History 398: Special Topics: The Vietnam Experience
Online Course Fall 1999
Local Course Syllabus - University of Richmond Site

Instructor: Dr. Ernest Bolt, Jr. Office: Ryland Hall, Room 107
Department: History Phone: 289-8334(O) 288-7581 (H)
Email: ebolt@richmond.edu Home Page: www.richmond.edu/~ebolt 
Office Hours: M,W 11:00-Noon; TR 2:15-3:00 and by appointment otherwise

Course Description | Local Course Calendar | Required Texts | Assignments | Exams
Grading | Academic Integrity | Attendance Policy | Bibliography |

Note: This syllabus applies only to undergraduates at the University of Richmond. Graduate students should request the graduate student version of the syllabus.

Course Description

This course is an online course offered under a Mellon Grant received by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS). The three campus sites are Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport, LA), the University of Richmond (Richmond, VA), and Rollins College (Winter Park, FL). This is the homepage for the University of Richmond Local Course component of the course.

The online course has been developed by and will be taught by three faculty members at the three sites. The faculty members shall bring three different perspectives to the collaborative learning which is possible. Professor Bolt at Richmond is an historian and Dr. Tom Lairson at Rollins is a political scientist. Dr. Bryan Alexander at Centenary will offer on his campus English 315: Seminar in Contemporary Literature: The American Experience in Vietnam. The course (on every campus) centers on Vietnam's protracted wars, Vietnam's historic struggle for independence, and the impact of war upon peoples, institutions, and cultures. Students at all three sites will read three common core history texts, a common novel and will use a common book of readings. In addition, Richmond students will complete several assignments just for the Richmond students. The Richmond Local Course will also feature at least one visiting speaker and the viewing of several films and/or documentaries (in class and outside of class). Each instructor will administer exams and evaluate the papers of his students.

Objectives of this course and other information appear on the Vietnam Experience website. That is also the location for the Combined Course Syllabus. Use of online technology makes possible a significant amount of online discussion among students and faculty on all three sites. See the Combined Course Syllabus for access to the communication program which will be used. [It is important to note that the Richmond course is not a field-of-study (FSHT) course in the General Education curriculum.]

Local (Richmond) Course Calendar

Students meet this online ACS course weekly from August 30 to December 6. They meet as the Richmond Local Course on August 25, September 20 & 22, October 18 & 20, November 15 & 17, December 6 and December 10.

Required Texts

Purchase the following texts in the Bookstore:

William J. Duiker, Sacred War: Nationalism and Revolution in a Divided Vietnam (1995).

Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam (1995).

George C. Herring, America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (3rd dition, 1996)

D.R. SarDesai, Vietnam: Past and Present (3rd edition, 1998)

Stewart O'Nan, ed. The Vietnam Reader (1998) Selections to be assigned


Use of documents from Foreign Relations of the United States. This assignment will be in two parts -- one from use of printed documents and the other from use of online documents.

Use of readings, visual materials, and other information obtained online. Students must utilize all instructor-prepared online resources and must browse weekly recommended links on the Combined Course Syllabus. Several assignments will result in short papers based on online information.

All students must write a critical review of the novel by Bao Ninh.

All students must participate in weekly discussion of readings, use of online materials, and assignments created by all three instructors, including a simulation designed by Professor Lairson.

Students are required to view two films and/or videotapes outside of class and to submit a two-page review and reaction paper on each visual source. The reviews will reflect limited research in filmography library materials as well as your reaction, both personal and that which is informed from course materials. Films or videotapes may be borrowed from the Media Resources Center (MRC) of Boatwright Library or you may request use of equipment in the MRC. Please refer to the Film and Video Review Instructions before beginning this project.


There will be only one exam - a comprehensive final exam. Self-scheduling of this exam is not permitted.


Grading Scale and Final Grade

Generally, a ten-point scale is used in grading all papers and examinations and in averaging course grades. Below are the numerical ranges and grade point values for each letter grade used for papers and exams and in reporting final grades.

 97 - 100  A+  4.0  77-79  C+  2.3
 93 - 96  A  4.0  73-76  C  2.0
 90 - 92  A-  3.7  70-72   C-  1.7
 87 - 89  B+  3.3  67-69  D+  1.3
 83 - 86  B   3.0  63-66  D  1.0
 80 - 82  B-  2.7  60-62  D-  0.7
       -59  F  0.0

The final course grade for undergraduates is the result of averaging the grades earned on all assignments according to the following.

 Participation in online discussions

Final examination

Papers (2) on use of Foreign Relations of the US

Written review of two films or videos

Written review of required novel [Bao Ninh]

Papers based on online research and presentations


Attendance Policy

Each student is expected to attend all meetings of the Richmond Local Course. Absence from more than two classes may adversely impact upon the final course grade. Excuse from the final exam, under University regulations, is handled only by your dean.


Academic Integrity

The instructor joins the Honor Councils on campus in calling to your attention two items. First, the following pledge shall be used on all forms of testing and on all other written work: "I pledge that I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance during the completion of this work." The student shall sign her/his name in full following the full pledge. Second, the following definition of plagiarism is contained in the Honor Code: "the deliberate presentation, oral and/or written, of word, facts, or ideas belonging to another source without proper acknowledgement."



Course Description | Local Course Calendar | | Required Texts | Assignments | Exams
Grading | Academic Integrity | Attendance Policy | Bibliography |

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