2015 brought a lot of interesting opportunities for our Five-Minute Medievalist, Danièle Cybulskie, including the chance to use her expertise to create a new, fully online course on medievalism in collaboration with Conestoga College. The course is called The Middle Ages and the Modern World: Facts and Fiction, and it’s available through OntarioLearn for students registering through any of six Ontario colleges (Cambrian, Canadore, Conestoga, Northern, Sault, Fleming, and St. Lawrence). This term, the instructor will be Cybulskie, herself.
“I’m really proud of this class,” says Cybulskie. “Conestoga’s instructional designer and web designer helped me to create interactive activities, maps, videos, and loads of hyperlinks so that the content is more than just flat PowerPoint slides.” That content includes everything from basic knowledge of the Middle Ages (what did they eat?) to how our culture views the medieval world, using examples from film, television, video games, tourism, LARP, the SCA, and “medieval experiences” like Medieval Times. “I really wanted to look closely at the shorthand we use to describe and ‘recreate’ the medieval,” Cybulskie explains. “Some of our assumptions about the Middle Ages have a pretty solid foundation, but many don’t. My goal is to get students to recognize how modern thinking shapes the way we look at the past.”
Because medievalism is a broad topic, this course narrows the focus by concentrating on Western Europe in the Middle Ages, and contemporary Western medievalism. Students will learn some basic history in order to better understand the period medievalism recreates, so that they can take a more in-depth look. There’s only one snag: “After this class, it’ll be harder for the students to watch medievalist TV without noticing the little details,” laughs Cybulskie, “but that only makes things more interesting.”
Registration for Ontario colleges is now open, so if you’re interested, don’t delay – Cybulskie’s class begins next week. The Middle Ages and the Modern World: Facts and Fiction starts Tuesday, January 12 on OntarioLearn, and runs through to April 19. For more information and links to register at partner colleges, check out the course description on the OntarioLearn website.