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Course Description

Course Syllabus

Life Stories

Field Work

2007 Team



Big Creek People in Action
     The Amazing Marsha


*This is a sampling from previous year's course work*

SEM 1084: View Appalachia through Service Learning
Instructors: Jeri Suarez: and Alison Ridley:
Short Term 2007 

Required Texts:
Dyer, Joyce, ed. Bloodroot:Reflections on Place by Appalachian Women Writers.
Hickam, Homer. October Sky.                 

Course Descriptions: This course will begin in the classroom with an exploration of the life, culture, literature, and music of Appalachia.  We will read a variety of works that will introduce students to the way of life in this region.  Guest lecturers will present historical, political, economic, and social perspectives that will help prepare students for the fieldwork component of the course which will take place in War, West Virginia (January 10-17).  The service learning projects will include collecting oral histories from community members through our local sponsor, Big Creek People in Action, and visiting the local high school to discuss college life.  Students will keep a literary and a personal journal and will prepare a final project.  Course fee: $500 per student (does not include the cost of books). 

Course Objectives:

  1. Introduce students to the life, culture, literature and music of the people of Appalachia.
  2. Teach students how to keep effective response journals.
  3. Provide an experiential opportunity for students to learn about the people of Appalachia.

Course Components:

            Attendance and participation (including presentations on Bloodroot)
            Journals and one page response to October Sky
            Final projects                                                                                                  

Attendance and Participation: Attendance and participation are required. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions and abide by the behavioral contract and other guidelines for the experiential component of the course (which will be discussed in depth during the first week of class).

Journals: Students are expected to keep a personal journal while we are in War, West Virginia and a literary journal while we are on campus. The personal journal should document our field-work experience on a daily basis, including any information that will help students put together their final projects upon returning to campus. These journals should also reflect studentsí observations of and reactions to what they experience in War, and how these observations and reactions relate to what we learned in class through readings and guest lectures.  

Each day we are on campus, students will be assigned readings from Bloodroot. The literary journal will be a response journal to each of the assigned readings. Everyone is responsible for keeping a one-page journal entry for each of the readings, but specific students will be assigned to lead the discussion for the readings each day.

Over the Winter break, students were expected to read October Sky and return to campus with a one-page, typed response paper about the book. We will discuss the book and review the papers on the first day of class.

Service Learning Projects: While in War, West Virginia, students will develop a service-learning project that they will be required to present to the rest of the class and the broader campus community upon returning to Hollins. We will discuss this component of the course in depth during the first week of the class. Projects will be tailored to studentsí individual interests and talents.

Course Organization (subject to change):

January 3:                     Introduction and discussion of October Sky.     Presentation by guest lecturer April Cheek (discussion of the Carroll County Shootout of 1912 and Appalachian stereotypes).

January 4:                     Discussion of Bloodroot (16-70) and presentation by guest lecturer Professor LeeRay Costa (on collecting oral histories).

January 5:                     Discussion of Bloodroot (71-139). Begin discussion of fieldwork and final projects.

January 8:                     Discussion of Bloodroot (140-232). Presentation by guest lecturer Professor Tom Edwards on the economy of Appalachia. Guest lecture and performance by Curley Ennis on bluegrass music. Further discussion of field work and final projects.

January 9:                     Discussion of Bloodroot (233-297). Finalize plans for field work and final projects.

January 10-17:             Fieldwork in War, West Virginia. We will depart midmorning on the 10th.

January 17-19:             Students work independently on their class projects.

January 22-23:             Presentation of class projects.

January 26:                   Journals and final projects due (turn in to Professor Ridley, Main #5 by 5pm).

January 29:                   Presentation at the Short Term Extravaganza (6:30-8:30 p.m. in Ballator Gallery).

Grade Distribution:   

Pass: A student will pass the course if she: 1) Hands in all required work. 2) Attends every class/activity. 3) Abides by the behavioral contract and fieldwork expectations.

Fail: A student will fail the course if any one of the following occurs: 1) Any violation of the behavioral contract or the fieldwork expectations. 2) Any absence from class or a required activity. 3) Failure to turn in all the required written work.


This site was last updated 06/06/07