History 104A, August 17: ORIENTATION 2 + Map site exercise

               Sometimes if you've got the computer on before the projector, it

          doesn't do well, but I will attempt and see what happens.  What I'm

          attempting to do is identify the nice little option we now have,

          thanks to Connie over here.  I have placed the first lecture up

          on-line.  And I'm anticipating that as long as Travis stays with us --

          please Travis -- we will continue to be able to post the lectures.

          And at some point I will also put up a search engine for the site in

          the same way that I did for political science.  That will certainly

          help for those of you who are interested in doing the extra little

          work.  Let me see if they've put it up.

               One of the things that's a little annoying is we're not allowed

          to post things on the web site.  It will be load loaded there once

          they've uploaded from here.  I'll show you how you can get to it

          anyway.  As I showed you before, you go to about my courses.  And at

          this point, they haven't put it up.  Let me show you what it is.

          Instead of WWW, where I have to put it -- and this makes no sense to

          me candidly -- is developer two.  And as you'll see here, I've added a

          section, western civilization 104A lectures from fall 2005.  And it

          takes me to WWW two still because it's going to go to WWW.  Developer

          two gets us in.  And we now have a nice little site and an orientation

          lecture is here and word for word, although I think my hums and awes

          were left out a bit but that's fine, it's here.  And if you had a

          sound machine, turn it down because this is the same music that's on

          the grade sheet side at this particular point.  And it says --


          lectures readiness only prefer listen herr professor Doctor Kirshner.

          I was giving you a little Yoda advice, I think.  Question?  No.  Any

          questions about that at all?

          A    I don't think that's Yoda talks.

               THE PROFESSOR:  I know, but it's the best way I could do it.  I

          can't get this exactly in that language.  They do a better job.  If

          you can word it better in Yoda sense than I did, I'll greatly change

          it, change it greatly, something backwards like that.

               I think there's at least one person who was not here last time.

          Is there anyone else that was not here last time?  All right.  Are you

          registered previously for the course or are you new?  You are

          registered?  Come on down.  I need to give you material and get your


               Some of the groups I'm going to put you in today will get you

          outside.  Did I talk about the exams last time?  I don't remember

          getting to that.  I need to at least fill you in on that.  Are there

          any other questions besides the exam that would you thought about?

          Quiet class.  No questions?  No thoughts?  How about the term paper?

          Any questions on the term paper?  No questions on the term paper at

          all?  No, there is no term paper.  I just thought I'd make you wet

          your pants and somehow wake you up.  Thank you.  Sorry about that.  I

          know that's nasty.  Of course it would be one way to probably reduce

          the enrollment and give me less papers to grade.  Any other -- any

          questions on any of the material?  Everybody understands the group

          meetings that will be coming up and bringing the three by five card,


          discussing the issues?

          A    I had a question on your grade breakdown.

               THE PROFESSOR:  Besides how many people I flunk and how many I

          give A's to.  What do you mean by grade breakdown?

          Q    Do you only grade like the exams for group meetings?

               THE PROFESSOR:  Group meetings are graded like the exams.  That

          means that you have 400 total points and it is divided by four.  And

          it's an exact average which translates to, if you -- from 90 to 100 is

          an A, 80 to 89 is a B, et cetera.  Obviously the 100 points on the

          group meetings have to pull up your grade.  Of course they can pull

          them down if you don't do them.  And there I've given you the option

          that if you're absent you can make them up by writing the two-page

          report if you happen to be absent.  Any other --

          Q    So the packet at the library, do we have to read that whole


               THE PROFESSOR:  Yeah.  I meant to talk a little last time about

          Velikovsky.  You're a better man that I can.

          A    I tried.

               THE PROFESSOR:  I should have warned you.  You're a nice good

          student and got ahead going on it.  The fact is that there's an

          underlying reason.  You can pick up on concepts and ideas even though

          the underlying development of it is to say the least not readable.

          Don't try and remember this stuff, just pick up what you can by

          reading at a normal pace.

          Q    So you don't have to be diligent?


               THE PROFESSOR:  No.  I'm not trying to make you a super graduate

          student.  I want you to get a feel for some other kinds of views, not

          only in history in dating, but one of the problems we are confronting

          today which she confronted in 1950 with the scientific Maffia.  That

          translates to people who are tied to science are just as dogmatic as

          people tied to religion, and they do not want different points of

          view.  And that is one of the dangers that we confront in this

          movement today towards what really is creationism, what's being called

          intelligent design.  I think I alluded to that last time.  I blame it

          on the scientists and I'll explain that.  You'll see that in the

          Velikovsky and what happens to him as well.  There is some very

          interesting underlying theory.  Please take in mind I'm not giving you

          the reader because I believe what he says or what he investigated is


          A    Uh-hum.

