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World History

Online Course

Course Overview

The purpose of this World History course, developed by a grant from the Maryland State Department of Education, is to provide students with the opportunity to examine key themes and work on historical thinking, processes, and chronological skills so that they have a strong foundation and contextual knowledge through which to study modern world history. This course aligns to the Common Core Standards for History. Students will be expected to work both online and in the classroom to complete course requirements.

Outline of Units

Descriptions of each of the six course units are provided below.

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Unit 1: Redefining World Society and Culture
The ancient, classical, and medieval periods in world history provide the foundation for modern world history. During these time periods the rise and fall of great empires led to both unity and chaos throughout the world. The end of the classical era is dominated by disturbances in the balance of Afro-Eurasian power with the fall of both the Roman and Han empires. This led to a power void that was soon filled by a variety of competing empires, most successfully the Islamic Caliphates and the Mongol Empire. At the same time, major social and cultural practices spread throughout the world through different forms of interaction, including regional trading networks, missionaries, and warfare. For more information, view or download the unit 1 curriculum document (pdf).

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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World
By the eve of the early modern period, most major regions of Africa and Eurasia were linked through trade and migration routes. The linking of regions caused global transformations as economic exchanges were accompanied by cultural exchanges and advantageous positions in trade networks were linked to economic growth and political power. This unit is a comparative look at societies in Eurasia and Africa that increasingly interacted between 1300 and 1550. For more information, view or download the unit 2 curriculum document (pdf).

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Unit 3: Revolutions and Reactions
In a truly global trade system, Europe benefited from the influx of capital and new knowledge from around the world which contributed to intellectual, political, and economic changes. The resulting ideas about human rights and democracy were published and spread along the same routes that transported commodities, fostering revolutions on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and leading to an increase in nationalism. These ideas forever changed the political and social systems throughout the world. The industrial revolutions, enabled by technological developments and political and economic expansions, laid the foundation for what became the modern world during the 19th century. For more information, view or download the unit 3 curriculum document (pdf).

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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism
Both industrialization and emerging ideas of nationalism transformed societies, reshaped the global balance of power, and changed how people saw themselves and others. Nations with the capacity and willingness to industrialize gained economic and political power and asserted their influence over others in the form of new imperialism promoted by ideas of nationalism. Nationalism also emerged in nations affected by imperialism, manifested in resistance and reaction. This surge in power marks the relatively short period of European hegemony, disrupted by the global wars of the 20th century. For more information, view or download the unit 4 curriculum document (pdf).

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Unit 5: Crisis and Change
The two world wars were the most destructive events in world history and have had long-term impacts in all regions of the world, including ultimate independence for many nations around the world. World War I began with a familiar-looking world that was dominated by a few empires and royal families. By the end of the war the traditional political power structure that had dominated world affairs for over three hundred years was crashing. The result of this led to more political upheavals as peoples of the world tried to determine a new approach to governing themselves. These wars and the technologies that resulted from them helped create a world where physical borders and distance did not hinder true global interaction and world connections. For more information, view or download the unit 5 curriculum document (pdf).

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Unit 6: Modern World History
The world since 1950 might be the most important unit of study for students to truly understand the world in which they live. The impact and consequences of the post World War II recovery and the Cold War shaped political, military, ideological, and social structures around the world and are still guiding the interaction of nations and regions today. This period not only included the Cold War and its ultimate end, but also the rise of democracy as a global expectation rather than a benefit of the western world. In the world in which we live today globalization of ideas, goods, and movement inspires hopes of true global understanding and acceptance. For more information, view or download the unit 6 curriculum document (pdf).