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  Assessing Historical Sources Design Team

"Sources for Courses: Assessing and using primary and secondary sources for Australian history"


Design Team
  Team: Janis Wilton, Catherine Clarke, Jeremy Whish and Ivan Thornton


  Focus: Projecct/Case Study
  Discipline: Arts & Humanities
  Target: Undergraduate (early)
  ICT used: Web/CD-ROM hybrid
  Scope: Entire length of subject/unit/course

Designer's Summary


Sources for Courses addresses one of the objectives of a first-year annual undergraduate introductory unit on Australian history, namely:

  • an improved ability to identify, reference, critically interpret and annotate a variety of documentary and non-documentary historical sources.

The learning design requires students to gain an understanding of the types of sources used in history, how to identify, reference and 'read' them, how to think critically about them, how to convert that critical thinking into concise written expression and how to relate the sources to a variety of historical topics and issues. A printed study guide, resource materials, online and face-to-face discussions and a multimedia database support the learning process.

In order to assess student learning and to provide feedback, students are required to submit individual assessment tasks consisting of a series of annotations on a variety of historical sources.

The form of the learning design and tasks is particularly tailored to address the needs of a mixture of internal and external students, and the requirement that they should have access to materials and learning strategies which can be self-paced and pursued in a relatively independent learning environment.

Rationale for Inclusion


This exemplar has been selected for inclusion for the following reasons:

  • It represents a learning design that is underpinned by a constructivist perspective, thus allowing students to construct their own knowledge rather than "absorb historical facts".
  • It illustrates the use of a database to encourage students to seek, read, question and analyse a variety of historical sources.


Please Cite As:

  Wilton, J., Clarke, C., Whish, J. & Thornton, I. (2002). Description of Sources for Courses: Assessing and using primary and secondary sources for Australian history. Retrieved , from Learning Designs Web site:
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