CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EdX, the nonprofit online learning initiative, will offer three, new, free MOOCs from the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum and research complex, founded in 1846. The courses, for students and educators of all ages, will interest fans of superheroes, teachers and American history buffs alike. These first three Smithsonian edX courses, developed with the National Museum of American History, include: Objects That Define America; Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture; and Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects. All three courses are currently open for enrollment on edx.org.
Smithsonian courses will draw on the Institution's extensive collections and expertise, including accomplished professors, Smithsonian Institution experts and a unique, in depth perspective from pop culture icon Stan Lee.
Objects That Define America will be taught by Dr. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, and is co-produced in partnership with The Great Courses. The course will look at the History of America through the lens of key historic objects, artifacts, and exhibits in the Smithsonian collections -- from the Statue of Liberty to the Model T.
A hero to comic book fans all over the world and creator of some of the medium's most recognizable characters, Stan Lee, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, POW! Entertainment and Chairman Emeritus of Marvel, will join Michael Uslan, Professor at the Indiana University Media School and Executive Producer of the Dark Knight Trilogy, and David Uslan, a new media executive, for Rise of Super Heroes. Course participants will explore different perspectives of the history and cultural influences of the superhero genre, during its rise from comic books to a dominant place in pop culture. Learners who sign up for and earn a verified certificate in the course will receive a certificate featuring original artwork with both Stan Lee's and Michael Uslan's signature.
"It's a great honor being invited to share my views on the evolution of superheroes and the genre's overall impact across all generations of people," said Stan Lee. "Throughout my career, characters have evolved so much – from drawings on a page to other-worldly special effects only animation could produce, to live-action and so much more. I can't wait to dive into these discussions thanks to Smithsonian and edX."
Kathleen Owings Swan, Ph.D., University of Kentucky College of Education, and Naomi Coquillon, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, will offer Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects, geared to middle and high school social studies and history teachers. The course will offer new teaching techniques designed to engage students in the process of historical inquiry, and spark a deeper connection to the study of history.
"The launch of SmithsonianX on edX is one way that the Smithsonian is sharing its collections and scholarship with a global audience," said Jacqueline Moen, Vice President of SmithsonianX. "This initial portfolio of courses with Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will offer new perspectives on understanding the American experience."
"Our mission is to offer the very best courses from the world's most respected institutions, and as the world's largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian is a perfect partner for edX," said Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX. "With the help of one of the greatest collections of artifacts, these new courses will help learners see history in new and exciting ways."
About the Smithsonian Institution
Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,400 Smithsonian employees and 5,500 volunteers. There were 28 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2014. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 126 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History. www.smithsonian.org
EdX is a nonprofit, open-source enterprise offering online courses from more than 60 member institutions, composed of both leading global universities and colleges and a diverse group of prominent organizations from around the world. Founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, edX is focused on transforming online and on-campus learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like experiences and cutting-edge research on an open-source platform. Based in Cambridge, MA, USA, edX is focused on people, not profit.
Communications Manager, edX