Syllabus for HIS-301



African History and Culture is designed to provide you with a survey of the history and culture of the African continent. Obviously, the vast history of Africa cannot be studied in depth in one semester; perhaps this cannot even be accomplished in a lifetime. However, here you will find a progressive course of study that, if followed, will yield a developmental panorama of the geography and climate of the continent, an evolutionary overview of indigenous peoples and social structures, and a narrative account of the external nations and peoples who participated in or had an impact on the continent's development.


After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the development of the African continent from its earliest manifestations to the present.
  2. Explain human evolution and processes of social and economic development, including early tool manufacturing, linguistic developments, developments in agriculture, and sociocultural responses to climatic changes.
  3. Identify and describe early civilizations such as those of the Nile Valley, sub-Saharan Africa, and the inland Niger delta.
  4. Identify external groups who came into the continent during and after the fifteenth century and trace the development and aftermath of the Atlantic Slave Trade.
  5. Describe the European establishment of permanent settlements in South Africa and the development of apartheid; identify causes and outcomes of African resistance to European settlement and instances of rebellion.
  6. Identify the importance of European imperialism and its aftermath to the African continent.
  7. Explain the impact of World War I and World War II on the continent as well as African independence and democracy movements.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

ISBN-13: 978-0679738695

ISBN-13: 978-1-319-02751-3


African History and Culture is a three-credit online course, consisting of six modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to read texts as assigned, participate in five graded online discussion forums, complete six written assignments, and take two proctored online examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to posting an introduction to the class in Module 1, you are required to participate in five graded online discussions, each focusing on a different subject.


Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

African History and Culture has six written assignments. Pay attention each set of directions; sometimes you must answer all questions and at other times you may choose from the questions provided. Many students find it helpful to read over the activity questions for a module before beginning the reading for that module.


You are required to take two proctored, online examinations: a midterm and a final. See the Course Calendar for the official dates of your midterm and final exam weeks.

You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.


Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Midterm Examination

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It will cover material in Modules 1 through 3. It is two hours long and consists of essay questions.

Final Examination

The final is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It will cover material in Modules 4 through 6. It is two hours long and  consists of essay questions.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Edison State University. All rights reserved.