A St. Mary’s College of Maryland history class recently completed a semester-long website project for the Southern Maryland Tourism Commission. The website applies primary and secondary source material to explain the War of 1812 and its impact on Southern Maryland, as well as advertise commemorative events in the region from 2012-2015.
“The Early American Republic” history class, with technical help from Kaitlin Hines ’10, St. Mary’s College’s assistant director of web services and creative media, created the website from scratch. The students spent the first half of the semester researching and writing specific topics, then spent the second half of the semester working in groups to coordinate the topics into a coherent website: www.destinationsouthernmaryland.com/c/398/the-war-of-1812-home.
Kenneth Cohen, the professor of the class, decided to incorporate this project into the class curriculum after working with the Southern Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, a group of local researchers and tourism professionals who are organizing commemorative programs in the region. “I knew I was teaching a course on the period surrounding the War, and also knew that many areas of Maryland had their own websites, but Southern Maryland did not,” said Cohen, who structures projects like this one for all his upper-level classes.
“I think class research projects for public organizations are a good way to introduce students to primary source research, while also making clear to students that historical research can and should be applied to communities beyond the classroom,” adds Cohen.