MOOC Review: A History of the World Since 1300

Course: A History of the World Since 1300

This course was offered by Princeton University with Dr. Jeremy Adelman as the instructor and hosted by Coursera. The course ran from September through December, as an adjunct of the regular Princeton semester.

The lectures started out with some obvious discomfort on the part of the lecturer and some technical glitches.   The lectures included some art, photos and maps but most of the content was straight lecturing from Adelman.  As the semester moved on, everything ran more smoothly.   More important, the lectures drew together many themes that were developed across the whole semester.  The last few lectures did a great job of drawing all of the ideas together.

Besides the straightforward lectures, Adelman hosted a series of “Global Dialogues” featuring scholars in each of the geographic areas and historic eras.  These conversations were built around questions from Adelman, the Princeton students and submissions from the Coursera students.  These too progressed from rather structured at the beginning of the course to a more comfortable, easy give and take in the final sessions.   The last two dialogues included undergraduate and grad students from Princeton and Coursera.

The work for the course consisted of a series of essays that were peer-reviewed.  I did not participate in any of these.  In addition, the forums were very active.  The views from participants from all over the world and of all different ages really enriches the discussion and the topics such as World War II, the Middle East, and Viet Nam drew some heated discussion.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable course!

Summary: Very interesting material. The lectures were engaging;  the forums and assignments provided a lot of opportunity to really try out ideas about the scope of history.

Recommendation: Very worthwhile for a survey of world history with a world view.


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