The syllabus is your friend

One of the great delights in listening to an exciting university course on the Internet is in following the course syllabus and discovering interesting and illuminating books. For example, the syllabus for Margaret Anderson’s course on German history, The Rise and Fall of the Second Reich led me to discover a great book on the origins of World War I, The Long Fuse. An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I by Laurence Lafore.

Yale University and MIT provide easy links to their course syllabi along with the course downloads. For other courses, you often have to do a bit of sleuthing to find the syllabi. One useful technique is to type the professor’s name, the title of the course along with the word “syllabus” into Google. If that doesn’t suffice, try adding the Google search term “site” which will limit the search to the university’s website. For example, to search for Margaret Anderson’s German history syllabus, the search would read “Margaret Anderson syllabus ‘the rise and fall of the second reich’ site:Berkeley.edu”.
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