Western Civilization I with John Thorburn

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Course Number: CIV101
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For your journey through World Civilization I, join Dr. John Thorburn, an award-winning teacher and professor of Latin and Greek with more than 25 years of experience in traditional and online classrooms. Known to his students as “Dr. T” or Dr. Theta, John has published books, articles, and given public lectures on four continents and in eight different countries. Dr. T has visited many of the countries you will study in World Civilization and has even led students on tours of various major sites around the Mediterranean. Let Dr. T be your guide as you travel through thousands of years of civilizations that have shaped the world that is our modern America.

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the development of early civilizations from Neolithic times to 1715. Early and contemporary Western cultures are compared and contrasted, as are major religious, social, and political reforms. Other topics include the religious influence of Judaism and the Bible, the rise and fall of ancient Greece, and the transformation of Rome from a republic to an empire. The Crusades, the origins of feudalism, and the evolution of Christianity are examined, as is the evolution of the European economy during Westward expansion. The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment period are also discussed.


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9 Reviews
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  • 7/29/14 by kristinwritessongs
    Awesome!
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  • 7/29/14 by kristinwritessongs
    Awesome!
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  • 6/10/14 by shepherdm
    A study of history from the transitions of hunter/gatherers to food producing cultures to the 17th Century.
    Content Rating
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  • 6/10/14 by shepherdm
    A study of history from the transitions of hunter/gatherers to food producing cultures to the 17th Century.
    Content Rating
    Overall Rating
  • 6/19/11 by Rate my Professor
    I was already a Classics major, but he inspired me to become a first-year composition instructor at a university, while still pursuing my artistic interests. He rapped, played instruments, and stayed consistently goofy. I only have a few characters left, so let me just emphasize this: He rapped. In Greek AND English. [Comment from RatemyProfessor.com]
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  • 2/14/10 by Rate my Professor
    Super nice and really funny guy - makes class interesting and grades fairly. Definitely recommend this class. [Comment from RatemyProfessor.com]
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  • 4/10/08 by Rate my Professor
    Entertaining! He makes pop references all the time, which is fun. I would be shocked if you don't love Greek Mythology by the end of this class. He covers a lot more material in class than is assigned in the reading so if you want an A it is important to be at every class. I highly recommend taking his class! [Comment from RatemyProfessor.com]
    Professor Rating
  • 12/7/07 by Rate my Professor
    He is a great guy-- off beat, but really funny and entertaining. He has a good time with the content and doesn't take it too seriously. You will always laugh in class and learn something new. Its a fresh twist on the Classics [Comment from RatemyProfessor.com]
    Professor Rating
  • 4/24/04 by Rate my Professor
    This guy is awesome and really funny. He sang songs about the plays we read, and let us watch Strongbad emails at the beginning of class. We had a quiz every day, which wasn't bad as long as you did the reading. [Comment from RatemyProfessor.com]
    Professor Rating
John Thorburn|PhD, University of Colorado

Total students servedTotal Students Served: 87 and counting
John Thorburn holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Colorado, is an Associate Professor of Classics, and has taught a variety of subjects dealing with the classical world, literature, and etymology. He has published more than a dozen articles on Greek tragedy, Greek comedy, Greek and Roman history, and subjects related to the classical world. John has also authored The Alcestis of Euripides (2002) and the Facts on File Companion to Classical Drama (2005).
Course Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the major concepts, persons, and events that contributed to the development of early civilizations from Neolithic times to 1715.
  • Compare and contrast early and contemporary Western cultures.
  • Describe the religious influence of Judaism and the Bible on early Near Eastern political, social, and economic organization.
  • Explain the rise, fall, and legacy of Ancient Greece.
  • Describe the transformation of Rome from a republic to an empire.
  • Examine the secularization of religious authority to develop a deeper understanding of the political underpinnings of the Medieval world.
  • Explain how the Crusades contributed to the establishment of a stable political order in the Western World.
  • Define and describe the origins of feudalism.
  • Compare and contrast the major religious, social, and political reforms that contributed to the rise of Papal Supremacy in the late Middle Ages.
  • Describe the evolution of Christianity during the Reformation.
  • Explain the evolution of the European economy during westward expansion.
  • Explain both the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. 
Topic Lesson Topic Subtopics Objectives
1

Early Civilizations and the Ancient World

  • Ancient Civilizations
  • The Laws of Hammurabi
  • The Old Testament
  • Identify the major concepts, and events that contributed to the development of early civilizations.
  • Identify Hammurabi and describe how his code of laws changed early human organization.
  • Explain the contributions of early Egyptians to the development of the Western world.
  • Describe the early influence of the major religions on the development of near-Eastern political, social, and economic organizations.
  • 2

