Teaching and Learning Iowa History Series

The Iowa State Teaching and Learning Iowa History Series (TALIH) represents a unique way for community members, teachers, and university students to join in the same learning experience with similar goals and curiosities.

The focus of this course is to better understand the roots of anti-Black racism in Iowa and Iowans’ struggles for racial justice in the 19th, 20th, and even 21st centuries.

Course and learner objectives

  • To increase people’s knowledge about themes in Iowa history related to oppression (e.g., racism, Manifest Destiny) and struggles for justice (e.g., civil rights, sovereignty);
  • To engage people in analyzing different strategies for struggling against systemic oppression;
  • To connect people with museums and other statewide resources to strengthen a professional development network; and
  • To prepare teachers in the state to engage in social studies best practices to teach K-12 students about local history related to oppression and struggles for justice.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Analyze and evaluate the contributions of Black Iowans in shaping Iowa’s history and culture;
  • Analyze individual and institutional forms of discrimination in Iowa based on race;
  • Analyze the perspectives of groups and individuals affected by discrimination;
  • Analyze how cultural diversity and cooperation among social groups affect Iowa; and
  • Develop K-12 curriculum that addresses the above content using current best practices methods and state archival resources.

Course schedule

The course is taught 100% online through Canvas for Teachers platform from June 1 to 30. Students will read text related to the content, listen to podcast interviews with local experts and scholars, examine primary sources, watch video documentaries, and interact with other students via discussion forums. Multiple-choice exams will assess students’ knowledge of this content. There are strongly suggested deadlines, but students are free to work at their own pace within those dates.

The students taking the class for credit, will be expected to attend one face-to-face workshop on June 21. All the other students are also invited. The workshop includes keynote talks and breakout sessions related to the content as well as a tour of related historical archives. Information about workshop time and location will be available soon.

Registration options

Summer 2019 – June 1 -30

Participants have three different options to take this course:

Option 1: Free class for educators and community members curious about stories from Iowa’s past. You can see materials, but credits are not given even if you submit all the assignments. Enroll in Canvas for Teachers to access the class.

Option 2 (CI 593L): K-12 teachers and other educators looking for Licensure Renewal (LR) credits. This course has been approved by the Iowa Department of Education. Participants can register for 1 LR credit= $85, 2 LR credits= $170, or 3 LR credits= $255. Space for LR course credit is limited to 15 students and registration is online. Participants taking the course for university or licensure renewal credits must also enroll in Canvas for Teachers.

Option 3 (CI 422X/522X): Preservice and in-service teachers interested in getting ISU graduate level credits (a total of 3 credits – ISU tuition applies). Course registration for current ISU students is through Accessplus – Course Code=C I 422x (ugrad) and 522x (grad). Participants taking the course for university or licensure renewal credits must also enroll in Canvas for Teachers.

Non-ISU students: Please contact us via email for additional information. 


Katy Swalwell is an associate professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University with expertise in social studies education. Her research interests are:

  • Improving inquiry-based social studies teaching and learning, particularly at the elementary level
  • Preparing future teachers to engage in justice-oriented social studies instruction and curriculum development
  • Developing anti-oppressive local history resources for K-12 teachers
  • Raising the critical consciousness of educators through professional development
  • Creating collaborative learning spaces that link the university with external communities
  • Problematizing the education of affluent, white students at “good” schools and supporting teachers’ efforts to engage them in social justice education