Class Policies

Fall 2011 HoST (HHS130):

Nuts and Bolts


Thumbnail Descriptions of the 4 Parts of Your Grade



25% Attendance

Show up, pay attention, and play along, and get full credit.


25% Regular Homework and Essays (Things that you turn in.)


-Everyone is required to do the homework assignments. 

-Homework could be an extremely short assignment that just requires that you jot down a few thoughts or it could be an elaborate presentation.

-All homework will be described on the weekly assignment pages.

-Some homework will be worth just a few points, and other homework assignments will be worth more.

-There will be some sort of homework each week.



-Throughout the term you must also write 2 "Short-Form" and 2 "Long-Form" essays. 

- That's 4 essays in total (if you have any trouble with the math).  You get to choose which ones you want to do, but...

-... you must write at least 1 Short-Form and 1 Long-Form before the midterm. This is for your own good, so that you don't end up doing all 4 essays in the last 4 weeks of the term.

-Short-Form essays need to address that week's readings and need to be one page, single-spaced, or equivalent.  [Shoot for about 600 words in the body of the essay.]

-Long-Form essays need to do what short form essays do, plus they need to incorporate an additional reading that I'll post on the weekly assignment page.  These should be at least double the length of the Short-Form essays. 

-Homework and Essays must be turned in by the class period for which they were assigned (usually meaning on a Thursday].  Late homework will be penalized.

-Keep all of the homework and essays that you create in some sort of real and/or virtual folder.  You will refer to them later in the term.


25% Exams

There will be 2 (maybe 3) exams.


25% Projects

            These will be described around the midterm. 


Back to HoST Fall 2011 Syllabus


Detailed Look at the 4 Parts of Your Grade


Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class on a sign-in form.  Once in class your job will be to pay attention and participate.  This means ask questions, make comments, disagree with my conclusions, make a tasty topical joke here and there, Éwhatever.  You may also be asked to write something.  Class participation will be evaluated.


     I will occasionally give a quiz on the assigned readings which will determine your attendance grade for that day.  I may or may not give you advanced warning.


     If you will not be able to make it to class for any reason what-so-ever, contact me in advance (preferably by email: and tell me. You may tell me why if you want, but you donÕt have to. This will get you partial attendance credit. If you have an official document or equivalent to go with your absence, you will get full attendance credit.  Think of class like a job.  When you cannot get to work you call your boss.  ThatÕs me. 

Homework/Essay assignments will be described in the weekly assignment links on the syllabus. 


All assignments must refer to the assigned readings.  If you write an essay which digresses significantly from the readings, explain in the essay or in footnotes how you got to your topic via the assigned readings.  The homework is not just an exercise in writing or drawing, it is also a way for me to know whether you are engaging the readings or not.


That being said, I like to see people reinventing the wheel as much as they can.  This means I like to see you figuring out how something was done.  Get inside the head of a thinker.  Compare old techniques to newer ones or draw diagrams and graphs if it seems appropriate.  My job is to explain to you my observations and thoughts as clearly as I can in relation to the history of science and technology.  My presentation of this material is built around my abilities and deficiencies.  I tend to avoid my deficiencies and emphasize my abilities. I come off better that way. Your job is essentially the same.  Explain to me what you have observed and thought in relation to the readings.  Let me in on your thought process and use your personal strengths and skills to your advantage.  If you are uncertain about what you are writing, let me know in the writing.  I am perfectly happy to read, ŅI really didnÕt understand how X came up with her theory of Y, but here is my take on it.Ó  Real scholarship requires some risk taking and some humility, and a lot of rough drafts.  


If I ask that you write a one page, single-spaced essay of about 600 words, that is a usually just a guideline.  If you put a lot of work in on an illustration or a short movie or something similar, use your own judgment as to whether you put in about 600 words worth of work.  I like getting stuff that isn't just an essay, so don't get all anxious about whether or not you did enough.  You should be able to tell if you are doing enough. 


