HIS 135
History of the Contemporary World
Professor Charles Evans

Nassau in the Bahamas
Nassau in the Bahamas; the modern world!

ps.  I am always looking for photographs, images, slides, artifacts, etc. that I can use in my courses.  If you have anything that you think might be of use or interesting to me, please let me know.  I will credit all images/materials used in the course.

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Contact information
Professor Evans email cevans@nvcc.edu
Professor Evans phone 703.948.7701
Professor Evans home page


ELI telephone 703.323.3347 (1.888.435.6822)
ELI fax 703.323.3392

This is the HIS 135 course syllabus (home page). On this page, you will find important information about the course and the links to the course assignment schedules.

Course Policies and Procedures

  • Check your specific Critical Course Deadlines. These dates can be found on the ELI home page, and they are also indicated on your course schedule. (See the links below.) Please make a note of these important dates.
    • You must withdraw before the Last Refund Date to receive a refund.
    • In unit 1, you must submit your introduction paragraph by your First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively deleted from the course without a refund.
    • Your Last Withdrawal Date is the last date on which you can withdraw yourself from the course without grade penalty.
    • Finally, remember, you must complete all course assignments by your official course End Date.
  • Please note that your enrollment in this course is subject to the general ELI policies and procedures.  Please be sure to review these procedural matters now.
  • For an Incomplete grade in the course, a student must earn 500 points, pass the midterm exam and explain the extenuating circumstances for the incomplete request. 
  • Take appropriate action now if you will not be able to take your exams at a NVCC campus testing center. You will need to set up proctored examinations. You may also use ProctorU to take your exams on your home computer. See the information about ProctorU under exams on Blackboard.

Required books

The course required books are:

  • Robert J. McMahon, The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-19-280178-4)
  • Raymond F. Betts, Decolonization, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2004, ISBN 978-0-415-31821-1).

These are inexpensive books and each focuses on a specific historical process of the post 1945 era. (See my comments on the books.) Each is really well done.

In unit 12, I have an optional assignment based on the book by Lawrence Scott Sheets, 8 Pieces of Empire (Crown Publishers, ISBN 978-0-307-39582-5; any edition is acceptable).

Please check the ELI bookstore website for information on purchasing/renting your textbooks (new or used). If you wish to purchase your books in person, then you will have to travel to the Alexandria bookstore.

If you are wondering whether you must buy the textbooks, then please watch this short video.

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General course purpose

Surveys the history and culture of the contemporary world since 1945. Students will learn about some of the important political, economic, social, intellectual, cultural and religious changes that have shaped the development of recent world civilization.

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Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to::

  1. Establish a chronology of historical events in the world since 1945.
  2. Explain the changing geopolitical structures of world civilization since 1945.
  3. Define the importance of key individuals and developments in the world since 1945.
  4. Identify the social, economic and political forces at work in the evolution of the contemporary world.
  5. Recognize and describe the significance of some of the cultural achievements in the contemporary world since 1945.
  6. Analyze complex historical sources and materials and reach conclusions based on interpretations of those materials.
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Course prerequisites

Although there are no formal prerequisites for this course, please consider:

  • It is expected that students possess college-level reading and writing skills.
  • You should also have relatively good technology and web-use skills.  Please check ELI's SmarterMeasure to see if you are ready for distance learning. You can also check out our short quiz, Is A Web Course for Me?
  • I would recommend that you allot at least three hours a week of study time for this course.
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Course grading

Course grades are based on the following point scale:

  • 1,000-900:  A
  •    899-800:  B
  •    799-700:  C
  •    699-600:  D
  •    599-000:  F

Make sure that you check the very IMPORTANT Explanation of Assignments and Grading, which has information about grading in the course. There are Special Course Grading Requirements that you must meet to successfully pass the course.

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Plagiarism, Cheating and Student Conduct

Please make sure that you read the course policy on plagiarism and cheating. You are expected to abide by the student conduct provisions of the college's student handbook, and it is expected that you will be courteous in all conversations and assignments in this course.

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Contacting Your Instructor

Please contact me (Professor Charles Evans, professor and assistant dean of history at the Loudoun campus) at cevans@nvcc.edu.

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Submitting Assignments

You must submit all of your assignments and extra credit through Blackboard. See the Submitting Assignments in Your ELI History Course instructions.  (No more than one item per calendar day will be accepted.) Feedback on your work will be posted to the Blackboard gradebook, usually within 24-48 hours. You should follow the same directions if you are resubmitting an assignment.

When you have any questions about the course or your assignments or when you want to send a draft of an assignment for informal feedback, please contact your instructor by email using your student email account.

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Using Blackboard

Blackboard is used to support the course. Please review the information on Using Blackboard for instructions on assignment submission, online discussions, exams and your gradebook.

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Extra Credit

  • There are extra credit options available in each unit of the course: (1) You may submit one item of extra credit in each unit of the course; (2) you may not submit extra credit work from a unit once that unit has been completed; (3) you may not submit extra credit work if you are not up- to-date on the course required assignments; (4) you may not submit extra credit work on the same calendar day that you submit an assignment.
  • You can also earn extra credit at any time by (a) finding a typo, spelling error or broken link (if possible find a replacement link) or (b) finding any website or web materials that are relevant to this course.  Please email that information (and the URL of the relevant course page) directly to your instructor. This is not subject to the "one assignment submitted per day" course rule.
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Late Work

There are specific assignment deadlines in this course, and these are listed on the course schedule. You may submit any of the course required or optional assignments, or the exams, late, but the maximum point value will then be reduced by one-half.

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Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodation is encouraged to contact a counselor for disability services. Contact information can be found online on the college web page.  For additional information, please contact an ELI counselor at elicounselors@nvcc.edu or 703.323.2425. If you have a MoA, then it must be presented to your instructor during unit 1 of the course so that any accommodations can be worked out. All information is kept confidential.

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Links to Course Assignment Schedules

For fall 2017, these are the different schedule versions available:

For summer 2017, these are two sessions of the course:

For spring 2017, these are the different schedule versions available:

Each week of your schedule will list the course units and assignments that you are required to complete that week. Each course unit will list what you are required to read and submit for that unit. Each unit will also usually have some extra material that you may look at and some possible extra credit work that you can complete. Please make sure that you check out all the linked information for each course unit.

Please make sure that you double-check your official course registration to verify the specific section of the course that you signed up for.

You are expected to make regular and steady course progress by completing your assignments and exams on time.  Please check your Blackboard gradebook for your grades and feedback.  You can always finish faster than your course schedule. Once you begin this course, it is your responsibility to withdraw.  If you do not withdraw and if you do not finish your course assignments, then you will receive a an "F."

Be sure to check out the list of available course aids.

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Writing in the course

Proper grammar, spelling and style are an inherent part of each assignment in this course, and please check Charlie's History Writing Center for more information about specific writing style expectations. (You can also watch the short YouTube video about the center.)

All materials on this site are copyright © 2009-17, C. T. Evans.
For information contact cevans@nvcc.edu.
See my college and history projects home pages.