Assignment 2.2: Learning History on the Web

Weight: 20% of final grade
Due Date: Friday 19 February
The web presents a gold mine of information at the touch of a button. Much of this material seems more enticing than books because websites can easily incorporate flashy graphics and captivating audio-visual materials. But just like mining for gold, students need to be able to sift through the rubble and learn to differentiate between pyrite (fool’s gold) and the real thing when
using the web for research. This is not always an easy task.
Not only is there so much information on the web but, since anyone can put up a website, how do we know which sites we can trust to give us reliable and accurate information and which ones do not? Furthermore, unlike books we don’t always know who (group or individual) published the information. What is the level of analysis or interpretation? Is it a mother lode of information and
analysis, or does the website only give us a couple of nuggets of information? Finally, how current is the website? Has it been abandoned or is it still actively mining the subject for new information or interpretations? These are only some of the questions we will ask you to consider in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of doing history on the web through an examination of three (3) different websites related to the same topic in Canadian military history.


The goal of this assignment is for you
a. to develop a critical approach to historical documents available on the web and evaluate them objectively
b. to demonstrate your academic knowledge of the subject
c. to express ideas clearly in writing


Write a 4-5 page (1000-1250 word) essay of in which you respond to the following questions using the Internet sites listed on the next page:
Do the selected Internet sites adequately assess the following issues regarding Canada’s role in the Boer War:
1) Why Canada got involved and the controversy over sending troops?
2) Canada’s military contribution?
3) The longer impacts of the war on Canada and its military?
Identify and evaluate the selected sites using the evaluation form provided. Go to the Module 2 Assignments page for a copy that you can download. Please attach one evaluation form for each of the three (3) websites (for a total of 3 evaluation sheets) to your essay as Appendix A, B, and C

Ensure that you
a. briefly describe the sites you have evaluated
b. briefly state and justify your overall assessment of each site
c. explain whether or not these sites adequately explore the selected topic
d. present your conclusions about the individual sites and the value of using the Internet to conduct historical research
While many website evaluation forms exist, the one provided is designed to assess the quality of the historiographic content of the selected site. That is why you have not been asked to comment on the site’s form or navigation features.

Post your completed paper to the Discussion Forum for Assignment 2.1. Then read one other persons paper and comment on it.

Though your essay must address all of the issues mentioned above, it should not adopt the format of the question. Please make sure that you write in proper essay style (paragraphs) and that your essay has an introduction (with a thesis or focus statement), supporting body paragraphs and a conclusion. Also, for clarity, please be sure to make reference to the names or authors of the specific sites rather than “website 1,” “website 2,” etc.

Selected Sites

Canada & The South African War, 1899-1902
The Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum – Military History: The Boer War
CBC Canada: A People’s History – Seeking an Identity

Website Evaluation Form