Whenever a course has to teach about modern European history, the course usually begins with the Renaissance and the humanist movements that shaped it. Teachers realize that this is somewhat arbitrary, but for the sake of brevity and a place to start they frequently choose it. In addition, they point out that the Renaissance and the Reformation were periods of dramatic change that ushered in the structures and ways of thinking that define the modern European framework. In the attempt to move toward the modern world, teachers tend to move quickly through the previous intellectual movements and political systems that characterized the late Middle Ages.
Come on down University of Calgary! The University of Calgary worked on developing a site that provides summaries and thematic approaches to the late Middle Ages. This tutorial is a wonderful resource for students who want to deepen their knowledge on a particular subject, as well as to review the content. Written in a straightforward style, the site is a useful resource to place the European History course in its historical context.
To use the site, a student begins by selecting Begin the Tutorial. The first page is the introduction to the theme. The site is organized around themes. Thus, one can learn more about the economic situation, the social stratification, the political disunity, the feudal system, and more. These introductory essays serve as a quick survey with just enough detail to help the student understand some of the more important historical thinking questions, such as what factors influenced the rise of the Renaissance? Moreover, in addition to introductory essays, each theme provides additional pages and resources. Some of the links go to particular topics and explore that topic in more detail. Other links take the viewer to a primary source on another site. With such a wonderful amount of sources, this tutorial is invaluable for the student who needs to review and learn more about the medieval systems in place before the modern Europe.