Academic Profile: Teddy Roosevelt’s America

Hi everyone! March seemed to fly by this year, as it usually does, and this week I wanted to profile one of my favorite classes. Teddy Roosevelt’s America is my 110 level history course that is all first year students and taught by one of my favorite professors, Prof. Ed O’Donnell. We examine the Gilded Age and Progressive Era through the lens of Roosevelt’s complex and sometimes controversial presidency while learning important reading and writing skills.

Each class, we usually talk as a full group and then meet in smaller groups to discuss the readings or viewings for that particular class. It is extra helpful to first be able to bounce ideas or interpretations off peers rather than in front of the whole class right away! Then we reconvene as a class and one or two people will share some of the best ideas we had in our group. We’re about halfway through the semester, but I can already tell my oral presentation skills have improved!

We also have a couple semester-long projects, including a podcast project, in which two students choose an event from 1870-1920 (roughly TR’s period of relevance) and produce a 7-10 minute podcast about it. There is a lot of research involved in not only the history aspect (mine is about the Flu Epidemic of 1918) but also on how to write and deliver an effective podcast, including narrative storytelling and background music and sounds! We will even get to record them in a soundbooth on campus before the end of the semester! Part of our homework for each class is listening to history podcasts to learn not only about the history itself but also how the narrators style and craft the podcast itself.

We also have two debates throughout the semester. The debate takes a full class period and each group member has either a major speaking role or writing role. We take a step away from our era in history to discuss modern topics, like DACA and gun control.  I am looking forward to mine in April!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s profile on one of my favorite classes, Teddy Roosevelt’s America! Check back in soon to hear more updates from the hill!


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