    Classical Greece

    • The Rise and Fall of Ancient Greece
    • Athenian Democracy
    • Greek Art and Culture
    • Classical Greek Culture
    • Explain the rise, fall, and legacy of ancient Greece.
    • Compare and contrast Homer, Hesiod, and Herodotus and explain how their social and cultural outlooks shaped Greek culture and world history.
    • Compare and contrast Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and describe the role of philosophy in Greek politics.
    • Describe what life was like in the Greek Poleis.
    • Examine Classical Greek art and theatre to summarize the influence of Greek culture on contemporary Western traditions.
    • Describe the evolution of Athenian Democracy and explain its impact on contemporary democracies.
    • Develop a deeper understanding of the impact of the Peloponnesian Wars on Greek history.
    • Describe the impact of Classical period Greek art and culture on contemporary Western civilization.
    3

    The Hellenistic World

    • The Rise of Macedonia
    • The Hellenistic Age (323-30 BC)
  • Describe the cultural and political restructuring of Greece following Alexander the Great's death.
  • Examine the expansion of Macedonian culture and describe the transition of Greece from a collection of quarreling city-states to a part of a huge empire.
  • Define Hellenization and explain the importance of Alexander the Great in spreading Greek culture during the Hellenistic period, including his impact on the development of Western culture.
  • Examine the transition between the Greek Golden Age and the Hellenistic world.
  • 4

    The Rise of Rome

  • Early Roman History
  • The Expansion Period
  • From Republic to Empire
  • Analyze and describe the conditions and major events that fostered and contributed to the founding, rise, and Western expansion of Rome.
  • Describe the Hellenization of Rome, and compare and contrast Roman and Greek cultural and political structures.
  • Explain how the Punic Wars and internal political conflicts contributed to the destabilization and end of the Roman republic.
  • Examine the elements of the expansion and stabilization of the early Roman economy, and relate this to the development of Rome from a republic to an empire.
  • Examine Julius Caesar and explain the significance of his rise to power.
  • 5

    The Roman Empire

  • The Last Days of the Empire
  • The Christianization of Rome
  • The Decline of Rome
    • Examine Roman life under Augustus, also known as Octavian Caesar, to identify his major political, social, and economic policies and his role in defining the early Empire.
    • Summarize the reign of Marcus Aurelius and describe how his Stoic principles  exemplify the rule of the Empire at its height.
    • List briefly the reforms of Diocletian and explain why they did not halt the decline of Rome over the long run.
    • Identify Jesus Christ as a historical figure and describe the impact of the growth of Christianity on the Roman social and political systems.
    • Summarize the major  events that contributed to the decline of Rome as an Empire.
    • Identify Constantine and describe the Christianization of Rome, including the impact of Christianity on Roman law.
    6

    The Early Middle Ages

  • The Western World Divided
  • The Medieval World


  • Define and describe the origins of feudalism.
  • Analyze the Germanic invasions of Roman Europe.
  • Explain the role of the Byzantine Empire in preserving Western culture during the Middle Ages.
  • Identify  Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, and describe his relationship with the Church.
  • Examine the secularization of religious authority to develop a deeper understanding of the political underpinnings of the Medieval world.
  • Identify the Vikings and describe the expansion of Viking culture.
  • 7

    Islam in the Medieval World

  • The Birth of Islam
  • Muslim Empires
  • The Decline of Medieval Islam

  • Identify the Prophet Muhammad and describe his role in spreading Islam throughout the Western world.
  • Explain what the Qur'an is and the relationship it lays out between Islam and other religions.
  • Compare and contrast Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  • Analyze how and why Islam spread so quickly right after its birth.
  • Describe European interaction and resistance to Islam.
  • Explain the decline of medieval Islamic Civilization.
  • 8

    The Restoration of Order

  • Feudalism
  • The Rise of Centralized Monarchies
  • Describe what peasant life was like.
  • Describe the evolution of medieval culture and explain what life was like in Medieval Europe.
  • Analyze Medieval Europe's reaction to lack of centralized government to explain the evolution of nation-states and monarchical  systems.
  • Identify the technologies that contributed to the age of agriculture, and describe the relationship between an agrarian-based economy and  rapid population expansion.
  • 9

    The Crusades

  • Taking Back the Holy Land
  • The Later Crusades
  • Identify Pope Urban II and describe the Church's motivation for initiating the Crusades.
  • Compare and contrast the attitudes of Muslims and Europeans during the Crusades.
  • Explain how the Crusades contributed to the establishment of a stable political order in the Western world.
  • Describe the achievements of the first few Crusades, and contrast this with the results of later Crusades.
  • Examine traditional European fighting styles and explain why Europeans were at a strategic disadvantage for maintaining control over Jerusalem.
  • 10

    The Late Middle Ages

    • Proclamation of Papal Supremacy
    • The Conciliar Movement
    • The Black Death

  • Compare and contrast the major religious, social, and political reforms that contributed to the rise the doctrine of papal supremacy.
  • Identify St. Thomas Aquinas and describe the impact of Summa Theologiae on secularization.
  • Define the Conciliar Movement and describe the impact of the Great Schism on papal authority.
  • Analyze the long-term results of the Hundred Years’ War.
  • Describe the political and economic consequences of the fall of Constantinople.
  • List and describe the  causes of the bubonic plague and  the social, economic, and political changes in Europe that resulted from it.

