Colonial and Revolutionary America: A Free Course

Although the flow of open edu­ca­tion­al resources has been slow­ing down late­ly (anoth­er casu­al­ty of the reces­sion), the stream has not yet run dry.

Stan­ford has recent­ly added anoth­er free course to its iTunes col­lec­tion. Taught by Jack Rakove, a Pulitzer Prize-win­ning his­to­ri­an, Colo­nial and Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Amer­i­ca (iTune­sU —  Feed) cov­ers the ear­ly phase of the tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can his­to­ry sur­vey course. The major themes addressed here include “the char­ac­ter of colo­nial soci­ety; the ori­gins and con­se­quences of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, from the Stamp Act con­tro­ver­sy to the adop­tion of the Fed­er­al Con­sti­tu­tion; the impact of the Rev­o­lu­tion on the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion and cul­ture; and (implic­it­ly) the long-term sig­nif­i­cance of the social and polit­i­cal his­to­ry of this era for our con­cep­tions of Amer­i­can nation­hood, soci­ety and cit­i­zen­ship.” This course is being rolled out in week­ly install­ments. You’ll cur­rent­ly find sev­en lec­tures, but there will even­tu­al­ly be 30.

I’ve added the course to our big col­lec­tion of Free Uni­ver­si­ty Cours­es, and it will be per­ma­nent­ly housed there. This page is loaded with links to thou­sands of hours of free lec­tures and cours­es from major uni­ver­si­ties. A great resource in gen­er­al, and par­tic­u­lar­ly for these lean times. Check it out, and please for­ward it to a friend (or men­tion it on your web site) if you have a chance. Thanks.

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Comments (4)
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  • norelpref says:

    Don’t get me wrong, this site is “the bomb,” but I find it slight­ly iron­ic for an enti­ty with the name “Open Cul­ture” to link to pro­pri­etary ser­vices like iTunes. Yeah, it’s tech­ni­cal­ly free, but, like “RealPlay­er,” still cor­po­rate. Why don’t sites use repos­i­to­ries like and use basic RSS for dis­tri­b­u­tion?

  • Dan Colman says:

    Hi there,

    I did some check­ing with Stan­ford’s iTunes team and actu­al­ly found an rss feed for the course and added it to the post. That should help “open” things up a bit. As you prob­a­bly know, I always try to include links to mul­ti­ple media for­mats when­ev­er pos­si­ble. In some cas­es, the for­mats are lim­it­ed, and it’s too bad. But I def­i­nite­ly think that one for­mat (while not ide­al) is bet­ter than noth­ing.


  • Dave says:

    Dan: Thanks for find­ing the feed. It seems like you need to trim a cou­ple of let­ters off the end of the link as there’s an extra ‘>.’ that does­n’t belong.

  • Dan Colman says:

    Dave. Thanks for the heads up on that. Got it fixed.


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.