Learn online about the Holocaust

January 28, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
Read on for article

To mark the  International Holocaust Memorial Day, FutureLearn, a social medialearning platform, has launched free online courses exploring the history and ongoing scholarship of the Holocaust…one created by Tel Aviv University and the other by Yad Vashem.


‘The Holocaust – an introduction’ is a two-part program which has been created by Tel Aviv University, FutureLearn’s latest academic partner, together with Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and its International Institute for Holocaust Research.

The courses will track the history of the Holocaust – from the emergence of Nazi ideology, through Jewish ghettos and the infamous concentration camps – finally touching on the massive memorial projects undertaken by nations around the world. Each course has been designed to expose the global community of learners on FutureLearn to the diverse range of opinions, research methods and world views which inform the recorded history of the Holocaust.

Both courses will last three weeks and will be open to anyone with an internet connection. The FutureLearn platform, which enables learning through conversation, will allow people around the world to discuss and debate issues raised with each other and with the academics leading the course.

Mark Lester, Global Head of Education Partnerships at FutureLearn said, “As the world reaches the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps and the number of living survivors decreases, it becomes of the utmost importance that the lessons of this turning point in history are kept alive. Massive open online courses have emerged as an important means of reaching thousands of learners around the world with the highest quality learning material on a range of topical issues.”

The courses will seek to stimulate discussion around a number of questions, such as:

  • What factors led to the creation of a totalitarian regime in Germany?
  • What cultural perceptions and ideological traits led to the conception of the Final Solution?
  • What effect did the chaotic day-to-day reality of the concentration camps have on the human mind and spirit?
  • How will the Holocaust be remembered after the passing of the last survivor?

Learners will be guided through different types of historical evidence such as diaries, official documents, news reports, films and other artistic depictions of the Holocaust – all drawn from the world’s largest Holocaust archive at Yad Vashem – as they are introduced to the scholastic method of researching history and the challenges of analysing a diverse range of sources.

Parts one and two of The Holocaust – an introduction are available now for learners to sign up for, with the first course scheduled to begin on 20th April 2015.

Professor Raanan Rein, Vice President of Tel Aviv University said, “Tel Aviv University has led the use of technological innovations in education for many years and these new courses target different audiences within and without the university. They serve as additional proof to our academic excellence, not just in the hard sciences, but in the humanities in general, and Jewish studies in particular. By adopting a comparative approach, these courses are of relevance to students of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, philosophy, genocide studies, and human rights.”

Mr. Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, also welcomed the collaboration with FutureLearn and Tel Aviv University. He said:

“Over the years, Yad Vashem has made huge efforts to promote Holocaust education and commemoration through research, archival work and education. The combination of an international learning platform that develops pedagogical tools and works with academics, an international research institute with leading researchers, and the world’s largest archive, places Yad Vashem in a leading position and offers a unique opportunity for various audiences around the world to learn about this dark period of human history. In order to reach future generations and wide audiences around the globe, Yad Vashem welcomes the cooperation with the partners and the use of technology and modern educational platforms.

“These specific courses include a presentation of Yad Vashem’s museum and campus, which gives additional depth to the learning process and makes the course unique.”

Tel Aviv University joins the growing number of prestigious higher and specialist education institutions offering free online courses on futurelearn.com, alongside world-renowned cultural bodies like the British Council, British Library and British Museum. FutureLearn currently reaches close to 900,000 learners from more than 190 countries around the world.

Mark Lester added, “I am delighted to welcome Tel Aviv University to the FutureLearn partnership. These first courses they have produced with Yad Vashem will no doubt prove popular with our global community of learners, building on their understanding of the Holocaust as a turning point in history.”

The courses will be led by these renowned academics:

Dr. Havi Dreifuss in an historian of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Jewish History, and Head of the Center for Research on the History of the Holocaust in Poland at Yad Vashem’s World Center for Holocaust Research. Formerly, she was a Mandel Fellow at the Scholion Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Humanities and Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research focuses on aspects of everyday life during the Holocaust, such as relations between Jews and Poles, religious life, and Jewish existence in the face of deportation, destruction and slaughter. Her book, We, the Jews of Poland?, published by Yad Vashem, presents the relations between the Jewish and Polish populations during the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective.

Dr. Naama Shik is a leading researcher at Yad Vashem, focusing on the study of Jewish women in the death camps. She lectures at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and heads the institution’s Technological Education Department, where she is in charge of all online educational materials, including 22 online courses offered in six different languages, a lecture portal, testimonial videos, a huge data base and more.

About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a social learning platform based in the UK and providing free, online courses from world-class universities. The FutureLearn course experience centres on social interaction, whereby people learn by engaging in conversations around the learning material. Our partnership of higher and specialist education institutions from the UK and around the world join three cultural organisations – the British Library, British Council and the British Museum – to offer quality, higher education courses to anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world. FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University, which has over 40 years’ experience in distance and online learning. For more information, visit www.futurelearn.com.

About Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel’s largest institution of higher learning – with over 30,000 students and more than 125 schools and departments in nine faculties. Global in outlook and impact, it is consistently ranked among the world’s top 100 universities, as well as the top 20 institutions in terms of scientific citations. A spirit of openness and innovation is evident in all of TAU’s teaching and research activities, breaking down barriers between disciplines, and boldly striving to address the twenty-first century’s most pressing challenges.

About Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, is the world’s acclaimed centre of Holocaust education, remembrance, research and documentation.  Its world-class museums, research and education centres, archives and libraries provide an unparalleled place of intergenerational learning and reflection.  For over six decades, Yad Vashem has been meeting the challenges of each new generation by integrating technological innovation into traditional methods of learning in order to reach an ever-growing global audience interested in learning about the Shoah and grappling with its implications.  Dedicated to passing on the legacy of the survivors and perpetuating the memory of the Jewish men, women, and children who were murdered in the Holocaust, Yad Vashem continues to develop and expand its pedagogical tools, scholarly resources, and innovative methods for meaningful commemoration in the years ahead.


Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.