The dynamic course will take a look into the lives of the ordinary during extraordinary

Over 10,000 people have already signed up for Trinity College Dublin’s first ‘Massive Open Online Course’ (MOOC), which will be on Irish History.

“Irish lives in war and revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1913” will do more than just focus on familiar dates and faces: “You will encounter a different kind of war and revolution, with multiple voices and multiple truths,” assistant professor of Modern Irish History Dr. Anne Dolan said in the course’s new trailer.

More than half of those who have expressed interest in the MOOC are from outside of Ireland, mostly in countries with a larger Irish Diaspora such as the US and the UK.

The only requirement is Internet access: students can plug in through a smartphone, desktop, laptop or tablet, and will be able to interact with original documents.

The course will examine phases and changing nature of conflict during a year marked by revolution, guerilla warfare and partition, with focus on Ireland’s masses - the average men, women and children.

Over six weeks, students will be able to grapple with uncertainties and challenges to the 1916 rebellion and British response, the IRA’s ruthless guerrilla warfare, the total war in Europe and the bloody civil war from 1922.

“There’s an assumption that the lives of those of the great and the good and the powerful are in some ways more worthy of interest than the lives of ordinary people,” said TCD professor Dr. Ciaran Wallace. “And I think one of the reasons I got excited about this in the first place is the opportunity actually to imagine ordinary lives in the past.”

As told by Tim Savage, Trinity’s Associate Dean for Online Education, “Trinity is at the forefront of innovation in Ireland, and we believe there is an opportunity for the university to leverage the [groundbreaking] potential of online learning.”

“We want to challenge the silent assumption that there can be one authoritative voice claiming to have all the answers,” said TCD history lecturer Ciaran Brady. “To that end, we have designed a course intended to stimulate in you a critical attitude towards the question of whose history gets recorded and sought out, and whose history, ultimately, gets told.”

TCD is running ths course in partnership with FutureLearn. It begins in one week, on September 1; there is still time to register by visiting the website.