short history paper diary entries 1



The following is an exercise in historical role play. You are a lieutenant in either the French Lafayette Escadrille or the American Flying Service in the First World War–make it clear which entity you represent. You have completed your training to become a fighter pilot and have reported to your squadron. Your commanding officer has ordered you to keep a journal of your experiences. Pretend you are writing over a six-week period–that means you will have 6 entries on one essay. Separate each entry by date. The reason for six entries is that the average lifespan of a pilot in the First World War was six weeks. In each of the first five entries, describe the life of a First World War fighter pilot. Describe your daily life and discuss your successes and your fears. What kind of plane do you fly? What kind of weapons do you use? How does it feel to be in the air? What’s combat like? The more details, the better. Be sure to mention the lives of your fellow squadron members. Remember to stay in character–authenticity counts, as does attention to factual detail. Importantly: In your final, sixth entry, your squadron commander (give him a name and rank) must write a letter to your family describing how your character–meaning you, the pilot–died in combat. This means your character must die in order for you to get any credit at all for this assignment.


1) Special Discussion Board Questions should be answered in essay form, providing the type of depth and detail expected in a research paper. You should take the time to explain complicated concepts in a thorough and thoughtful manner. Remember, you need to demonstrate an understanding of events–not only in terms of what happened but also why it happened and what effect it had on society. Remember to answer each part of your question as well.

2) Stay on target—answer the questions as fully as possible and don’t wander off the subject—doing so will hurt your grade. You are not required to respond to any other person’s post.

3) To answer each Special Discussion Question you are required to use resources other than your textbook and you are required to provide a list of those sources at the end of your post. This means you may need to take a trip to your local library or conduct an online search or two before you have the information necessary for you to compose your posting. DO NOT use any of the following as sources: your textbook, films or television programs (including documentaries and filmed courses), lectures, blogs, Twitter posts, or Facebook pages. I take off points if you do.

4) Be sure to cite your sources at the end of your posting. DO NOT use endnotes, footnotes, or any other form of source citation within the body of your post. I take off 50% of your grade if you do. Also, do not use phrases such as “According to Jones,…” because I count those as a form of in-text citation and grade accordingly.

5) DO NOT use quotes (and like all the other DO NOTS, I take off points for doing). I want to read your writing, not someone else’s. Read your sources and then write your essay in your own words.

6) Express yourself clearly. Use good grammar. Write in complete sentences. Do not use any of those abbreviations so commonly used on blogs and text messages. I suggest you compose your contribution on a word processing program with a spell-checker. Then cut and paste–or type it in. This may help you get out everything you want to say before you hit “submit.” Be sure to use at least 12 point type for your response so it can be read. And, no, you cannot edit your contributions after they are posted.

7) Posts should run 1,000 – 1,500 words in length–some will run more and some will run less. The rule of thumb here is to answer all parts of the question thoroughly and in detail (and you’ll be surprised how fast your essay grows as you write it, once you’ve done your research).

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