What is History?

Ref: C3127735

How do we 'know' what happened in the past? Do we really 'understand' how we acquired this 'knowledge'? Students are introduced to the understanding that whilst historians endeavour to make 'History' objective it is a 'human' science and is, therefore, sculpted subjectively. The course enables the student to develop the skills to critically evaluate historical narratives. They will learn how historians adopt a methodological approach to discovering the 'facts', testing competing interpretations, before presenting them for challenge by both 'History' and Society. The Course will be based around this methodological approach and over 7 weeks will cover the following: 1: Review of current 'Knowledge' 2: Evidence - the basis of the discipline? 3: Contextualisation - exploring external evidence 4: Corroboration - weighing the evidence 5: Causation - explaining the 'WHY?' 6: Results - a sound historical interpretation? 7: Quiz - testing our new 'Understanding'

Additional information about this course

This course is fully online with no physical meeting space. You will be accessing the course through Canvas which is our virtual learning environment and through Zoom, which is video conferencing software. For the course you will need a reliable internet connection, access to a computer or other internet linked device that has a camera and microphone. To do this we will be emailing you links to Canvas and to Zoom, you will need to accept these to be able to access the course, the sender will show as “instructure”, if you do not accept these links you will not be able to access the course content. It is a good idea to do this with time before the course so if you are having issues you can contact us to make us aware.

Course aim

This course will help students to recognise that 'History' is complex and ever-changing. It is not simply looking at past events but developing the skills to understand and critically evaluate the cultural narratives Society has adopted.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • know that 'History' is both an objective and subjective discipline.
  • understand that there are competing paradigmatic approaches to historical study that offer alternative understandings of 'History'
  • explain that 'History' is a living entity that changes over time
  • develop the skills to academically interrogate historical 'facts'

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be able to keep a record of your progress and achievement using photos, audio, text or documents uploaded into the WEA’s digital learning platform, WEA Canvas.
  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

What is History?

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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