ith some effort I was able to convince my administrator at Learn NC, an online high school supported by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education, to add a course on European medieval history, titled Medieval Studies, to the course catalog. I had a twofold purpose in wanting this addition. First, I held that Medieval Studies, as an elective course, would help to increase Advanced Placement European and World History examination scores if taught before students take AP European and/or World History. In fact, I believe it so strongly that I am currently working on a doctoral dissertation which will help to underline this idea. Second, because of my background (MA in history with a concentration in medieval Europe) and interests, I have dreamt of teaching a medieval course to high school students online.
However, my enthusiasm for the course was counterbalanced by some problems. For example, as I began to sift through course syllabi and outlines as a means of providing a foundation for the design of my own course, I realized that there were very few standards to work with when designing such a course. Thus, my dilemma before I began the course development and online programming was to create a set of standards to use. Luckily, I had been invited in the fall of 2004 to be a part of the AP World History Standards Committee for North Carolina. In that time, we took the AP World History guidelines set by the CollegeBoard and created a set of standards using the format that North Carolina had adopted. Thus I took my knowledge of standards writing and applied it to my dilemma involving the Medieval Studies course and produced the standards below. I hope that these standards prove to be useful to teachers (traditional or online) who need more specific objectives in designing and/or teaching a medieval history course. It is my intent to write a follow-up article for Scientia Scholae in one year’s time in which I will highlight the successes and challenges faced by this young program.
Medieval Studies will investigate the history of Europe from the breakup of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance. It will study the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the three successor civilizations of classical Greece and Rome –Byzantium, Islamic and Western Christendom, with particular emphasis on the latter. This course will examine the development and interactions of these civilizations in both peace and war. Among the topics to be covered in Medieval Studies will be: the end of the ancient world, the rise of Christianity, the era of Germanic migrations, the Germanic West, the Catholic Church in the West, the Carolingian Empire, the 9th century invasions, feudalism and manorialism, the Byzantine Empire, the rise of Islam, the Crusades, the development of medieval kingdoms and nation-states, class structure in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance of the high Middle Ages, the Mongol invasions, and the beginnings of the Reformation. It will also attempt to assess the impact of these and other subjects of medieval origin upon today’s world. Furthermore through the analysis of primary and secondary sources, Medieval Studieswill help prepare students for further historical learning including Advanced Placement European and World History.
Medieval Studies provides the opportunity for advanced work, rigorous study, and systematic study of major ideas and concepts found in the study of medieval European history. The course is designed for students who have demonstrated an advanced level of interest, learning, and achievement in history. Due to the challenging nature of the course, it requires students to take greater responsibility for their learning by participating in problem-seeking, problem-solving, scholarly and creative processes, critical analysis and application, and reflective thinking.
Strands: Geographic Relationships, Historic Perspectives, Economic and Development, Government and Active Citizenship and Political Culture, Global Connections and Processes, Technological Influences and Society, Individual Identity and Development, Change and Continuity, Social and Gender Structure, Periodization, Cultural and Intellectual Developments, Interpretation of Documents.
Goal 1 – Christianity
The student will trace and evaluate the impact of Christianity on medieval Europe.
- Define the setting for Christianity during the period before and after the birth of Christ.
- Trace the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth
- Map the spread of Christianity through Roman Empire during the first three centuries after the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
- Summarize the early developments of the Christian church during the first three centuries after its creation.
- Examine the various church controversies of the early Christian church including but not limited to Gnosticism, Arianism, the Donatist schism, and Pelagism.
- Detail the lives and teachings of the early leaders of the Christian church including but not limited to Augustine of Hippo, Alexander of Alexandria, Ambrose, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory the Great, Eusebius of Caesarea, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Origen, and Tertullian,
- Evaluate the contributions of Christian culture to the culture of medieval Europe.
Goal 2 – The Byzantine Empire
The student will examine the influence of the Byzantine Empire on medieval Europe.
2.03 Evaluate the major achievements of the Emperor Justinian.
2.04 Assess the major achievements and political developments of the Byzantine Empire during the rule of dynasty of Heraclius.
2.05 Summarize the major political achievements and developments during the reign of Leo III.
2.06 Survey the major political achievements and developments during the time period of the Macedonian Dynasty.
2.07 Examine the causes and effects of the decline of the Byzantine Empire.
2.08 Analyze the various theological controversies of the Byzantine Empire including, but not limited to the Monophysite and iconoclastic controversies.
2.09 Evaluate the contributions of Byzantine civilization to the culture of medieval Europe including but not limited commerce, agriculture, learning, architecture, and art.
Goal 3 – The Islamic World
The student will trace and evaluate the impact of the Islamic movement on medieval Europe.
