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Edinburgh MOOC examines US election

The battle for the White House will be the focus of a free online course from the University of Edinburgh

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | October 24, 2016 | Technology

The three-week course, which begins today, will examine key US presidential campaigns from the past so that students can gain fresh insights into this year’s contest.

The Making of the US President: A Short History in Five Elections involves a mix of teaching styles, including video lectures, online debates and short quizzes. By telling the story of landmark campaigns in US history, the course explores how politics has changed over time—and how understanding the past sheds light on the current campaign.

The course, which is free and open to anyone, will run for the length of the campaign. It will also enable students to access a live election night webcast from the University’s Student Union on 8/9 November, which will feature expert analysis from Edinburgh academics.

Professor Robert Mason, from the School of History, Classics & Archaeology, who is overseeing the course, said: “The contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has become one of the most fascinating struggles in US political history. By taking this free course, learners will discover the historical background to the 2016 contest, examining other key moments and figures from the past, including Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.” 

Online learning is an increasingly important method of teaching, opening up high-quality education opportunities to people around the world. MOOCs form a key part of that approach, enabling anyone to sign up for free and benefit from Edinburgh's expertise

The course – available on the Coursera learning platform – is one of 35 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) currently offered by the University. More than two million people have signed up for Edinburgh’s MOOCs since their launch four years ago.

The University is also offering its first online MOOCs on the edX platform, which was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2012.

New Edinburgh courses on edX include Statistics: Unlocking the World of Data and Economic Democracy: The Cooperative Alternative. The new courses follow the success of Edinburgh’s first edX course Introduction to Marketing. 

Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal for Online Learning at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Online learning is an increasingly important method of teaching, opening up high-quality education opportunities to people around the world. MOOCs form a key part of that approach, enabling anyone to sign up for free and benefit from Edinburgh's expertise." 

Learners can find out more about the new courses and study for free at: www.edin.ac/president-mooc

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