Everything you hand in should look nice.  Production values are important.  If my first impression of your work is that it looks like junk, imagine what sort of grade you'll get?


And another thing, try not to fall into that god-voice that sounds like the narrator to football highlights with the military music blaring to slow-motion tackles.  I would much rather hear your voice.  DonÕt be afraid to go out on a limb.  Homework and essays are not published, so if you do something wacky or just plain wrong, it is not a big deal.  Make your mistakes in the homework and essays. Make them big, make them bold. Experiment. Find your strengths and weaknesses.  Find your own voice.  You may need to forget all that stuff you were taught in high school.  You are in college now.  No more SAT prep.  I reward enthusiasm and creativity even if it doesnÕt work out to a publishable essay. 


And another thing, all homework should cite sources even if it is from our textbook or from one of my lectures. Cite everything that isn't common knowledge.  ItÕs a good habit to get into.  What is common knowledge?  The dates of the Civil War or identity of the body in Grant's tomb are common knowledge.  What Isaac Newton had for breakfast on June 8th 1704, where the Gospel of Mary Magdalene was found, the name of James Maxwell's dog, or how much mercury is in a CFL are generally not common knowledge.  So cite the sources of this sort of information.  Of course context makes a difference.  In a physics class on quantum theory, common knowledge might be the fact that Schršdinger's wave equation is a differential equation coming out of Hamiltonian dynamics.  In this class, HHS130, that same factiod should probably be given a citation. 


Every assignment will require at least a bibliographical entry or footnote citing the source reading with some page numbers.  I try to put bibliographical information for all of our readings in the assignment pages, but sometimes I forget.  When I do, it is your responsibility to make a reasonable citation. This has been the number one reason for deductions on homework assignments.  No citations or inadequate citations automatically reduces your score.  [How would you like it if somebody presented your ideas without giving you some credit?]

At the very least, make any citation what-so-ever have the following:

1. Author or producer or similar

2. Title

3. Name of book or journal or similar

4. Name of publisher or organization that funded the publication [Sometimes 3 and 4 are the same in internet sources.]

5. Date.  When was it written or produced or last updated.  [If an internet source, when did you access it?]

6. Page numbers or some other way to find the section to which you are referring. [Sometimes difficult with internet sources.]

[7. If an internet source, give the exact URL, ...but remember, a URL is meaningless without the first 6 pieces of information.]


If a source doesn't present you with all of this information, you should immediately be suspicious.  If you want me to accept web sources you need to make them look respectable.  Be especially suspicious of .com.  By definition, they are trying to sell you something.


Wikipedia is a source, but it is still under suspicion by academia.  I donÕt mind that you use it (anybody who says that they donÕt is probably lying), but use it for background research or to look up a specific fact like when so-and-so died or where Cosenza is located. IÕm not teaching Wiki-history filled with facts and chronologies so donÕt expect me to be impressed if you can regurgitate Wiki-history in your essays.  My ultimate aim in this class is more about perspective and our human relationship to the world, using history as a medium to demonstrate what is innate and what is not innate in various reference frames. IÕm teaching history so that you can figure out strategies for finding out who you and we are, not simply a chronology of events. The chronology is still important, for it exemplifies time and our relationship to it. But the chronologies I will discuss are arbitrary, chosen for their narrative interest and their relevance to our current location in space and time.  So, feel free to use Wikipedia, but don't expect me to be impressed... and cite it.  Every Wiki-entry has a citation link in the toolbox on the left side of the page which gives all 7 parts.


Grading of essays:

    -Short-Form essays are worth 10 pts.              

    -Long-Form essays are worth 20 pts.              

