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Content section: 

Welcome to the Oral History Classroom Education Resources.

The first section, Oral History Interviewing, contains recommendations for how to build a class in which the students conduct interviews. For education during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is also information on how to record interviews using Zoom.

The General Resources section has information to help you to use existing oral histories in the classroom, with a guide for how to use our advanced search tool to find content in our oral history collection, as well as examples of different types of assignments students could do using our oral histories.

Selma Dritz at chalkboardThe final section is a grade 11 curriculum module for teaching the history of epidemics in US history. Although there is a brief primer on the broad patterns of epidemics in US history, there is a strong focus on the primary sources of our collection of interviews about the early years of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. This module makes extensive use of our seven-episode First Response podcast, which provides an accessible history of the epidemic using the interviews from our collection. Use the podcast to help students identify themes in the interviews that will help them think about their assignments. There is suggested content for assignments in four topic areas: women and gender in the epidemic; researchers hunting for an unknown disease in different ways; public health and early treatments for an unknown disease; and the struggle for gay rights in the context of the epidemic. Each of these topics was touched on in the podcast, but there is plenty of room for students to take them further in their assignments. However, it should be a requirement that they not merely duplicate the information that is in the podcast. Finally, there is a page of additional online primary sources for the students to consult. The actual nature of the assignments depends on your class level. We had in mind a grade 11 class of motivated students.

Photo is of Selma Dritz, MD (1982), early AIDS researcher, epidemiologist, and San Francisco public health official, from the Sally Hughes AIDS research collection at UCSF, on Calisphere. Photo by Jerry Telfer, San Francisco Chronicle. 

Oral History Interviewing

How to Build a Class Around Oral History

Recording Oral History Using Zoom

General Resources

How to use our advanced search tool to find material from among our 4,000+ interviews!

HIV / AIDS Curriculum Resources

Introduction to Epidemics in History Module

The AIDS Archive Lesson Plan: Oral History as Evidence

Historical HIV/AIDS General Resources

HIV-AIDS Assignments Grade 11

This document contains the following assignments:

  • Sample assignment to work on together as a class
  • Women on the Front Lines: Gender, Identity, and Values
  • Virus Hunters: The Search for HIV
  • The Early Search for Treatments
  • Pride and Prejudice: Gay Rights vs. Collective Responsibilities in the Shadow of AIDS

See also an example of the Virus Hunters assignment completed by a high school student (rising sophomore). This project took approximately 20 hours: Virus Hunters Newsletter