course
Maritime History Since the Civil War

Aug 2005

Prof. McCaughey has a very loose lecture style, which can be disconcerting for people who like a systematic approach to the material. Class time in this seminar consists largely of presentations by individuals, watches (to get in the maritime spirit, the class is divided into three watches, groups that work together on projects for the duration of the semester), or guests. Each watch makes three presentations and each person in the class makes an individual presentation. Prof. McCaughey likes to make use of technology, so it's strongly recommended that the presentations be in website format. This can be daunting, but it doesn't require anything you can't do with Microsoft FrontPage. Typically, a watch or individual makes a presentation at the beginning of class, and we spend most of the rest of the class critiquing it. Prof. McCaughey occassionally prepared talks on various aspects of maritime history and terminology. The class wasn't very strong on the "history" part of its title. A general grasp of American history helps but isn't a prerequisite. Participation is critical if you want a good grade in the class. That means raising your hand frequently, and Prof. McCaughey will call on you if you don't. Say something maybe once every ten minutes. Take initiative in your watch as well, because the watch leaders (first mates) will report back to Prof. McCaughey on who is being helpful. Go early in the individual presentations, and make all of your presentations strong. Prof. McCaughey likes presentations to have "an argument." They don't have to be absolutely groundbreaking, but give them a lot of depth and don't make a book report. If you participate well, do well in your watch, and make good presentations, you'll get a good grade. Make sure to do the quizzes that Prof. McCaughey posts on CourseWorks right when he puts them up. They don't affect your grade, but he doesn't like it when you don't do them. Also, post your book/ movie reviews in a timely fashion, and put a modicum of thought into them. One last point: the only grade you get in this class is the one that shows up on your transcript. It can be worrisome when, as of the last day of class, you have no idea what your grade is going to be. Prof. McCaughey is fairly generous though, so if you do what I've told you, you'll likely get an A.