EDUC 58090 Archival Research Basics with the National Archives, Spring '12

Monday, January 30, 2012

EDUC 58090 Archival Research Basics with the National Archives, Spring '12
Monday, January 30, 2012 - Monday, May 14, 2012

Distance Education
1 credit /Graded A-F
Credit through Alaska Pacific University

Did you ever need a primary source document to support a lesson plan or paper and were not able to find just what you need online?  Have you or your students ever struggled to find the perfect topic or direction for research?  Have you ever wondered how Ken Burns gets those perfect documents to put in his videos? 

This course will help answer those questions and more and consists of 15 online lessons using online primary sources of the National Archives.  You will also be required to conduct a single visit to a university, local, city, county, state, or National Archives near your home in order to handle and analyze a few original documents.

In this class you will learn the principles of archival primary source research.  Course topics include understanding the functions and holdings of the US National Archives  (NARA), understanding and using the online catalogs, reading online and offline “finding aids,” analyzing documents, narrowing your research topic based on available secondary & primary sources, and writing effective citations.  Many of the materials for this class can be transferred directly to your Junior High or High School classroom course instruction.

This course will run from January 30 to May 14, 2012.  There will be weekly assignments due each Monday of the course, including a final 5 page “process” paper describing your research experience and conclusions [with bibliography] due on May 14.




week of 1/30/2012



week of 2/6/2012


History and Mission of the National Archives

week of 2/13/2012


 Finding ready-made curriculum on National Archives web pages

week of 2/20/2012


Understanding the organization system used by the National Archives

Week of 2/27/2012


Searching for primary source documents and microfilm on the National Archives’ website

Week of 3/5/2012


Using the National Archives Digital Vaults web site for student-created activities

Week of 3/12/2012


Using the National Archives’ DocsTeach tool for classroom activities and assessments.

Week of 3/19/2012


Fun ways to teach the research process

Week of 3/26/2012


Using National Archives exhibits to help define a research topic with your students

Week of 4/2/2012


Helping your students keep track of where they are in the research process

Week of 4/9/2011


Finding the topic that is most interesting to you and/or your students and finding relevant documents

Week of 4/16/2012


Transcribing handwritten documents for students with special needs

Week of 4/23/2012


Analyzing primary sources using tools, games, and other fun methods

Week of 4/30/2012


The easy way to write effective citations

Week of 5/14/2012


Review: Writing a process paper and annotated citations

Introductory Lessons

Fifteen lessons are to be completed online, at the rate of one per week.  Each lesson will require a minimum of one hour to complete.  Each lesson includes either a Power Point presentation, written text, audio or video material for that specific lesson and a short assignment using related records.

Each student must keep a journal of his/her experiences while practicing various archival searches.  The journal may be in the form of written, audio, video, Power Point, social media, or whatever the student prefers.  The journal must be made available to the instructor by web link or must be emailed to the instructor weekly on the last day of the week.


Final Paper

  1. The student will write about the process he/she went through to obtain the records for a  topic chosen in coordination with the instructor. 
  2. A complete annotated bibliography of sources found (cited correctly) must also be completed for the topic chosen.
Three (3) photocopies of primary source documents found either at or from a visit to a local library or archival facility must be included.  Original documents that are difficult to read should be transcribed into typewritten form as well.


Contact Information

  • Phone: 907-364-3809

Payment Instructions

  • The registration fee is $50.
    The registration fee is fully refundable upon successful completion of the course.
    One 500-level professional development credit is included in the registration fee. 

    You may pay by:
    • Visa
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
    • Discover
    • PayPal
    • Purchase Order