social Photography"

READ Adam Koszary, "Seven broad statements that may or may not help your museum do a bit better at social media"

READ-OPTIONAL Adam Koszary, "Look at this absolute unit"

READ Sophie Gilbert, "Please Turn On Your Phone in the Museum "

READ W. Ryan Dodge, "EPIC Content: How to build high impact content"

READ Colleen Dilenschneider, "Social Media is More Important Than Ever For Cultural Entities – Here’s What You Need to Know"

READ-OPTIONAL Colleen Dilenschneider, "Game Changer: Social Media Followers Report Better Experiences At Cultural Organizations"

WATCH Wieck video on using LinkedIn on Canvas

CANCELLEX Wieck video with Darren on using Social Media as a Brand




Capstone Proposal (v.1) -- Submit your abstract, goals, and stakeholder sections

Class 6: W 3/25 - no class

Capstone Topics: Public History Best Practices

Work on developing your Capstone Proposal (v.2) 

READ  Read two articles/chapters/items about public history methods related to your capstone project proposal. Create a citation for each and write a short one paragraph summary of the article and how it relates to your project. Bring these to class with you. (For example, if you're creating an archive of oral histories, you might read something about oral history, creating digital archives, or the ethics of working with specific populations). Post this on the discussion board on canvas and read Dr. Wieck's replies to everyone in the class.

LinkedIn Draft

Class 7: M 3/30

Professionalization Topics: Portfolio

WATCH Wieck videos on Canvas on buying and setting up a domain and beginning to develop your Portfolio. Wieck will have an open room on Zoom tonight where you can drop in for help from 7-9PM




Class 8: W 4/1


Capstone Proposal (v.2):  Review your partner's draft and set up a digital meeting with your peer review partner and discuss. You should now have 1) Abstract, 2) Goals, 3) Stakeholder, 4) Historical Background and Context, and 5) Public History Best Practices Drafted.

Remember it's acceptable to have an annotated bibliography for part 4 and an annotated bibliography for part 5 at this stage.

Capstone Proposal (v.2) Submit the draft you peer reviewed with comments + your own draft with notes of what you plan to revise based on the peer review session.

Class 9: M 4/6

Topics: Writing Op Eds

Live class from 8:00-9:00PM

Writing Op Eds

READ Sucharov, chapters 2-6 (pages 9-79).

READ Choose four op eds in the Washington Post's Made by History Op Ed column. These pieces, released daily, are edited by historians and most often written by historians, and they seek to contexualize current events within history. Read more about the goals of Made by History.

REFLECT  In the sample op eds you've read for today, consider what they are doing well and what they could improve in? Are they relatable?




Capstone Proposal (v.3): Submit a revised version containing Dr. Wieck's and your peer reviewer's feedback.

Class 10: W 4/8

NO CLASS: Schedule Zoom Call with Dr. Wieck

Dr. Wieck will provide feedback on your Portfolio draft and on Capstone Proposal


Portfolio -- Have your portfolio draft ready to show Dr. Wieck at your meeting.

Class 11: M 4/13


Keep drafting your op ed and revising your other capstone proposal and professional materials.  

Class 12: W 4/15

Professional Topics: Portfolio Peer Review

Exchange drafts of your portfolio with your partner to peer review.


Op Ed draft 1

Class 13: M 4/20

Topics: Grant Writing

Live class from 8:00-9:00PM






Op Ed draft 2

Capstone draft 4 - include all previous items + a timeline and budget + an annotated bibliography of additional resources needed.

Class 14: W 4/22

No Class: Individual meetings with Dr. Wieck by zoom.

We will review your capstone draft verson 4 and your Op Ed.


Class 15: M 4/27

Topics: Final Presentations by zoom


Op Ed - final version

Full Capstone Proposal

M 5/4


All Professional Materials Due



Component (click on labels for assignment overviews) Points per assignment Number of Assignments Total
Capstone Project Proposal: This includes pieces including articulating your abstract, goals, stakeholder, historical background and context, Public History best practices, etc. Points will be awarded for drafts and the final product (REQUIRED) 400 1 400
Portfolio and Professional Materials: This includes drafts and final versions of your resume or CV, LinkedIn Profile, and your portfolio. (REQUIRED) 325 1 325
Op Ed Piece: This includes drafts and your final version of your op ed piece. (OPTIONAL, but recommended) 150 1 150
Instagram Takeover (OPTIONAL, but recommended) 80 1 80
Reflections You will create several short blog posts (350-600 words) or twitter threads (thread of 10 tweets with #phstmu hashtag) that reflect on certain readings or class experiences. (optional, unless missing class zoom sessions) 15 3 45
TOTAL Varies based on completed assignments