Most Short-Form essays should get an 8 or 9 out of 10 if they do what I asked.  I will give 10s to the really special ones.  I am particularly impressed if you read more than what I assign.  I donÕt give out many 10s, so if you get one you should write home about it.  I will give 5s, 6s, and 7s to those that look lazy or hastily prepared or lack proper citations or clearly donÕt refer to the readings or lack full explanations.  Please donÕt turn in anything that makes me have to explain a 1 through 5.  For that matter, please donÕt turn in anything that will get a 6 or 7. 

Exams: My exams are not hard if you have kept up with the readings and come to class. You are generally allowed to bring to an exam a single sheet of 8.5Ó x 11Ó paper with absolutely anything you want written, printed, or drawn on it. 

Projects: These will be described about half way through the term.  Be sure to keep all of the things that you produce throughout this class – essays, drawings, homework assignments... etc.  I suggest putting everything in a folder so that you can find it later in the term.

Finally, this word of cautionÉ and some sage advice.


I am generally a friendly guy and am usually amiable to all who choose to talk to me.  I hold no grudges against those who are not doing the homework or have poor attendance or those who flunk my exams. IÕve been a bad student and I know how it works.  That being said, do not confuse my friendliness with an A or a B.  IÕll flunk those who donÕt do the work and IÕll do it with a friendly, though sad, demeanor.  ItÕs not some sort of creepy schadenfreude [look it up] on my part. I just find that it is much more fulfilling not to get too wrapped up in the drama of your grades or to take your bad grade as some sort of affront to me or my abilities as a teacher. Some students are not ready to take this class for whatever reason. It took me 17 years to graduate from college and it wasnÕt because my teachers were no good, it was because of me and my priorities and my choices. If you choose to take 7 classes in a term and cannot keep up with the readings, that is your problem.  If you choose to take 4 classes and cannot keep up with the readings, this is also your problem. If you choose to be in co-op and canÕt keep upÉ, againÉ, your problem.  This isnÕt high school and I am not here to make you do anything you donÕt want to do. 


At this level you mostly teach yourself.  My job is to guide you through the materials with some commentary. 



Back to HoST Fall 2011 Syllabus


The following is not necessary for the quiz, but you should read it over. 


This is the official CAL-template syllabus without the class schedule.  


Syllabus for HSS 130B– History of Science and Technology [HoST] – Fall 2011

Stevens Institute of Technology – College of Arts and Letters [CAL]

Tues-Wed-Thurs:  10:00–10:50, Babio 304

Name of instructor: Daniel Newsome            – Office: M333 Pierce  Office hours: by appointment        

Email address:


Course description

A historical survey of science and technology. Principal topics include science and technology in prehistory, Egyptian and Babylonian science and culture, Greek science, Medieval technology and science, the Scientific Revolution, the making of the modern physical science, Darwin, and the Darwinian Revolution. 


Prerequisites: None


Objectives - College of Arts and Letters  

1.  Students will demonstrate an awareness of ethical responsibility and the societal impact of their future profession.

2.  Students will demonstrate a fuller understanding of the traditional humanities and social sciences through an understanding of their relation to the study of sciences and technology.

3.  Students will demonstrate an awareness of cultures and societies other than their own.

4.  Students will demonstrate writing and public speaking skills.

5.  Students will demonstrate a love of learning in the liberal arts for its own sake.

6.  Students will demonstrate leadership and team skills.


History Program Outcomes

1. Philosophical foundation.  The student will understand the underlying theories and methods used in the study of history, and be able to apply them in individual and team directed research.   

2. Historical foundation.  The student will understand the evolution of the discipline of history in concrete cause and effect relationships, and be able to discern schools of interpretations such as narrative, empiricism, Annales school, Marxism, cliometrics (quantification), postmodernism, gender based studies, psychohistory, and others.

3. Research.  The student will be able to design and conduct research in history using appropriate theories and methods in thesis research and data collection.   

4. Tools.  The student will be proficient in computing technologies necessary for the specific discipline.   

5. Professionalism.  The student will achieve a high degree of knowledge and accountability in an area of history such as the history of science and technology, American history, world history, etc.    

