MOOC: Free and Priceless

Art of Teaching History

You’ve probably heard the phrase “You get what you pay for,” but we’d like to challenge that old trite saying.

This fall, we are offering our first MOOC: The Art of Teaching History, and it is absolutely free.

What’s a MOOC? MOOC is an acronym standing for Massive Open Online Course; basically it’s a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to an unlimited number of participants. While online courses are nothing new, these large scale, free offerings have just gained popularity in the last few years, with some classes garnering registrations near 100,000. Considering that, a MOOC is something very exciting to all of us here at the Glasscock School. After all, what could be better than people all over the world wanting to learn a subject simply because they are passionate about it?

The aim of The Art of Teaching History course is to bring history teachers together for an international conversation about how to teach history well. Participants will engage each other across the world through discussion forums, sharing personal reflections designed to help them clarify their own approach to teaching history and posting reflective comments as a way to actively engage in the online conversation. At the end of the course, teachers will be asked to create an action plan for use in their classrooms based on the principles and best practices learned during the MOOC.

This course is facilitated by master teacher Jim Smith, who has been teaching courses through our Center for College Readiness for several years. Prior to his affiliation with the Glasscock School, Jim taught history and humanities in Las Cruces, NM, for 30 years. He has made presentations to teachers throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia, dealing with teaching U.S. history and teaching writing in social studies classrooms. In addition to Jim’s contribution, Rice is also represented through contributions from multiple Rice history professors including Drs. John Boles, Caleb McDaniel, Rich Smith and Lora Wildenthal.

Visit to learn more and to register. After all, it is free and priceless.

Bret Newcomb


Bret Newcomb, Marketing Specialist

3 thoughts on “MOOC: Free and Priceless

  1. I didn’t see a place for this type of question on the course page, so I’ll ask it here. I’m retired and now devoting considerable time to institutions and associations involved in local history. (I was a history major at Rice.) I’m interested in the art of teaching history, but more from a museum angle. I’m especially interested in the application of new digital technologies to engage people (young and old) in local history. I realize this course won’t address that quest directly, but would I learn anything that may be applicable to teaching history through a museum setting? Thanks.

    • While the curriculum itself does not speak directly to teaching history within a museum setting or through digital technologies, the content can certainly be transferred to those environments. Additionally, we currently have more than 4,000 enrollments from all over the world, so there is a strong possibility that other participants will share best practices with teaching in museums or similar non-traditional classrooms and certainly a wide array of technology experiences. The highly interactive course involves a great deal of conversation and reflection occurring in the forum area, which will be a great opportunity to discuss others’ experiences. It’s also about historical thinking skills which, of course, can be applied to all settings.

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