The open course I found and chose to start was/is called “Digital History” through a partnership between the University of Houston and other supportive organizations. It is a comprehensive course that covers the history of the United States beginning from the American Revolution to present day. The amount of sources, resources, and perspectives offered are truly impressive. The course is divided into ten separate and distinct sections and it allows the learner to choose what order they desire to explore each section.
The ten sections are logically organized and grouped into the following: primary sources, ethnic voices, for teachers, active learning, multimedia, interactive timeline, visual history, visual exhibitions, special topics, and special reference room. Actual court cases, newspaper stories, documents, and accounts from various ethnic groups are all accounted for and offered. From there learners or teachers can choose to focus on various sections of history, for example one can concentrate on colonial America circa 1760 until the early national period circa 1810. Once an era is chosen one can then narrow what materials they want to view. The four choices are media, documents, textbook, and teaching.
The presentation of the material is well organized as previously mentioned, yet there is no recommended path or sequencing offered, unless you follow the lesson plans and sequencing done by Tom Ladenburg, who helped create pre-made lesson plans and lectures for the site. This can either by looked upon as an advantage or a drawback when thinking about taking the course. Those who like structure and organized guidance will probably like the course only if they follow the master teacher’s (Tom Ladenburg) suggested lessons and lectures, yet those who prefer to learn in their own style at their own pace will definitely like the amount of freedom offered. A face to face learning environment would be much more submissive for the learner and might be easier to digest depending on the effectiveness of the teacher. The material would also be only made available at the discretion of the instructor as opposed to being offered a comprehensive view of the entire course all at once.
This course offers a very rich and diverse learning environment in terms of learning styles and methodology. Students may choose to read from a narrated text, view official documents, read actual accounts, hear music selections, watch speeches, view maps and photographs, etc. In this way multiple learning styles are catered to- visual, linguistic, nonlinguistic, constructivist and the like. Overall, it is a great source for online learning with amazing detail and thoroughness throughout.