US History Connects


Course Overview

The purpose of U.S. History Connects is to give Virginia teachers additional knowledge and resources on U.S. history, with an emphasis on 20th century, that can be incorporated into their U.S. History curriculum. U.S. History Connects supports the Virginia Standards of Learning for teaching U.S. History.

This online course is open to all Virginia teachers as a free recertification course. A recommended 45 recertification points for Virginia teacher certificate renewal will be awarded at the end of the course. Please consult the individual responsible for awarding recertification points in your school division to determine if the recommended points will be accepted. If that person has questions about the course, he or she may call Mollie Rosenburg at (800) 609-2680 or send an e-mail to

U.S. History Connects is a self-paced course for Virginia teachers taught by Dr. Carolyn J. Lawes, Professor of History at Old Dominion University. The course is delivered over the internet at this web site. No classroom attendance is required. Registration information, course content, the discussion board, quizzes, and communication with students will be on this web site at

All teachers taking U.S. History Connects must register at this web site ,and you will be e-mailed a confirmation with your login name and password.


There are five parts to the course, and each part will take approximately five hours to complete, including study time, and not including the discussion and quiz. You may read through the course material at your convenience, but each week on Monday, the discussion board for the corresponding Part will be opened and the quiz for each corresponding part will be activated on Friday of that week.. The schedule for the class is as follows:

  • Week of --Part I: Why Study U.S. History?
  • Week of --Part II: What Is an American?
  • Week of --Part III: The Evolution of Revolution
  • Week of --Part IV: Individualism and Community
  • Week of --Part V: The U.S. and the World
  • Week of --Catch-up Time
  • - --Class Ends (Website closed at 5:00pm)

Summary of the Parts

The following is a summary of the five parts of U.S. History Connects:

Part I: Why Study U.S. History?
Introduces U.S. History and the way historians (and a few non-historians) think about the past. Considers the relationship between history and the development of American society by drawing on examples from colonization, nationhood, industrialization and expansion, world war, and, especially the late 20th century and America's role in the world. Stresses the critical role of past experience in shaping present and future options and choices.

Part II: What Is An American?
Analyzes how and why the definition and meaning of "American" has changed over time, with particular emphasis on the gradual broadening of the definition of who is an American and what being an American meant (and means). Focuses on the experiences of both major and minor groups in America, using case studies as a method for understanding those experiences. Compares some American myths to the reality.

Part III: The Evolution of Revolution
Examines some of the more significant economic, political, and social evolutions in the history of the United States, from colonization to the present, that resulted in revolutionary changes. Pays particular attention to the rise of American nationalism and the development of an American economic and political empire in the 20th century.

Part IV: Individualism and Community
Examines the changing understanding of the relationship between the rights and obligations of Americans as individuals and as members of political, social, and religious communities. Examines how and why the relationship between the individual and the federal government changed from the Great Depression to the present.

Part V: The U.S. and The World
Focuses on America's rise to global prominence from the late 19th century to the present, with particular emphasis on the post-World War II era. Analyzes how Americans have viewed their role in the world and how other countries sometimes viewed America, and why. Focuses on how America's newfound prominence on the world stage affected developments at home, and vice-versa.

Requirements and Expectations for the Course

Participants will be expected to read each section and complete the assigned activities. In addition, students will participate on the discussion board and take the quiz at the end of each of the five parts. Each part includes content, photographs, video segments, questions, reflections, resource links, quizzes, and assignments. Each part takes approximately five hours to complete, not including the discussion forum and quizzes, so that the total time expected for completion is about 30 hours.

By participating in this course, teachers will learn more about 20th century U.S. history and find many ideas, resources, and links that will assist them in the classroom. It is hoped that this knowledge will be taken into the classroom to support the Standards of Learning for Virginia.

Online Course for Virginia Teachers in Partnership with Virginia Department of Education,
Prince William County Public Schools, and Old Dominion University
Copyright 2005 Prince William County Public Schools. All rights reserved.