Internet history MOOC now offered in self-paced format

Alan Turing

The modern day Internet and today’s electronic computing technologies can trace their roots back to Bletchley Park, one of the world’s first great large-scale cross-disciplinary research labs that featured the cryptography, code breaking and computer science work of British mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing during World War II.

While the story of Turing’s life and his efforts to crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code were dramatized in the recently released film “The Imitation Game,” students interested in learning how technology and the Internet have evolved since Turing’s groundbreaking work in communication and computation can enroll in UMSI Clinical Associate Professor Charles Severance’s free online class, “Internet History, Technology, and Security.”

The course looks at how the Internet and worldwide web were developed and how they evolved, seeking to simply examine the topic rather than delve into it from a programming or technical perspective.

Coursera, an education platform that gives users the opportunity to take free online courses from top universities and organizations from around the world, launched in 2012 with IHTS as one of the first 20 massive open online courses (MOOCs) made available to students. Now, IHTS has become one of the first Coursera courses to pioneer a new self-paced format that allows students to begin courses at any time and complete them at their own pace.

Charles Severance

Severance, who also reports for IEEE Computer magazine, includes in the course interviews from technology leaders so students can hear from Internet innovators in their own words about what went right and what went wrong, and allows them to construct their own views of the complex process that resulted in the Internet we see and use today.

Posted December 9, 2014