               THE PROFESSOR:  Even though many of the things that we came up

          with have proven to be valid over the decades, I guess that's the

          term.  He spoke in front of the American Science Association in

          1982-83 somewhere right before he died.  I had those tapes and tried

          to listen to them.  The tapes were more difficult to listen to than

          the reading, his encyclopedic, almost photographic memory.  When

          people questioned him, he quoted from sources without any papers.

          That's an amazing individual.  I want you to get a feel for that and

          also the jarma, which is something that we will be discussing as we go



          Q    Do you still have copies of those tapes?

               THE PROFESSOR:  Nobody has asked for those.  I think I have about

          30.  If you want to follow me after class to pick one up, you can.

          Like I said, as long as I get them back.  I used to put them into the

          packet in the first few years of the college.  It's expensive to

          publish all those pages, despite your expensive tuition around here.

          I'm glad you brought that Velikovsky up.

               So again, like much in history, and I should mention -- how do

          you study these things?  My response to taking notes from me, to

          studying generally, to reading books, is to basically take notes on

          what's interesting to you.  Now you say, but you may not put that on

          the exam.  And my response is, good students have a unique ability to

          be able to tie whatever they've learned into any question.  It's

          amazing.  It's called academic BS.  You've seen us professors do it

          all the time.  And good students tend to do it on exams.  I'm not sure

          that there's somewhere you can teach it.  I'm not sure that it's got

          anything to do with intelligence.  There may be some of you that

          nothing is interesting too.  That's beyond my capacity to comprehend

          because you are college students and obviously here to do more than

          get promoted from McDonald's to Burger King.  There's got to be

          something there of interest.  That's the basic suggestion.  You will

          also find that even when I talk rapidly.  If something is interesting

          or important myself, I tend to repeat.  That's also a good indication

          that it's time to take notes.  It's time to put something down either

          in your memory banks or into your notebooks.


               Any other questions?  Those were good ones because finally we got

          something that I forget to do and brought it to mind.  All right.

               Let me touch on the exams for you so that you get a better

          picture.  As I pointed out there are some example exams on the web

          site.  There are three exams -- midterm one, midterm two, midterm

          three -- no -- exam one, exam two, and exam three.  I don't understand

          how you can call two exams midterms?  I have to figure that one out.

          In any case, exam one, two, and three, and they are self-contained

          which translates to, they are not -- well, they aren't comprehensive.

          They're not cumulative.  Each exam will have three questions on them.

          You will have a choice of one essay question that's designed to be

          completed within the 50 minutes of the class.  However, some of you

          will complete it earlier because you're fast writers or know nothing,

          and others of you may need more time.  I do not put a time limit on

          those people because I was one of those students who found a lot of

          things interesting and wanted to be a salient.  And I appreciated

          history professors who allowed me to continue, and that is my intent.

          One of the things I tried to do with teaching, as with parenting, is

          to try to remember what I did wrong and what I did right and not

          repeat it as a teacher, in other words, my own experiences.  I hate

          professors who come up with these ideas, oh, well, that's where I

          screwed up so I'm going to screw my students over.  I'm dead serious.

               Many years ago I ran a gym in New York City while I was in

          graduate school.  And there was a professor there from the City

          College of New York and they were just giving their first graduate


          Ph.D. exams which are oral.  And by the way, for any of you -- how

          many of you have ever taken an oral exam?  I had never taken one until

          the Ph.D. and it had me crying.  It's a very frightening experience to

          confront all these snobbish professors.  But he was practicing on me

          questions that he could pose to the graduate students he was going to

          ask -- and his area happened to be French history for the Ph.D.  And

          finally, after the exams were over, I said, what questions did you

          decide on?  And his response was, oh I decided to ask them the

          questions I couldn't answer on my Ph.D. final.  Now, again, it was

          like the professor who, in graduate school where I was, lectured to us

          in six different languages.  We only needed two and that's generous

          because none of us really spoke it.  It was the one upmanship and

          that's the kind of thing that I attempt to avoid, although sometimes I

          guess you can't help but coming off seeming that way when you're

          standing in front of a classroom.

               So once again, I will attempt, as best as, possible to provide

          you with the opportunity for the amount of time.  Most people will not

          take more than about a half an hour to an hour extra.  However, a

          number of years back I had a student who spent nine hours writing the


          Q    Was it good?

               THE PROFESSOR:  I didn't read more than 20 pages.  He wrote 45

          pages, and he did it on every exam.

          Q    Why?

