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Timing: For formal marking, please submit each of the below items in a single combined document uploaded via the SMSTC portal for this module by the semester 2 assessment deadline of 12 April 2024. To pace yourself and allow opportunities for feedback, there are somewhat more flexible interim dates for each component below.


0: Goals (by end of week 2)

Share in an email to the instructors some learning goals you have for the semester. This will help as a starting point for your self-evaluation at the end.

1: Review (by start of week 5)

Write a MathSciNet/zbMATH-style review of a chosen article or chapter from weeks 2-4 of the course, discussing the article/chapter's main claims and evidence, examining its structure and strengths, and briefly contextualizing it within relevant historiography. These reviews are evaluative, meaning you do not just restate the author’s claims but use your (emerging) perspective on the field to assess its significance for historians of mathematics.

These reviews are similar to a paper's abstract in trying to summarize the main claims and approach of the paper, but differ from the abstract because they offer your evaluation as a reader, including greater attention to how to place the reading in context and your own assessment of how the author accomplishes their goals (not just 'successful or unsuccessful' but a concise analysis of what makes the argument work – or where it doesn't). The length should be one-two long paragraphs or two-three medium-length paragraphs, and you should include a full citation and MSC-2020 classification for the reviewed work. You may include references to 1-2 other works for context, but these are not always needed.

Some recommended examples of reviews by Michael of historical works are: MR3930843, MR3966737, MR3885970, MR3889073, Zbl 1429.01010, Zbl 1404.01026. There are also existing reviews in the databases for most of the course readings; you can decide whether these are helpful to consult before, during, or after your write-up (or not at all), and not all of them are especially high-quality reviews (though some certainly are).

Don't worry about getting this assignment perfectly; the idea is that you can build on the feedback from this one, and you can (if you choose) also revise the version that goes into your final submission at the end of the course. Our focus at this stage is getting you to start writing and thinking analytically about course materials, and giving you a chance for feedback.

2: Primary source analysis (by start of week 6)

Locate an excerpt of any historical source discussed in one of the readings for the course (probably from one of the earlier weeks but we can point you in other directions if you don't see something especially exciting among those). Write an analysis of 500-1000 words discussing the source's historical contexts, key features, and significance, and demonstrating an interpretation of a specific mathematical passage. We recommend choosing a non-English source if you can read another language, in which case please also include your own translation of a short section of the source. (You may consult published translations, but there is a lot of value to trying to translate it for yourself first!)

3: Annotated bibliography (by start of week 8)

Choose a topic, theme, or question from the course readings and discussions that you would like to investigate further. Submit an annotated bibliography with at least 10 items (at least 4 from among course readings and at least 4 not assigned in the course, but could be taken from the bibliographies of assigned readings). You should give a full citation for each item along with a brief note identifying how the source speaks to your chosen topic. You are not expected to read each source in detail; the exercise is about how to gather relevant information on a historical question, including information you have not yet analyzed.

4: Analytical essay (first draft by start of week 10)

Using your bibliography as a starting point, write an essay of 1500-2000 words on your chosen topic, theme, or question. You are strongly encouraged to share a draft with the instructors before the end of the course, and you are also encouraged to share drafts and feedback among others completing the assessment. The final revised version is due at the formal submission deadline.

5: Self-evaluation (with final submission)

Review your goals, work, learning, and feedback for the semester in this module and propose and justify a mark for yourself.

smstc-hm/assessment.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/07 11:22 by mjb