The course will adhere to St. Mary's University grading scale: Graduate Grading Policies

Grading Scale

Grade Points
A 925
A- 875
B+ 850
B 800
B- 775
C+ 750
C 725
C- 700
D 600
F less than 600

Class Policies


Courtesy & Attendance
My goal is for us to create a constructive learning environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and participating regularly. Therefore, I expect you to come on time and stay for the entire class period, listen attentively while others are speaking, and respect opinions other than your own. Chronic tardiness or absences will result in the lowering of your grade. This course adheres to St. Mary's University Attendance Policy - Students may receive a zero for any work missed due to an unexcused absence, and may be dropped for missing an equivalent of two weeks of classes

Laptops and Mobile Devices
Because this is a public/digital history class, please feel free to bring laptops and other devices to work on projects, take and consult notes, and to refer to any digital readings. However, if I feel laptops and tablets are becoming a distraction, you will be asked to put them away. I reserve the right to ban laptops and tablets if they become a problem.

Respect in Class and Online
Because you will be given many opportunities to interact in person and online, please respect each other. No bullying or disrespect will be tolerated. If you are experiencing any problems, please let the instructor know, and we can work together to resolve any issues.

Social Media
On all social media accounts used in this course (blogs, Twitter), students are expected to uphold professional standards that meet university and professional codes of conduct.

Disability Statement
NOTE: In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act, Student Accessibility Services is the designated office responsible for coordinating all accommodations and services for students with disabilities at St. Mary’s University.
St. Mary’s University supports equal access of qualifying individuals with documented disabilities to all educational opportunities, programs, services and activities. If you have a documented disability, or a condition which may impact your performance and want to request disability-related accommodations, you must first register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services, located in the Student Counseling Center (in the Center for Life Directions Building) in room 139. Please stop by the Student Accessibility Services Office, call 210-431-5080 or email stmudsts@stmarytx.edu to set up an appointment to meet with the Student Accessibility Services staff.

Assignments / Grading

Due Dates
Instagram takeover assignments do not allow for late work to be submitted, because we've divided the schedule, this will not be something that you can make up.

Reflections, capstone, and professional components that are submitted late may not receive detailed written feedback -- this prevents you the opportunity to learn and grow and possibly to have the opportunity to revise your work. The deadline for all work is May 4.

If you are struggling to keep up, I encourage you to reach out to talk via email or by stopping by office. Graduate school can be a big transition, and it's easy to fall behind. Please reach out before this builds up so much that it will be hard to catch up.

In extraordinary circumstances (e.g. personal emergency or medical situations), please email me if you'll be missing class or missed another assignment, but you must contact me before the due date.

Honor Code
I take the university Honor Code very seriously, and I expect the same from you. Please make sure you are familiar with the guidelines regarding academic honesty, plagiarism, cheating, etc. The graded work you do in this class must be your own. In the case where you collaborate with other students make sure to fairly attribute their contribution to your project. Be sure to cite your sources to avoid issues of plagiarism and dishonesty. See me immediately if you have questions or doubts about what constitutes academic dishonesty, especially plagiarism. If an assignment is plagiarized in part or in full, the student receives a failing grade on that assignment and the incident will be reported to the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


If you have any questions or concerns throughout the semester, please see or call me immediately. I am here to help you learn, but it is your responsibility to address any issues you have concerning course content, assignments, and classroom dynamics. Do not risk your grade; if you are having problems, please come and talk me before it is too late.

Syllabus Modifications
This syllabus will serve as our guide throughout the semester, but may change, particularly as we identity digital skills we would like to pursue throughout the semester. I will alert you to any major changes made.

University Policies
St. Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe, equitable, and fair environment where students can pursue academic excellence. Policies and procedures have been developed to foster and sustain such an environment and apply to all courses offered at the
university. Students need to be aware of these policies and procedures, which can be found in Gateway, and within the “University Policies” tab of your course assigned Canvas page. Please become familiar with these important policies and procedures, which include:
  • Nondiscrimination, Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment
  • Students with Disability
  • Human Subjects Research.
  • Study Days and Exam Days Policy
    In this class, final projects and presentations will be due on May 4.
    Acknowledgments and license
    This syllabus borrows ideas/readings/wording from other history classes, including those taught by Rebecca S. Wingo and Leisl Carr Childers.
    This syllabus and all assignments are copyrighted © 2020 Lindsey Wieck and licensed CC-Non-Commercial BY 4.0. You are free to use or modify this syllabus for any non-commercial purpose, provided that you attribute it to the author, preferably at the course website listed above.