Provider: University of Leiceister @FutureLearn [course page]
Lecturers: Deirdre O’Sullivan + others
Delivery: Intake-based asynchronous study
Recommended Load: 3 hrs/week over 6 weeks
Completion Date: 08/06/2014
Description: The discusses England at the time of King Richard III.
Strengths: Deirdre O’Sullivan brings together a team of experts to discuss English culture at the time of King Richard III, with a short history lesson of the Wars of the Roses. We learn about the military, communications (text and linguistic), culinary, employment and religious devotion of English people. In the last week, we also learn about the archeological dig that uncovered the body of King Richard III, teaching us a little about archeological processes used during this important find.
This course uses a variety of different information about the state of England during this period to offer context and insight into what led up to King Richard III’s death. This showed the affect that the Black Death had on civilization, changing the manner in which the social classes dealt with each other. It led to changes in habits as a result of changes in income and working environment. This apparently led to revision of many laws as well.
We also see the establishment of standardisation in language during this time, something that reminds me of some of the changes brought about by Emperor Qin during his rule in China more than a 1000 years prior. The introduction of such things enabled easier communication within the country. We also see the publication of various texts, such as books on cooking and falconry, thus allowing the sharing of knowledge between various groups.
Weaknesses: Be warned: Studying this course may dispose of ignorance with great prejudice.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed this course. At the beginning I believed that I knew a lot more about this time period than I did. Over the span of the six weeks, I saw the banishment of misconceptions about medieval society as well as the answering of many of my questions. The University of Leicester put together a freaking excellent introduction to English history.
I primarily recommend this MOOC to anyone interested in history and/or looking to avoid errors in their creative projects, such as written works. However, I believe that most people can benefit from understanding how certain events can have major effect on the path of mankind. This is a must-enrol!