               THE PROFESSOR:  Let's call it insecurity, compulsion, stupidity,


          your choice.

          Q    What did he get?

               THE PROFESSOR:  The why is really.  He had been kicked out of

          Robertson Continuation School.  He had a 1.1 overall score in his high

          school work.  And he came to college deciding that he was going to

          prove that, while he may have been a screw up, he was bright; and he

          was.  And he finished Ohlone with a 3.8.  I had always thought it was

          a 4.0, but he wrote me a few years back for a letter of

          recommendation.  He got a full scholarship to Davis, and from there

          went to Magill University for his Ph.D.  It's a fine school,

          equivalent to some of the best in the United States.  So basically he

          had a hangup shall we say academically, and he was going to prove it.

          And he took both history classes.  And I think I was teaching American

          colonial history at the time as well as political science.  Okay, a

          unique situation.  That's something that comes through.

               The woman who became valedictorian last spring from Ohlone used

          to take about an hour and a half extra.  That doesn't mean that all

          students who get A's continue that way.  I've had students who stayed

          in there and one student who did an extra hour and a half and flunked

          the exam.  And the reason is that, on exams, one of the things that I

          insist upon and look for is for you to show me that you were here,

          either the material from the lecture or material from the textbook,

          something to indicate that it isn't all BS or something that you got

          from your own knowledge.  That's not to say it can't be added.

               The last couple of years I've had some people from the society


          for creative anachronisms.  I don't know how many people are familiar

          with that.  They live in the middle ages in a sense.  They actually

          reconstruct them, reconstruct the battles and reconstruct the armor

          and reconstruct the swords.  And in one guy's case, Greg, he actually

          competed in battles where they were not direct reconstructions.  They

          went out there and they literally fought in the style and with the

          equipment and even if the battle was won by England or France, it was

          irrelevant.  It was who won that battle that day.  And they travel all

          over the country to compete in these tourney, if you will.  All of you

          have heard of the society?  Two.  Well, now you've heard of it.  And

          they brought the armor to class, and they brought the stuff that they

          made themselves.  And it was amazing how heavy the change mall or

          whatever the helmets really were, forgetting trying to hold some of

          swords with both hands.  Where was I?  Back to the exams.

               What I'm saying is that we can learn.  And that's the reason for

          the group meetings, to learn from others as well as to interact with

          others on campus.  Now, with the exams, I said there were three

          questions.  I pointed out that I really want you to learn.  I don't

          care if you learn from the textbook or you learn from me.  I am not

          that egotistical to think that the only place to learn is from me.

          There are professors that insist on coming to class.  We learn

          different ways.  One question will be from the text and one question

          will be more from my lectures and one question that you have an option

          of will be sort of a combination of the two.  Now, that would mean

          that it gives you the option to use your learning style.  And your


          learning style varies.  I learned that when I took a referees course

          for soccer with my two youngest sons.  Because they had to take it

          because it was required for those on the traveling team when they were

          15/16, whatever it is.  And one of them was a listener.  He has an

          ability to shut out everything.  I'm like most of you, which, from

          time to time, my thoughts flutter.  You think about what happened last

          night and then you come back to focus into what's going on.  He has

          almost photographic memory on what's going on in class.  He seldom

          reads the books and seldom takes notes and has gotten A's.  The other

          boy gets A's by taking copious notes because he's a space kid.  He

          lives in space.  I talked about this before in class?  He has no

          ability to concentrate.  The ceiling of his bedroom is covered with

          Star Trek models.  It's just definitely up there.  And so he needs to

          study and he needs to take notes to keep his attention.  Now, came the

          exam, the individual who studied got a 90; the individual who listened

          got a 94; and I got a 95 only because I don't think I've worked that

          hard even in college.  There was no way I was going to let them beat

          me.  It was close, that one point.  Boy, was I nervous.  In any case,

          the questions are generally concise, short, the answers as you

          gathered are extensive.  I will review and talk to you a little more

          about and give you some guidelines in writing essays.  One thing I do

          want to emphasize right in the beginning, to remember that you are in

          a history class.  That does entail dates, periods of time within a

          range so that at least you're putting things within a context.  If you

          tell me that John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1992, I'm going to


          have problems.

          Q    You don't allow any notes for the essay?

               THE PROFESSOR:  No.  It's open head, not open notes.

               I will also talk about a problem that I've dealt with in the last

          few years.  I approach the exams a little differently when I proctor

          them because of something that happened in cheating.  I'm going to be

          very cautious about that.  Some people have open notes even though

          they're not supposed to.

          Q    You said three questions.  Do we answer all three?

