History Channel, Univ of Oklahoma Partner for Online Course

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The History Channel has partnered with the University of Oklahoma to create a TV-network branded online course that will carry college credit.

The course, “United States, 1865 to the Present,” will take place as an interactive online course lasting for 16 weeks that will include all the traditional history course classwork, such as lectures, discussion group, social interactions between students and professor and quizzes, and also some supplemental multimedia materials from the History Channel.

“I think it’s a great way of combining the talents of the History Channel… with the intellectual rigors of a college class,” said University of Oklahoma professor Steve Gillon, who will teach the class.

According to Gillon, students will complete their coursework while making use of the History Channel archives.  Gillon uses the example of a two-week section of the course which focuses on the 1960s, stating that students will learn about John F. Kennedy through class readings while simultaneously being able to watch clips from coverage of his 1963 assassination.

“Television networks have the thing we don’t have in the academy, which are the images,” Gillon said. “As professors, it’s really hard for us to do these things because there’s all these rights issues.”

The course will be taught through the interactive learning platform Janux, created by OU.  The platform allows students to complete the course at any time, in any location.

Students will pay just $500 for the course, a significantly cheaper course than even some community college offerings, even allowing students who do not attend the University to take part. High school students looking to get a jump on their college careers can do so cheaply, and a reduced rate of $250 applies for lifelong learners.  The course will earn participants three transferable credits.

“This course, combining the best in education and entertainment, brings together the resources and talents of a flagship state university and a national television network to present new ways of learning about the past,” Gillon said. “With this course, we hope to spark the imagination of a new generation of students, ignite their interest in the study of history, and inspire them to learn more about how the past shapes the world we live in today.”

Enrollment began last week with the first course officially starting next semester on January 12, 2015.  The University hopes to offer additional courses of a similar nature in the near future.