Monday, January 07, 2013

UIS announces free massive open online course on Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation

The University of Illinois Springfield will explore the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation in a new massive open online course (MOOC) during the spring semester. The free eight-week online course is open to anyone who wants to join world-wide.

The MOOC – titled The Emancipation Proclamation: What Came Before, How It Worked, and What Followed - uses the sesquicentennial of President Lincoln's issuance of the emancipation proclamation in 1863, to explore what happened in the United States before emancipation, how emancipation worked once proclaimed, and what happened in politics, economics, and society in the century and a half afterward.

“It will also serve as a forum for participants to discuss the concept of emancipation in states and systems earlier than that of the U.S. and since to today,” said Ray Schroeder, UIS associate vice chancellor for online learning.

The MOOC will be co-taught by Matthew Holden, the Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at UIS, and Gwen Jordan, assistant professor of Legal Studies. The class will officially begin on January 28, 2013. Students may register now online at

This is the second MOOC that UIS has offered – last summer a MOOC on education drew some 2,700 participants from 70 different countries to study the present and future of online learning.

This year’s MOOC will be taught on Blackboard’s CourseSites platform, a free, fully hosted and supported cloud-based system.

“Based on our experience in hosting eduMOOC in 2011, we knew that this time we wanted an integrated platform for the multiple delivery modes including discussion, blogs, wikis, synchronous discussions and more. This integration, coupled with the self-enrollment feature, takes many of the technical challenges out of delivering a MOOC, allowing us to focus on content and engagement,” said Schroeder.

The Emancipation course is not graded, so students can participate according to their own schedule and skip sections that are not of interest. No academic or continuing education credit will be awarded as part of the course, but faculty members at any level may choose to use the free, online materials as part of their coursework. Materials will remain online for use after the class.

Students may sign up for the free MOOC now by visiting the UIS CourseSites website at For more information, contact Schroeder at 217/206-7531 or

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