3.03 Categorize the major tenets of Islam and their impact on the Arabian Peninsula.
3.04 Map the expansion of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula into Asia, Africa, and Europe.
3.05 Summarize the political achievements and developments of the Omayyad Dynasty.
3.06 Assess the political achievements and developments of the Abbasic Caliphate as successor to the Omayyad Dynasty.
3.07 Trace the cultural and political developments of Islamic Spain.
3.08 Evaluate the contributions of Islamic civilization to the culture of medieval Europe including but not limited to commerce, agriculture, learning, architecture, and art.
Goal 4 – Barbarian Invasions
The student will evaluate the invasions of Europe as a force for change in medieval Europe.
4.03 Evaluate the political developments and impact of the Carolingian Empire on medieval Europe.
4.04 Detail the Vikings invasions and assess their impact on the cultural and political development of medieval Europe.
4.05 Evaluate the role of the Islamic threat on the cultural and political developments of medieval Europe.
4.06 Summarize the influence of Magyar invasions on cultural and political developments of medieval Europe.
4.07 Assess the cultural and political results of the invasions of early medieval Europe.
Goal 5 – The Church in the Middle Ages
The student will evaluate the role of the Christian church in the culture of medieval Europe.
5.03 Summarize the nature of canon law of the Christian church and its role in the culture of medieval Europe.
5.04 Detail the various monastic movements including but not limited to the Benedictines, Augustinians, Cluniacs, Cistercians, Dominicans, and Franciscans of medieval Europe and their impact on the culture of the Christian church and Europe.
5.05 Trace the Christian Crusades including but not limited to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Crusades.
5.06 Assess the causes and effects of the Christian Crusades on medieval Europe and the Middle East.
5.07 Assess the causes and effects of the controversies of the Christian church including but not limited to the Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism.
Goal 6 – Medieval Society and Culture
The student will examine the various social structures and intellectual, scientific, literature, and architectural movements of medieval Europe.
6.03 Outline the causes and effects of the growth of towns and trade in medieval Europe.
6.04 Evaluate the causes and effects of developments of learning and education in medieval Europe.
6.05 Summarize the developments of science and technology in medieval Europe.
6.06 Categorize the different forms of literature of medieval Europe and their influence on the culture of Europe.
6.07 Reconstruct the developments of architecture in medieval Europe including but not limited to Romanesque and Gothic forms.
Goal 7 – Political Development in the Holy Roman Empire, England, and France
The student will trace the political developments of the Holy Roman Empire, England and France in medieval Europe.
7.03 Map the geopolitical developments in the British Isles from late antiquity to the Norman Conquest.
7.04 Summarize the causes and effects of the Norman Conquest on the medieval England.
7.05 Evaluate the reigns of the Anglo-Norman kings of England including William I, William II, and Henry I.
7.06 Assess the political achievements and developments of the reigns of the Plantagenet kings including but not limited to Henry II, Richard I, John, and Edward I.
7.07 Judge the influence of the Magna Carta and the English Parliament on later forms of representative government.
7.08 Trace the events of the Hundred Years’ War and Wars of the Roses.
7.09 Judge the effects of the Hundred Years’ War and Wars of the Roses on later cultural and political developments in medieval England and France
The student will trace the political developments of the nations of Spain, Portugal, the Swiss Confederation, Russia, and Eastern Europe.
8.03 Trace the political developments of the Swiss Confederation and evaluate its political distinctiveness from medieval Europe.
8.04 Summarize the cultural and political developments of eastern medieval Europe including but not limited to Poland and Hungary.
8.05 Trace the cultural and political developments in Russia from the Kievan Rus to the rise of Moscow.
Goal 9 – Economic Developments of the Late Middle Ages
The student will examine the various economic developments of medieval Europe.
9.03 Trace the causes and evaluate the lasting effects of the Bubonic Plagues during the 14thcentury on cultural and economic developments in medieval Europe.
Goal 10 – The Renaissance and Reformation
The student will evaluate the causes and effects of the Renaissance and Reformation on Europe.
10.03 Trace the cultural and intellectual developments of the Renaissance.
10.04 Assess the influence of the Renaissance as a catalyst for change in medieval Europe.
10.05 Compare the role of women in the Renaissance to previous cultural and intellectual movements of medieval Europe.
10.06 Determine the causes for the church reform movement in medieval Europe.
10.07 Trace and evaluate the influence of reformers on the Reformation including but not limited to Martin Luther, John Calvin, Erasmus, Ulrich Zwingli, Melanchthon, and Karlstadt.
10.08 Assess the effects and influence of the Reformation on Europe.
The Franklin Academy
Chair, Social Studies Department Learn NC
Original Citation: Scientia Scholae, Volume IV, Issue 1, Fall 2005
NOTE: Links have been corrected and/or deleted. The original “look and feel” of the journal has been preserved as much as possible, but the original logos have also been removed. No editing to the actual texts has been done since their original publication.