What Students Can Expect in ACC History Courses

The History Department welcomes you to our courses. We have an outstanding faculty and you will find that many of your classmates are also outstanding students. With a collaborative effort on the part of BOTH faculty member and student, your experience with us should be most productive and rewarding.

Students registering for History courses at Austin Community College need to be cognizant of the fact that the requirements and expectations for those courses may be higher than those for some other courses in the College.  Our courses are intellectually challenging and require that the student is both academically and socially prepared for college-level work. Successful completion of our courses requires a student commit a significant amount of time, effort, and personal responsibility.

The following is a summary of some of the requirements that are typical for a History course at Austin Community College. By providing you with this information, we hope you will be better able to assess your readiness to enroll in these courses.

1.    All ACC college-level History courses presume that the student has successfully completed the basic high school U.S.  History, Economics and American Government courses.  All HIST 1301 and 1302 sections are taught moving forward from that base of knowledge.  Thus, students are expected to already have a prior knowledge of the fundamentals of U.S. History, the Constitution, function and structure of the U.S. and state governments, and basic economic concepts including tariffs, the Federal Reserve, inflation, depression, and supply and demand. Students who do not have this prior knowledge and experience may find the courses more difficult.

2.    Each History course includes a substantial reading component of approximately 500 to 700 pages of material. Students will be expected to be familiar with the material covered in each daily assignment and to have read the appropriate sections of the text PRIOR to attending class. The textbooks used in the classes are written at the 14+ grade reading level. Therefore, unless you have reading skills equivalent to these requirements, you may find the courses most demanding.

3.    In all classes, some type of writing assignment is a requirement for successfully completing the course.  Many classes include essay questions on each exam.  In addition, many classes require research papers, analytical book reviews, a family history, film reviews, and/or thought piece assignments as a substantial portion of the final grade.  These assignments will be graded for form (grammar, spelling, and punctuation) as well as content. If you do not possess these necessary writing skills, we recommend you postpone taking History courses until after you have completed ENGL 1301.

4.    The normal mode of instruction is by the lecture method, supplemented in many cases by PowerPoint, video, and internet clips.   The student has a responsibility to come to class prepared and able to take notes based on the reading assignment, class presentation, or lecture.

5.    All History courses use behavioral learning objectives to assist the student in identifying the most important aspects of the material. These learning objectives are usually contained in the course syllabus or in a separate “Study Guide.”  They are not word-for-word identical to the test questions nor do they by themselves give the answers to test questions in advance. Rather, they highlight the salient topics and point the student to the relevant material that may appear on the test from both the lecture and the textbook.

6.    Each instructor has attendance policies and class behavior policies to which the student must adhere.  These include attending class regularly, arriving on time and staying for the entire class, regardless of other school activities and responsibilities, preparing for class by doing the required reading and assignments, and being respectful of fellow classmates and the faculty member. Any computers or electronic devices used during class time are to be used for class purposes in accordance with the instructor’s directions. All cell phones are to be turned off prior to class beginning and are not to be used during class time.

7.    Since most college courses usually meet only two times per week (in some cases only once each week), the pace of each class may be more intense than what students experienced in high school where classes met five times a week. Students should be especially careful not to overload themselves by enrolling in more classes than they have the time in which to adequately study for the courses.

8.    These are college courses and all students enrolled in such courses will be treated as college students regardless of the location at which the class meets.  All students are protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.  In compliance with this Act, instructors will not discuss student grades, academic progress, or class attendance and participation with a student’s parents, spouse, or significant other, unless the student is present.

9.    Students enrolling in Distance Learning courses will need maturity, ability, and self-discipline to successfully complete the requirements. The student will be required to do the same amount of work and the same quality of work as students enrolling in the in-class sections. Distance Learning courses are designed for mature and capable students endowed with a great degree of self-discipline and responsibility. There are many very fine students who find that their preferred learning style is classroom lecture and participation and that pedagogy better prepares them for exams. If you learn better via visual and audio means, then a classroom section will better fit your needs. Also, Distance Learning courses rely very heavily on multiple-choice tests. If you feel you are more skilled at taking essay exams, you might well consider enrolling in an in-class section.

In conclusion, we hope that sharing these expectations will result in a very successful and satisfying experience in your ACC History courses. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.