Columbia University Releases Eric Foner’s Civil War MOOCs on edX
NEW YORK, September 18, 2014 –

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services' Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) this week launched the first of three new online courses on edX: The Civil War and Reconstruction. Eric Foner, Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian and Columbia University’s DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, teaches this three-part massive open online course (MOOC). The first course is now free and accessible to anyone anywhere with an Internet connection, including K-12 educators and students.


The new history series, the first humanities course offering by Columbia on edX, is an open learning experience spread out over 27 weeks of stimulating lectures, interactive assignments, and community discussions. The entire series challenges students to examine the politics of history and investigate themes that are still very present in our national dialogue – the balance of power between local and national authority, the boundaries of citizenship, and the meaning of freedom and equality.

“We are delighted that Eric Foner is kicking off Columbia’s involvement with the edX platform,” said Columbia University Provost John H. Coatsworth. “His course series on the Civil War will highlight one of our finest teachers while providing students around the world with a window on to the outstanding humanities instruction for which Columbia is known.”

The three online courses are:

  1. A House Divided: The Road to Civil War, 1850-1861 – 10 weeks, beginning September 17
  2. A New Birth of Freedom: The Civil War, 1861-1865 – 8 weeks, beginning December 1
  3. The Unfinished Revolution: Reconstruction and After, 1865-1890 – 9 weeks, beginning February 25

“Recent events have underscored the fact that our society is still grappling with the long-term legacies of slavery and the failure of Reconstruction, so this history is especially pertinent today” said Professor Foner. 

“If you want to know where the world you’re living in came from,” Foner tells us in the trailer, “you need to know about the Civil War era.”

“Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning is thrilled to see Eric Foner‘s work published this way,” said CCNMTL director Maurice Matiz. “Besides having a great interest in getting those connected to Columbia during Foner's long career —our alumni— access to the course, we are also hoping that the course will have broad appeal given the public interest in this key period of our history.”

“We are honored to work with Eric Foner on his first MOOC, “The Civil War and Reconstruction,” and to help history-lovers everywhere connect with this prominent historian to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of our shared past and society today,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

To sign up for the free courses, visit the ColumbiaX page.  This MOOC series is also registered as an XSeries on edX, giving learners the opportunity to sign up and receive a verified certificate of achievement that authenticates their successful completion of each course.

In addition, the lecture videos from the entire course will be published on CCNMTL’s YouTube channel.  


Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning
(CCNMTL) builds education experiences for the University’s faculty, staff, and students on campus and online across all of Columbia’s colleges, schools, and departments. From our earliest days in 1999, CCNMTL has been dedicated to developing and producing quality new media and educational technology to enhance university teaching and learning. Our productions, publications, and events aim to provide thought leadership and practical support — and promote innovation in pedagogy and curriculum development — for teachers and education everywhere. CCNMTL is part of the Columbia University Libraries/Information Services

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

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