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The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910

Coursera · University of Virginia · 6 HN comments

HN Academy has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention Coursera's "The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910" from University of Virginia.
Course Description

This is a survey of modern history from a global perspective. Part One begins with the political and economic revolutions of the late 1700s and tracks the transformation of the world during the 1800s. Part One concludes as these bewildering changes seem to be running beyond the capacity of older institutions to handle them. Throughout the course we try to grasp what is happening and ask: Why? And the answers often turn on very human choices.

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This course is offered by University of Virginia on the Coursera platform.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this url.
favorite: the ancient greeks: good teacher:

other favorite: absolutely insightful about Russia

history of the modern world: really good just with headphones:

ancient assyrians:

best was "Social Psychology" by Scott Plous/Wesleyan University. inexplicably gone now from Coursera and internet afaikt


  Social Psychology
It is available on AcademicTorrents with seeders, if one is so inclined.
I'll offer a specific example of historical context. The University of Virginia offers an undergraduate level Coursera course on modern history.[1]

That course's treatment of the causes and importance of the industrial revolution suggests that access to cheap energy is the key difference between an agrarian and high technology civilization. That idea and that particular history professor's connections to Washington (he was executive director of the 9/11 commission) helps to explain a forever war in the Middle East and climate change denial.


That looks to be an excellent treatment of the subject. Are many undergrad courses, or even just Coursera courses, similar in quality, or is this one exceptional?
Anecdotally, as a history undergrad and grad student, almost all collegiate history courses are like that if they’re any good at all. You do occasionally get low-level surveys that seem more like laundry lists of names and dates, but overwhelmingly in my experience courses will focus on the question of why. You’re studying the interplay of people, ideas, economies, technology, et al to understand how and why a particular thing happened.
While I only just got started, there's a Cousera course named "The Modern World"[1] that, based on the introduction, explores this topic (among others).


My technology related list includes most of the same courses already listed. But off-technology, the "modern history" class (which appears to have been split in two[0]) was incredibly entertaining and gripping in addition to being educational.

[0] [1]

I took a Modern History class on coursera[0] how would I show proof of it? I also took one in macro economics, which also seems somewhat hard to show :)

Some subjects are inherently less practical and/or difficult to produce evidence for.

[0] which was among the best of more than a dozen classes I've taken across a few MOOCs, highly recommended!

Okay, good, so lets play this out a bit.

You're claiming these courses, and you also claim you did well and learned something.


Scenario 1 you're interviewing for a job:

Interviewer has knowledge and experience in the area of question.

They ask you "tell me about XYZ - you have taken courses on the subject? <looks at your resume>".

Your answer is:

  * "blah blah blah blah blah ..lots of juicy details about the cool stuff you learned." 
  * "blah blah blah, where you learned it from" 
  * "blah blah what you did in the course" 
  * "yada yada, here's an essay I wrote, citing sources".
  * "foo bar baz I got a article published in a magazine or did a talk at XYZ"
  * "I built this thing for XYZ ..check out these pictures"
Your answer is not:

  * "Here's my credential in XYZ"
Scenario 2 you're hanging at a local meetup for XYZ, you know, "doing the networking"

Someone says "FOO in XYZ subject is cool"

You say: "No doubt! I took a course on on XYZ on coursera. I did a whole section on FOO, it was sweet"

You do not say : "here's my credential"

Scenario 4 you're on a date

You do not say : "here's my credential(s)"[1]

Scenario 5 you're hanging with your significant other, having a intellectual discussion (I guess the date in #4 went well)

You do not say : "blah blah blah - I have credential(s) - yada yada, I'm right"[2]

[1] whatever credential(s) is a euphemism for -- you can never lead with this on a date :) :) :).

[2] this never works

Scenario 6 you're interviewing for a job and personnel manager has hardly any knowledge about the topic (very usual).

Personnel manager: "You claim that you have knowledge in [topic]. What do you have to prove this kind of knowledge?

Me: "I attended course in [provider] and completed it successfully with distinction. Here's the certificate..."

Scenario 7 - again job interview

Personnel manager: "You claim that you very actively continue to educate yourself. What can you offer to prove you claim?"

Me: "Here's a list of certificates that I earned on Coursera for the last year alone. These show my individual initiative in self-improvement in quite a range of skills that could be important for the job."

fair enough.

I haven't had many of those myself - but that may be a selection bias due to not having accumulated credentials. Have to admit, no body has ever asked me to prove I went to university but they have consistently asked for the types of answers I describe in scenario #1 above.

In the case of the hiring I do, our "personal managers" are code surfacing resumes based on their content and then a lightweight screening before they come to me. That screening might include a check to verify experience or references. Then I never ask for credential -- only discussion and proof of work (again - maybe a bias of me and those like me).

Alternate answer: "The increasingly difficult and diverse projects I have completed drew on all of the new knowledge I was gaining, and speak for themselves."
The personnel manager (again: they usually have few knowledge about the topic) is usually not able to assess whether these projects were really difficult or just smoke and mirrors.

On the other hand, checking the certificates is easy...

is the "personel manager" you describe really the state of hiring? As a company it seems you would miss a lot of talent by filtering this way.
First: This kind of personal manager a hate object in German programming and engineering circles in about the same way the pointy-haired boss does in US ones.

I openly can't answer this question for reasons that are off topic here. But I have good reasons to believe that the stories are often true: If you just look at job advertisements you'll very often see very contradictory job requirements that by simple logic and knowledge of, say, programming can hardly be satisfied and simply make no sense for the job. No, say, programmer with the faintest knowledge about his job would write such a job advertisement. On the other hand, if you know the typical hire process, where often the personal manager has a say...

ok got it - thanks for additional context.
And this is what's wrong with employment, and why so many unqualified people get in.

Look, I say this as a teacher who offers degree classes, and as a student earning a certificate that says I can teach...

You can earn certificates without learning a damn thing.

Mar 09, 2013 · cawel on Why Study History?
So far, I have been taking 2 history courses [1][2] on (which offers over 300 free online courses) and I can certainly recommend both of them. Each course looks like this: about 2 hours of video lectures per week (which you can watch whenever you want), over a period of ~15 weeks. Clearly, following those history courses meant that I do not see the world with the same eyes now. For one, I feel that I am developing a (healthy) reflex to view news events in perspective within a longer period of time, instead of just considering the events in themselves (thus lacking context). Also, drawing parallels with similar events in the past provides insight and offers a wider and more informed framework for devising an appropriate action.

[1] "The Modern World: Global History since 1760"

[2] "A History of the World since 1300"

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