As we continue our theme of studying history, this week’s Blog of the Week focus examines Teaching US History or (TUSH). This blog began in 2011 by Edward J. Blum and Kevin M. Schultz. Its title pretty much states its purpose, the teaching of US History. The site has expanded over the years and has become a very nice treasure trove of information. Several other instructors have joined the team over time adding many blog entries along the way.
One of the interesting achievements of the blog’s editors has been a massive project known as The American Yawp which is a free online textbook. Over 300 historians have been involved in this project which is led by Ben Wright and Joseph Locke. You can access it here http://www.americanyawp.com/index.html. I use the textbook myself in my classes as an added resource for the flipped classroom. It is currently in beta, but it sure looks good. It looks even better when the e-textbook your school uses is acting up and can’t be accessed by students. Having a backup plan is priceless.
The blog itself has many contributors, all of whom have their own perspectives and pedagogical philosophies. The result is a large amount of entries where instructors discuss what works and doesn’t work in their classes. History instructors are always looking for new ideas and the blog serves as a nexus for the exchange of ideas. I’ve used a few in developing my own survey courses. You may access the blog’s website at http://www.teachingushistory.co/.
In the main toolbar you will also find additional information such as assignments and assessments, and recommended textbooks. A section on contributors is also interesting in that you can see what they’ve published on teaching history in other publications. The blog is one of the few that concentrate on actual teaching instead of history elements. That makes it very valuable to instructors in a subject area that many students avoid due to the tendency of many instructors to lecture them to death by PowerPoint. If we are going to change the way people see history, we have to change the way they learn about it. Teaching US History is one of those ways.