Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Get a Free History Education Online

As I'm currently teaching about Australian History with my Year 4s, I thought it might be nice to share some resources about history that are relevant to people in other areas of the world (particularly the US). Karen Schweitzer approached me with this guest post:

Some of the best colleges, universities, and learning institutions offer free history courses and other educational materials online. You can use these resources to increase your own knowledge or enhance your students' classroom experience:

MIT History Courses - The Department of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology makes nearly 100 free history courses available online through the school's Open Courseware program. All of the courses are designed for college students at the undergraduate or graduate level. The majority can be translated into multiple languages and include a wide range of materials for self-learners.

FREE - FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence) is dedicated to providing free teaching and learning resources from federal agencies. History topics on this site include American history and world history. FREE offers images, documents, videos, and other learning materials.

History Channel Classroom - This History Channel mini-site is a great place to find free history education online. The site has a "day in history" feature, video clips, quizzes, activity suggestions, and other learning resources. Teachers will like the site's study guides that can be downloaded for free. Each guide is designed to accompany History Channel Classroom programs. Pages can be printed and include quizzes, classroom activities, and discussion topics.

BRI eLessons - The Bill of Rights Institute offers topical eLessons aimed at teachers who want to teach students more about America’s founding principles. The free eLessons are delivered via email and include historical content, classroom activities, discussion topics, and other educational materials.

Civics Education - Civics Online, a collaborative online project, provides a wide range of learning tools, classroom activities, and other educational materials for parents, students, and teachers who want to learn more about civics. The site also links to a number of online libraries and primary sources for civics education.

American History - Known as Crossroads, this website is a joint effort between The Sage Colleges (Troy, NY) and the Niskayuna School District (Niskayuna, NY). The goal of Crossroads is to provide comprehensive K-16 curriculum in American history. The curriculum is organized by historical period and grade level.

Bridging World History - This free world history course from is comprised of 26 chronological units. Each unit includes a 30 minute video and online text. Other course features include a database of audio pronunciations, historical images, and activities.

The First Thanksgiving - Scholastic offers several free online history courses, including this course about the first Thanksgiving. Students can take a virtual voyage on the Mayflower, learn more about the daily life of pilgrims, and explore a wide range of related topics.

The American Civil War - The University of Washington offers a comprehensive online course with a focus on the American Civil War. The course is split into four easy-to-manage modules and includes everything students need to gain an understanding of the circumstances that led to the war and the government aftermath.

Geography, U.S. History and Government - This free course from Western Governors University was created specifically for online learners. The college-level course was meant to be completed over a period of 12 weeks, but is set up so that students can learn at their own pace. Covered topics include colonization, topography, citizenship, civil liberties, and early government.

Guest post from Karen Schweitzer who writes for, a site that provides university information for students.

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