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The Eistein Revolution EMC2X, Instructed by Peter Galison, offered by HarvardXIn The Einstein Revolution, we examine Einstein as a thread that ties together an understanding of many aspects of the twentieth century from history and technology to visual art, film, and beyond. No scientist has generated as much controversy and interest as Einstein. His theories changed our understanding of the nature of atoms, time, light, and space. However, his theories had a reach far beyond the scientific, extending into the wider society.

Together, we will investigate Einstein’s views and his history; the historical era into which he stepped and that era’s response to him; the technology that intrigued him and that which he enabled; the art that moved him and that which he inspired; and of course his ground breaking insight into the science of physics. Our ambitious aim is to do all of this in a way that doesn’t require pre-existing knowledge beyond algebra.

We will bring this history to life through demonstrations and animations, historical artifacts, art, and film.

The Einstein Revolution not only features a varied wealth of content, but being a MOOC it welcomes a diverse, global audience as well. We wanted to cover a broad array of historical inquiry, and we recognized the need to build our course to meet the needs of two distinct audiences: learners looking for the holistic view and learners interested in only one aspect or discrete area of Einstein’s life. Consequently, we chose to ensure that each lesson could be viewed on its own, without the context of the others.

To help our learners navigate our MOOC, we built an alternative-learning map that allows students to find the content of interest quickly. This map will allow learners to quickly find videos by topic or lesson. If you’re just interested in the artistic component, for example, it should be a breeze to find the lessons that matter most to you.

Finally, we recognized that many in our audience would be teachers themselves. We wanted to take this special opportunity to directly engage with educators in the MOOC. To that end, we have produced a teacher support document for anyone taking the course interested in utilizing pieces of the MOOC as a supplement to their own educational material and curriculum.

The teacher support document’s aim is to provide an overview of the course from multiple perspectives and some guidance on where we believe the content may be useful. It can be downloaded here.

Beyond developing a resource for teachers, we also found it essential to build the MOOC with the goal of a blended classroom in mind. We structured its design and lessons in a way that could be easily adapted to a blended or “flipped” classroom model where teachers incorporate online learning into their class. We hope that with the blended model in mind, the content we developed will be much more usable in teaching contexts beyond the MOOC experience.

Overall, we hope and believe that this purposeful design process will provide all of our learners a deeper, more enriching experience. By providing multiple pathways through the diverse swath of content and ensuring that content is constructed in a modular format, we believe that all learners will be able to gain the knowledge of interest to them.

Whether you are a student or a teacher; a casual browser or a serious scholar; or just curious, we hope you will join us in The Einstein Revolution.