Welcome to History 215 – Europe: Medieval to Modern, a three-credit, junior-level course designed to introduce distance-learning students to the study of European history at the university level. The course, which was initially developed by the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan, is taught by a combination of print materials, video-tape lectures, and academic support. The course is offered for individualized study and students may work at their own pace within a six-month contract. Students are evaluated by means of two essay assignments and an invigilated final examination.
History 215 surveys the most significant political, economic, social, religious, and intellectual trends in European History from the early Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. The purpose of the course is to provide a description and an explanation of the forces that shaped the birth of the modern world during the so-called Early Modern Era, a period that witnessed the rapid growth of commercial capitalism, the development of the nation state, the flourishing of such intellectual movements as the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, and the spread of European industry, commerce, and culture to the New World, and the continents of Africa and Asia. The video-tape lectures by Dr. J.M. Hayden, which include a significant amount of factual material, summarize and analyse these developments, using the Middle Ages as a base against which to measure the economic, social, political, and intellectual changes experienced by Europe between 1350 and 1750. The course textbook, A History of Western Society, by John Mckay, Bennett Hill, and John Buckler, provides a narrative account of the evolution of civilization in Europe from 400 AD to the mid-eighteenth century. In addition to viewing Dr. Hayden's lectures and doing the related reading assignments, students will also receive regular academic support from their tutor.
Although the television programs are not broadcast and must be borrowed on video cassette from the Athabasca University Library, History 215 is a telecourse and viewing the video-tape lectures is mandatory. Moreover, it is important that students recognize that learning from television involves active listening and participation. This process is quite different from watching TV for entertainment, which is a passive activity. Students should therefore prepare for viewing the lectures by reading the introductory material for each unit provided in the Athabasca University Course Guide. When watching the videos, take notes and mark down things you find particularly interesting or important, have questions about, or do not understand. In this way, you will get more out of the lectures and you will also benefit more from the interaction with your tutor. After watching the video tape or tapes for a particular unit, you will be ready to do the reading assignments given in the Athabasca University Course Guide.
Written work is another important component of History 215. Students are required to research and write two essay assignments and write a three-hour, invigilated final examination. Details of these assessment mechanisms are provided in the Student Manual.
Note: The video tapes have the University of Saskatchewan course number (HIST 112.6), and occasionally refer to the local arrangements for delivering the course to students enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan. You should ignore all such references.