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Exploring history: medieval to modern 1400-1900

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This module is a varied and wide-ranging introduction to historical study and will teach you the techniques of professional historians. It covers: fifteenth-century France, Burgundy and England during the Hundred Years’ War; the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century; the civil wars of the British Isles in the seventeenth century; slavery and serfdom in the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the development of nation states in western Europe following the French Revolution; and European imperialism in Africa. To ensure coherence and focus, the module is linked by common themes, enabling you to study a long chronological period.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
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Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

In this module, you’ll study some of the people, places and events that were significant in the development of the modern western European and Atlantic world. Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Oliver Cromwell, William Wilberforce, Bismarck and King Leopold II of Belgium are all key figures in this period. The study material is brought together by three themes that run throughout, and that reflect particular historical areas of study and methodologies: state formation; beliefs and ideologies; and producers and consumers. Through these themes we trace the development of modern states and their institutions; the role of religious and secular beliefs in motivating human action; and the ways that the concerns of producers of goods and customers in the market drive historical change.

So, for example, we look at how religious differences created a revolution in the seventeenth century; and how the demand for cotton in European markets drove the development of the American slave economy and at the ways in which some European powers used colonial enterprises to establish themselves as significant states in great-power politics.

Each of the six subjects listed above (or module blocks) corresponds to one of the periods studied and will teach you how historians have treated the subject as well as how to use the materials they used. There is a great emphasis on using original material such as documents – from Acts of Parliament to private letters – and visual sources – from buildings and sculpture to photographs and maps.

Each period is covered in one block of study over four weeks and is followed by a study week, when you will write an assessed piece of work.

Entry

This is a Level 2 module and builds on the Level 1 modules The arts past and present (AA100), Voices and texts (A150) and Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture (A151). These Level 1 modules develop skills such as logical thinking, clear expression, essay writing and the ability to select and interpret relevant materials. They also offer an introduction to a range of subjects in the arts and humanities.

If you have not studied at university level before, you are strongly advised to study at Level 1 before progressing to Level 2 study.

Your regional or national centre can advise you on where you can see reference copies of Level 1 study materials. Some are also available from Open University Worldwide Ltd. We particularly recommend looking at these materials if you have not successfully completed Level 1 study, or studied at an equivalent level elsewhere.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You will find helpful advice on study skills in The Arts Good Study Guide (E. Chambers & A. Northedge, The Open University).

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The study of history requires a considerable amount of reading, and one of the skills we aim to teach you is to be able to select what is important from a large amount of material.

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. The printed study materials are available in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

One of the learning outcomes of the module is that you should learn to evaluate historical sources in a variety of media. So you’ll learn how to use visual texts (buildings, cartoons, plans, maps, photographs, paintings etc) as well as written ones. Work on visual texts will be assessed, but alternative assignments and exam questions can be requested, if necessary, via your tutor. Transcripts are provided for the DVD video. Using alternative methods to tackle the visual and aural tasks in the module should not affect your ability to complete the module successfully.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Module books; DVDs; and website.

You will need

The ability to play a DVD, either a DVD player or computer. You will also need to be able to print or download materials from the internet.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Wallace, P G (ed) The Long European Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict and the Search for Conformity 1350-1750 (2nd edition), Palgrave Macmillan £20.99 - ISBN 9780230574830
  • Gibbons, R (ed) Exploring History 1400-1900: An anthology of primary sources, Manchester University Press £14.99 - ISBN 9780719075889

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. There will be tutorials which you are encouraged but not required to attend, their location will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“This course is a lot of work, don't underestimate the amount of reading you will have to do and I ...”
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“This is a demanding and very enjoyable course. Its thematic structure is helpful, its materials excellent and its range exhilarating. ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code A200
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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