The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) has been hard at work producing an exciting new MOOC (massive open online course) series that investigates the most pivotal era in American History: The Civil War and Reconstruction. Eric Foner, Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian and Columbia University’s DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, developed the course’s riveting content from over 30 years of teaching the subject at Columbia. On September 17th the course begins, and becomes accessible to anyone anywhere with an Internet connection.
This history MOOC series, Columbia's first on the edX platform, is divided into three courses that are spread out over 27 weeks of stimulating lectures, interactive assignments, and community discussions. The first course in the series, A House Divided: The Road to Civil War, 1850-1861, investigates how the issue of slavery came to dominate American politics, and how political leaders struggled and failed to resolve the growing crisis in the nation. Foner examines how generations of historians have explained the crisis of the Union. He traces the impact of key events such as Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry.
The second and third installments in the course - A New Birth of Freedom: The Civil War, 1861-1865 and The Unfinished Revolution: Reconstruction and After, 1865-1890 - continue the experience. Students will dive deeper into a discussion of the political, social, and economic changes in the Union and the Confederacy, and the Civil War’s long-term economic and intellectual impact. Throughout the entire course there will be ample opportunity to examine current events through the lens of our history. “If you want to know where the world you’re living in came from,” Foner tells us, “you need to know about the Civil War era.”
Foner’s magnetism as a historian and teacher, and his integrity and commitment to racial equality, are twin highlights of this history MOOC. CCNMTL has had the privilege of filming and publishing Foner’s last lectures for this course at Columbia, as he is set to retire in the fall of 2015. The release of this MOOC also coincides with the publication of Foner’s newest volume, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. During the course, a cohort of Columbia University history department graduate students will serve as online teaching assistants.
Watch the video trailer for the course online at ColumbiaX, and enroll today! Throughout 2014 and 2015, CCNMTL will be releasing unique digital content, related materials, and conversations with Professor Foner online and across social media platforms. Follow us at @CCNMTL!
Oct-21-2014: Eric Foner and CCNMTL Featured in Columbia Magazine
Sep-26-2014: September: Three Great Professors, Four Great MOOCs
Sep-17-2014: Eric Foner's Civil War MOOCs Launch Today on EdX
Mar-14-2014: Columbia Partners with edX