The two-part online programme – “The Holocaust – An Introduction” – has been created by Tel Aviv University, the largest university in Israel, together with Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and its International Institute for Holocaust Research.
The course is part of Tel Aviv University’s new partnership with FutureLearn, the UK social learning platform that offers massive open online courses (Moocs).
Marking International Holocaust Memorial Day on January and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the course aims to track the history of the Holocaust, from the growth of Nazi ideology to life in the concentration camps as well as examining the memorial projects undertaken around the world to remember the atrocity.
FutureLearn’s online courses currently reach almost 900,000 learners worldwide and the organisers hope that the new course will increase understanding of the Holocaust for new generations of students.
Mark Lester, global head of education partnerships at FutureLearn, said: “As the world reaches the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps and the number of living survivors decreases, it becomes of the utmost importance that the lessons of this turning point in history are kept alive.
“Massive open online courses have emerged as an important means of reaching thousands of learners around the world with the highest quality learning material on a range of topical issues.”
The courses will be delivered by Havi Dreifuss, senior lecturer in Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, and Naama Shik, a leading researcher at Yad Vashem, which serves as the world centre for research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust.
Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem, welcomed the partnership, which he said would bring greater understanding to people around the world of a dark period in human history.
“Over the years, Yad Vashem has made huge efforts to promote Holocaust education and commemoration through research, archival work and education,” said Mr Shalev.
“In order to reach future generations and wide audiences around the globe, Yad Vashem welcomes the cooperation with the partners and the use of technology and modern educational platforms.”
The first of the two free courses is now available to sign up to and the programme begins on 20 April.