Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Have You Signed Up Yet for the Gilder-Lehrman Fall 2015 On-Line Course on Colonial North America?

I heard that this has the potential to be a pretty good course.  Sign up here.

Here is a taste of what you can expect:

Too often the history of the “American colonies” focuses on the thirteen British provinces that rebelled against the mother country in 1776 and formed what became known as the United States. While such an approach allows us to understand the British roots of our current national identity, it fails to do justice to those regions of North America (many of which eventually became part of the United States) and those people and groups that did not participate in the grand experiment of American independence.
This course will examine North American history during the period of European colonization. Rather than thinking about colonial America as a necessary forerunner to the American Revolution or the birth of the United States, we will make an effort to understand colonial life on its own terms. Though we will not ignore the British colonies on the eastern seaboard, we will also examine the colonial experiences of the French, Spanish, Dutch, and other European nations. In the process, we will critique the so-called “Whig” interpretation of the colonies and think together about how this particular period in the American past provides a laboratory for teaching historical-thinking skills in the K–12 classroom.


  • The course will meet for live sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in the fall from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET.
September 1
September 9
September 15
ber 23
September 29
October 7
October 13
** Fall break: October 19–30 **
November 3
November 11
November 17

  • The course will be presented in two types of sessions:
    • Six seminar sessions led by Professor John Fea
    • Four pedagogy sessions that demonstrate how to bring the content into middle and high school classrooms
  • All sessions will be recorded and available to watch on-demand.
  • Regular attendance is strongly encouraged but not mandatory.


  • Graduate participants must purchase copies of the course texts:
    • Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America (Penguin Books, 2002)
  • Participants will also read primary documents provided as PDFs or web links during the course.
  • Preparation for each seminar session should take about four hours, composed of reading approximately 120 pages of assigned passages from the course texts and primary documents.
  • No reading will be assigned for the four pedagogy sessions.
  • Assignments include:
    • Five 1,000-word essays summarizing and critiquing the assigned readings for each seminar session, except our first meeting.
    • One lesson plan demonstrating the use of tools and strategies presented during the pedagogy sessions to teach one class period of instruction.
  • You will receive the syllabus on the first day of class.


  • Graduate participants may join live sessions and complete assignments in pursuit of 3.0 graduate credits from Adams State University for $600.
  • Auditors may watch session recordings and pursue a Continuing Education Certificate of Completion for $25. Teachers from Gilder Lehrman Affiliate Schools may audit for just $15. Please note that auditors are not permitted to take part in the live sessions.


Registration begins July 6 and concludes August 24, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Please note that the credit-bearing graduate section of the course is limited to 100 participants and may fill before the registration period ends.