May 28, 2009

The Friday Record - 100 Free Courses to Teach Yourself World History

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Kelly Sonora, who told me of a list of 100 free history courses on the Online College website. And since I'm on the Hearts Through History RWA's Seduced by History blog, she though I might be interested in it. I am. It's a very interesting site.

The site says, “With new technology making the world more interconnected every day, it can be beneficial no matter what field you work in to have a good idea of the history of not only your own country but those around the world. These open courses will help you to learn about history in diverse countries and time periods to give you a well rounded knowledge of the social, political and intellectual history that has shaped the modern world.”

Most of the courses are offered through MIT, but other universities are represented as well: Notre Dame, Berkeley, John Hopkins, UMass Boston, Yale and WGU.

Kelly breaks down the courses in sub-categories:

General: These courses cover world history as a whole or address multiple areas under their topic of study.
America: These helpful courses will give you a good background on American history, from its discovery to its present day role in the world.
Europe: Give these courses a try to gain a better understanding of the history of Europe as well as its interactions with the rest of the world.
USSR and Russia: These courses will help you learn more about Russia, from the medieval era all the way up to the 1990’s.
Ancient and Medieval: Travel far back in time with these courses that focus on history from ancient civilizations and those during the dark ages.
Asia: With some of the largest economies in the world and billions of inhabitants, Asian countries can’t be ignored. These courses will help you learn more about them to help you become more culturally and politically savvy.
The Middle East: Because of its role in recent conflicts and dominance in the production of oil, many people have a lot of preconceived notions about the Middle East. These courses will help you learn about this region more fully, to gain a better understanding about its history and cultural influence.
Latin America: These courses will help you to understand the emergence and political structure of today’s Latin American countries.
Africa: Learn more about this large and diverse continent through these free courses.
Scientific History: These courses will help you to learn more about the emergence of modern science and technology.
History of Art and Thought: Through these courses, you can gain a better understanding of the origins of modern theories, politics, art and more.
War and Revolution: Wars and revolutions have played a major role in shaping the world as we know it today. Learn more about these events, their causes and even how to possibly prevent them from happening again in these courses.
Group Specific: These courses focus on a specific group within a larger area to give you a focused view of their historical experience.

And what sort of courses are listed? Here's just a few of the 100:

Monarchs, People and History
The Civil War and Reconstruction
American Urban History
France 1660-1815: Enlightenment, Revolution, and Napoleon
The Making of Modern Europe: 1453 to Present
Welsh History and Its Sources
Imperial and Revolutionary Russia: 1800-1917
The Ancient City (Greek and Roman Architecture)
The Dark Ages
Women in South Asia from 1800 to Present
East Asia Cultures: From Zen to Pop
Islam, The Middle East and the West
Anthropology of the Middle East
Dwellings in Africa
Introduction of Latin America
History of Public Health
Psychology History Timeline
History of Western Thought
Ancient Philosophy and Mathematics
Musée de Louvre
How to Stage a Revolution
French Revolution
Faith and the African American Experience
Race and Gender in Asia America

Now, how does this work? Well, looking at one of the MIT courses, it appears that these are the online information for an actual course. Once you click on the link from the 100 Courses website, you are taken to the website of the course. On the left hand side is a menu:

Course Home
Study Materials
Related Resources
Download Course Materials

From this page, you get the course handed to you. There's no teacher, you study on your own, at least as far as I can tell. They courses are free, but I see that MIT asks for a donation, to support “the production and distribution of high quality MIT course materials.”

So, where can you find this website: 100 Free Courses to Teach Yourself World History.

Good luck with your studies. I hope you ACE the class.

Oh, for a copy of my short story "A Cowboy's Dream," leave a comment telling me which class(es) you'd most be interested in taking.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns


Renee said...

That is a tough one. Although I found several to be interesting, I think my favorite would be Arthurian Literature and Celtic Colonization.

Jody said...

I too found a number that were of interest but if I had the time and didn't have my own classes to finish I would be interested in the Welsh History and sources. And the fact it is an Open University course would make it easier to take, if I had the time.

LuAnn said...

There are several courses that interest me. For starters ...
The Civil War and Reconstruction
American Urban History
Modern Latin America
Psychology History Timeline
There were several others, but I would probably start with those four. Gosh, I wish I had the time to take those courses!

jbrayweber said...

Great find!
There are several that sound enticing. The Civil War, The Ancient City, How to stage a Revolution...

Thanks for sharing!

Beth Caudill said...

Oh, more stuff to collect. :)

Cold War Science jumped out at me. (hey, I love space and science)

People and Other Animals - I write paranormals....could be interesting.

I'll probably check out some of the economic ones. I'm looking into creating worlds and economics and religion are two big areas I'm weak in.

Science and the European ones are no brainers. My husband will probably check out the WWII ones. I'll probably hit about 3/4 of the list.

Thanks for the great resource. You can never have too much info.

glenys said...

My, what a smorgasbord of treats! I want Welsh History & Its Source because my family is welsh but I hardly know anything about the histohen Arthurian Literature....what to choose, what to chooose.....?
Thanks so much for posting this!

Mary Ricksen said...

Now all I need is to write a book using one of these. I'd like the Celtic Book, I kinda obsessed with it and if I had to choose one, that would be the one.

Jennifer Ross said...

I'm going to start with Economic History, and depending on how I do, I'll take the Welsh History, The American Revolution, The Civil War, Gender and the Law, American Consumer Culture, The Royal Family, Imperial and Revolutionary. . . what's that? You didn't want me to list all 100?

Oh, well then. Those will do for a start.

Susan Macatee said...

American history to 1865 and the Civil War and Reconstuction would be of the most interest to me.

Kytaira said...

I was interested in the WWII one. Then I followed that one back to the UW free online system that offers one on Nutrition, Energy and Weight.

Thanks for the resource!

BTW other ones on the UW site included Sheakespeare, Gulliver's Travels, Greek Mythology....

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Congrats to LuAnn, who won a copy of A Cowboy's Dream. And thanks for all the comments. It's intersting to see who see what everyone is interesting in!


kerribookwriter said...

Hey hon,

Just saw this post and loved it. I was watching that movie "A Night at the Museum" last night with Ben Stiller. It is hilarious. I love how he gets interested in history while trying to figure out why the historical figures are coming to life.

I cracked up when he said "so what's the deal with Genghis Kahn?" LOL

I'd like to learn more about the Civil War. So, that one would be of interest to me.