               THE PROFESSOR:  No; one of them, whatever you feel comfortable

          with.  Sometimes it's interesting, after I make up the exams, and it's

          difficult to come up with a new question.  Sometimes they repeat

          themselves.  I can often say what's the one most people will answer.

          I want to add something to that.  I'm thinking about doing what I did

          a couple of years ago which I didn't do last spring.  When I move the

          course into a world civilization course, I decided to give one

          question for students to take home, although they couldn't bring notes

          in to write on it, but they could have the question ahead of time

          which dealt with world civilization.  The thrust of the course is

          western civ. and I've told you about I added the world element.  What

          I found is that I was having a little difficulty with it sometimes

          because my real thoroughness comes from the western civ.; however,

          this textbook is more world civilization, and therefore, I may rush to

          it and prepare myself better for grading the world civ. question.

          I'll let you know when I make that decision ahead of time.  There are


          some optional readings that would be covered that you don't have to

          read but could be covered by a world civilization question.  I may try

          to integrate it more this semester.

               Any other questions about the exam?

          Q    They're all the same, the three-question setup?

               THE PROFESSOR:  All exams will have the same format, yeah,

          different questions obviously.  And as I said, all will be

          self-contained.  That doesn't mean you can't use material you learned

          to add it to later to the question.  They're not going to be directed

          to go back.  And that's why I don't like calling it a final exam.

               There is a movement afoot to condense the calendar here at Ohlone

          to make it a 15 or 16 week calendar without a finals week where you

          would take the final on the last day of class.  I have mixed feelings

          on it.  Again, as I told you earlier, I like going back to when I was

          a student.  I liked what we used to have called dead days.  There

          would be days before the final exam that you didn't have any classes

          so you could do what I did, as most of you do is, even if you learned

          most of the material is, cram like crazy.  I think if that's done the

          last day of class, that cuts down on the fun of cramming or adds to

          the caffeine that you take to stay away for a few days.  Just to keep

          you posted, how many of you heard with the condensed calendar that

          they're talking about?  Just one.  See, you get an education.  You may

          not get any western civ., but you may get what's going on.

               Any other questions?  Okay.  I just spent a lot of time with the

          structure of the class, again, for the same reason I put the stuff on


          the Internet, to aid you in doing well.  One of the silliest things I

          think is when you blame the teacher for your bad grades.  The teacher

          was terrible.  That's why I did bad in class.  That's the time to work

          harder, to show the teacher what kind of an idiot they are.  The

          teacher was bad so I flunked.  Your class is terrible; that's why I

          flunked.  And they say, get out of here, flunky.  If you get an A in

          the class and you want to attack me, then I have to sort of listen.

          One student who got an A and took my class and he came up and said he

          wanted to punch me in the nose.  As I told him, I have a big nose.

          That's not hard for you.

               For the next 20 minutes I'm going to set up the groups.  You're

          going to examine an actual archaeological site.  I'm going to give

          maps to the groups.  What I want you to answer in the groups -- and

          you can have somebody who is a secretary.  It's not just answering the

          question.  It's explaining -- and by the way, secretaries don't

          mean -- they better not be all women -- is explaining how you got your

          answer.  So the first question will be the age of the site.

               1.  Age of the site.

               2.  The number of people who lived there.

               3.  Economic, how they made their living.

               4.  Political system.

               5.  Religion.

               6.  Just for the heck of it, the age they marry.

               Now that's not merry, it's marry.  We did do that last time;

          right?  All right.  I'm going to break you up by rows.  So this row


          only has got three people and I may split them.  Let me come back to

          you three.  You can do it in here as a group or you can go outside

          when I finally say get out of here.

               The three people in front will be in group five.  That's with

          these four guys back here.  I figure they need a couple of women in

          there too.  Please remember what groups you are because we'll use

          these groups for the discussion groups as well.

               Okay.  Decide where you want to do or do it in here.  Let's get

          together.  And I'll hand you out some more maps for everybody.  You

          won't need a report today.  Just start working on it.  We're going to

          meet for a little while on Friday, and then we'll get the report after

          that meeting.  So ask somebody who you're sure is going to come back

          with the notes.

               Okay.  As I indicated, we will continue with this on Friday.  Are

          there any questions that you have in the interim?

          Q    How do you derive a political system from small circular objects

          and dots?

               THE PROFESSOR:  They were some small circular objects.  I'm

          just -- this is what we call the problem of archaeologists and

          historians.  That's why you're doing it.  It's incurring thought,

          critical thinking, and a lot of false assumptions.  And part of that's

          why we're showing it to you.  Okay.  I guess you people can take the

          maps with you and bring them back Friday and I'll collect them on

          Friday.  And we'll see you then.