6. Leadership.  The student will be able to develop plans for research projects on a professional level that may lead to a career in education, law, journalism, politics, etc.

7. Teamwork.  The student will be able to contribute to research activity as part of a working team, and facilitate cooperation among the members of the team resulting in a successful project.

8. Communication.  The student will enhance written and oral communication skills using a variety of means to convey significant ideas and proposals.   

9. Ethics.  The student will understand and abide by professional standards of ethics appropriate to the discipline on a professional level.

10. Social issues.  The student will place into contemporary social context information derived from research into past human experiences.

11. Lifetime learning.  The student will be treated as a professional with a lifelong investment in one's field of study and a goal of continuing self-assessment and improvement.


HSS 130 Course Outcomes  (The number in parentheses refers to the CAL objectives above.)

1. This course will explore the similarities and differences between mythical, religious, and scientific explanations. (3)

2. Students will learn to evaluate different definitions of scientific progress. (1)

3. This course will explore how science and technology relate to the arts. (2)

4. Students will develop strategies for connecting text to image and gain an appreciation for ancient as well as more modern visual arts. (2)

5. This course will enlarge students' worldviews and help them make connections to the past and to other cultures. (3)

6. This course will teach students to experiment with historical ideas as they might experiment in a laboratory course. (2)

7. This course will show students how to find history in anything.  (5)

8. This course will teach students how to research historical topics. (4)


Course Schedule:

Go to: for class schedule.


Required books:

1) McClellan, James E., and Harold Dorn. Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 19XX.

 2) LucretiusÕ On the Nature of the Universe (De rerum natura) (Penguin Classics) by Titus Lucretius Carus (Author), John Godwin (Introduction), Ronald E. Latham (Translator). Used copies start at under $3 online.  [Get this translation! Don't get any other translation.]]

3) Bown, Stephen R. A Most Damnable Invention: Dynamite, Nitrates, and the Making of the Modern World. New York: T. Dunne Books, 2005. 


Online materials: In lieu of the traditional photocopies, additional readings are posted online in secured (password protected) PDF format.


Grading policy:

25% Attendance and participation

25% Homework         

25% Exams (midterm and final)

25% Projects


Course structure: lecture, class discussion, student presentations, short in-class laboratories


Consult the registrarÕs website ( for add/drop policies.


Writing and  Communications Center:


Honor board policies:

Enrollment into the undergraduate class of Stevens Institute of Technology signifies a studentÕs commitment to the Honor System. It is the responsibility of each student to become acquainted with and to uphold the ideals set forth in the Honor System Constitution. Specific student responsibilities include: Maintaining honesty and fair play in all aspects of academic life at Stevens; Writing and signing the pledge, in full, on all submitted academic work; Reporting any suspected violations to an Honor Board member or to the Dean of Student Development; Cooperating with the Honor Board during investigations and hearings.

The pledge signifies that the work submitted by a student is indeed his/her own. There is one designated pledge to be used for tests, homework assignments, lab reports, and computer projects. The pledge shall be written in full and signed by the student on all submitted academic work. Any references used (including texts, tutors, classmates, etc.) should be listed below the written pledge: ŅI pledge my honor that I have abided by the Stevens Honor System.Ó


Students with disabilities:

If you require special accommodations due to a disability, or if you need individual arrangements should the building be evacuated, you must inform the office of Student Counseling and Psychological Services, Dr. Terence Hannigan, Director, in the Howe Center, 7th floor (x5177), and ask that he inform the instructor as early as possible.


Changes in the syllabus:

This syllabus is a contract.  If you take the course you agree to abide by the rules of the course, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Institute.  The instructor may modify or alter the syllabus to make up for lost classes due to weather conditions, health, or other reasons or when the instructor feels it would help to attain course goals, or for any other such significant reasons


Back to HoST Fall 2011 Syllabus