  • 11

    The Renaissance

  • The Italian Renaissance
  • Politics in Italy
  • The Northern Renaissance

  • Analyze the Renaissance and describe the evolution of European culture during the late Middle Ages.
  • Define humanism and describe the influence of Francesco Petrarch and Niccolo Machiavelli on the concept of individualism.
  • Examine the relationship between early Greek philosophy and the Renaissance.
  • Describe the birth of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Identify the art, people, and culture that characterize the Italian Renaissance.
  • Describe the politics of Italy during the Renaissance. Compare and contrast the Italian and Northern Renaissances.
  • 12

    The Reformation of the Church

  • Martin Luther and the early Protestant Reformation
  • Piety, Protest, and Politics
  • The Catholic Counter- Reformation
  • List and analyze a variety of internal tensions and reformist traditions in the Roman Catholic Church that initiated the Protestant Reformation.
  • Explain how the Reformation strengthened the role of secular government.
  • Describe the influence of Christian humanism on Catholic Reformation.
  • Discuss the creation of the Society of Jesus and how the Jesuits exemplify the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
  • Describe the role of the Council of Trent in attempting to eliminate Church corruption.
  • Describe the evolution of Christianity during the Reformation.
  • Compare and contrast the beliefs and doctrines of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and describe their roles in the Protestant Reformation.
  • 13

    The New World

  • The Search for the New World
  • The New World Discovered
  • Conquest of the New World
  • Describe Portugal and Spain's contributions to westward expansion.
  • Identify Christopher Columbus and describe his role in the European colonization of  the Americas.
  • Describe the function of the slave trade during westward expansion.
  • Define colonialism and explain the nature of European colonialism.
  • Explain the evolution of the European economy during westward expansion.
  • Describe the transformation of  European culture during westward expansion and describe how it affected the  peoples and cultures of the Americas.
  • 14

    The Age of Revolution

  • The Wars of Religion
  • Absolutism in France
  • The Power of the English Parliament
  • The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
  • Describe the evolution of France under Henry IV.
  • Compare and contrast the French and English Civil Wars and describe their impacts on future Western governments.
  • Demonstrate understanding of what the English House of Commons is and explain the function of Parliament.
  • Compare and contrast Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, and explain how they contributed to our contemporary understanding of physics and astronomy.
  • Define absolutism and develop an understanding of the effect of French absolutism on world politics and its connection to mercantilism.
  • Describe the importance of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment to contemporary Western culture.
  • 15 Course Review
    • Review
    • Review of the course topics

    There are no prerequisites to take Western Civilization I.

    book cover

    The Western Experience offers a thorough, analytical overview of Western civilization, giving students an introduction to the major achievements in Western thought, art, and science as well as the social, political, and economic context for understanding those developments. To demonstrate the connected nature of all histories, these various aspects of history are examined in an integrated way. To help readers develop their reasoning and writing skills, each chapter is constructed to serve as an example of a historical essay: A historical problem is presented and arguments are developed using historical evidence. The ninth edition features many improvements, including the work of Lisa Tiersten in her new chapter on Nineteenth Century Empires.

    Chambers, Mortimer, Barbara Hanawalt, Theodore Rabb, Isser Woloch, Raymond Grew, and Lisa Tiersten. The Western Experience, Volume I, 9th edition. McGraw-Hill 2006. ISBN: 9780073259994

    StraighterLine provides a percentage score and letter grade for each course. A passing percentage is 70% or higher.

    If you have chosen a Partner College to award credit for this course, your final grade will be based upon that college's grading scale. Only passing scores will be considered by Partner Colleges for an award of credit.

    There are a total of 1000 points in the course:

    Topic Assessment Points Available
    4
    Graded Exam #1
    125
    7 Graded Exam #2 125
    7 Midterm Exam 250
    11 Graded Exam #3 125
    14 Graded Exam #4 125
    15 Graded Final Exam
    250
    Total
    1000

    Final Proctored Exam

    The final exam is developed to assess the knowledge you learned taking this course. All students are required to take an online proctored final exam in order complete the course and be eligible for transfer credit.

    Learn more about Proctored Exams

    For your journey through World Civilization I, join Dr. John Thorburn, an award-winning teacher and professor of Latin and Greek with more than 25 years of experience in traditional and online classrooms. Known to his students as “Dr. T” or Dr. Theta, John has published books, articles, and given public lectures on four continents and in eight different countries. Dr. T has visited many of the countries you will study in World Civilization and has even led students on tours of various major sites around the Mediterranean. Let Dr. T be your guide as you travel through thousands of years of civilizations that have shaped the world that is our modern America.

    This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the development of early civilizations from Neolithic times to 1715. Early and contemporary Western cultures are compared and contrasted, as are major religious, social, and political reforms. Other topics include the religious influence of Judaism and the Bible, the rise and fall of ancient Greece, and the transformation of Rome from a republic to an empire. The Crusades, the origins of feudalism, and the evolution of Christianity are examined, as is the evolution of the European economy during Westward expansion. The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment period are also discussed.


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