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History 210 - California History - Erik Altenbernd, PhD

Course:California History
Professor:Erik Altenbernd, PhD
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 5 Week


Dear Student,

Welcome to History 210, a survey of California history from the Precolumbian Era to the present day.

This course is a 100% online course and, thus, does not include direct, in-class instruction or face-to-face meetings between me, you, or the other students in the course. All the assignments for this course (quizzes, discussions, exams, and essays) will be completed and/or submitted entirely online. This means that you can complete the work for this class anywhere and anytime. However, it also means you will need regular, uninterrupted access to the internet to successfully complete the class.

Although we will not meet regularly week-to-week for this course, I will be available on a regular basis to answer your questions. I want you and everyone enrolled in this course to succeed, so please feel free to contact me whenever necessary. I will be contacting you on a regular basis through course announcements and on the course message boards. I hope these regular channels of communication will help you feel as though you are not alone in this class—that I am available to you and that you are one of many others enrolled online. Hopefully, we’ll all work as a team as we learn about modern US history.  

To succeed in this course, you will need to check Canvas on a regular basis for course assignments and information. I recommend you check the “Announcements” section of Canvas no less two or more times per week. In addition to the course Announcements, I also recommend you familiarize yourself with the “Syllabus,” “Modules,” and "Assignments" sections of the course during the first two weeks of the semester. Each of these sections contain important course information, including the course schedule, readings, and assignment due dates.

Again, if you have any questions about any of these matters, feel free to reach out to me via email or a message on Canvas.

Course Description

This class is a specialized survey course focusing on the history of California. Over the course of the semester, we’ll examine California temporally but also from a variety of spatial and thematic contexts. In addition to examining the development of California into the most populous state of the United States of America, we’ll also assess California history on a local level—for instance, we’ll examine, different aspects of the history of Los Angeles County, including the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys. Additionally, we’ll examine California from a regional level, from that of the western United States to the wider Pacific Rim or Pacific World. 

Like a standard US history survey course, this course will also examine the social, cultural, political, and economic history of California over a wide chronological time frame that spans the Precolumbian Period and early twenty-first century. Major themes of the course include conquest, migration and immigration, agriculture, mineral resource extraction, industrialization, urbanization and suburbanization, technology and science, social and individual improvement, and the California Dream. Major topics in this class include:

  • the diverse geography of the nation-state of California;
  • Native California before the arrival of Europeans;
  • Spanish colonization and Alta California after Mexican independence;
  • mass migration to California and genocide against Native Californians during and after the Gold Rush;
  • railroads and the development of commercial agriculture during the Gilded Age;
  • Progressivism and reform during the early decades of the twentieth century;
  • Dust Bowl migration, Mexican Repatriation, and Japanese American Internment during the 1930s and 1940s;
  • socio-economic transformation of California during World War II and the Cold War;
  • California and the cultural politics of the 1960s and 1970s;
  • California and the Rise of the New Right;
  • rise of Hollywood and the tech industry;
  • rise of San Francisco and Los Angeles as major urban centers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

What to Expect in this Course

This course includes semi-weekly objective (i.e. multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-the-blank) quizzes. The aim of the quizzes is content acquisition---the Who? What? Where? and When?---of a particular period of US history. All quiz questions are drawn from the textbook, lecture PowerPoints, and/or assigned films. 

The course also includes semi-weekly writing assignments in the form of discussion assignments that vary in topic and length (300 to 600 words). The discussion assignments build on the quizzes but focus less on content-acquisition and more on historical analysis, which is to say, the Why? of history---why a historical event occurred the way it did or why it remains significant today.  

Finally, the course also includes two essay assignments: a midterm essay exam (approximately three to four pages double spaced) and a final essay (approximately five pages double spaced).

Types of Assessments

Objective (i.e. true/false, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank) Quizzes Online Discussions Midterm Essay Final Essay

Textbook Information

The course textbooks are required and essential for success in this course. Both textbooks are also on reserve at the Valencia campus library.

Additionally, watching and analyzing feature and documentary films is also required. Watching the assigned films may add to the overall cost of the class in addition to the required textbooks.

Other Relevant Course Information


Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/07/2021 Sub#: 771