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A Level History On-Line Course - Online

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Basic English reading and writing skills, as full tutor support is given.
  • Academic Title
    AS/A2 - A level in History. Both AS and A2 level courses and examinations must be successfully completed to gain a full A level. Specification: Edexcel (AS) 8HI01 and Edexcel (A2) 9HI01
  • Course description
    Course Synopsis

    We offer this full A Level course in History. On completion of your two part course you will be able to:

        * Recall, select and deploy historical knowledge accurately
        * Communicate historical knowledge
        * Present historical explanations
        * Show understanding of appropriate concepts
        * Arrive at substantiated judgements

    History, as its name suggests, is a study of the past. It is certainly true to say that in order to understand the conflicts and difficulties of the present world you need to understand what has happened over previous years. Many of today’s politicians and world leaders are well aware of the events of the past and often use them as guidelines in dealing with present problems and crises. History encourages you to absorb and learn key facts and data before analysing which pieces of information are the most important and most significant. A key skill of any historian is to make an informed judgement on an important historical issue having weighed up all of the information and evidence available.

    From 2008 onwards, History, like most A-Levels, is altering its format and reducing the number of units/modules from 6 to 4. This means that there are two units to be studied at AS Level (1 and 2), and two units to be studies at A2 Level (3 and 4).

    All of the information within the units is written in line with the requirements of the Edexcel examination board specification. All units are broken down into clear chronological periods and topics, and students should spend the amount of time studying for each topic as advised by their course tutor.

    There are regular short assignments set throughout each unit, along with model/specimen exam questions also. Key words and definitions are also highlighted and explained. At the end of each module there is a formal tutor-marked assessment which, when completed, should be sent to your tutor, via e-mail or conventional post.

    This course focuses on 20th century History, specifically in relation to the USA, the Soviet Union and Britain. Key historical figures covered by the course include Churchill, Stalin, Kennedy and Reagan. The AS and A2 modules link together and students are advised to select an A2 coursework option within this 100 year historical period and which complements, but not duplicates, what they have already studied during the course.

    AS Level
    Historical Themes in Breadth
    Unit 1: A World Divided: Communism and Democracy in the 20th Century
    Overview of the Module:

    This option concentrates on the theme of contrasting ideologies, with particular emphasis on how Communism developed and, in some societies, succeeded in overthrowing existing authority in the first half of the 20th century. This option also concentrates on how the USA responded to the challenge of Communism during that time and on the development of and challenges to democracy in the USA. This option enables students to understand the importance of ideas and beliefs in the policies developed by states, how and why ideology is frequently a cause of both challenge and conflict, within and between states, and also gives rise to debates about the rights of citizens.
    Stalin’s Russia 1924-53

    The struggle for power- the making of the vozhd in 1924-29: personalities and policies.

    Transforming the Soviet Union: the collectivisation of agriculture and its social and economic impact; industrialisation and its economic and social impact; the three five year plans; changing social policies.

    Persecution and control: the origins and course of the purges; culture and the arts in the service of a totalitarian regime.

    The making of a superpower: the Great Patriotic War; devastation, war production; victory.
    Format of the Exam:

    Unit 1: A World Divided: Communism and Democracy in the 20th Century features a question on Stalin’s Russia 1924-53 and Politics, Presidency and Society in the USA, 1968-2001. Candidates must choose one question from two on each topic.

    The examination is one hour 20 minutes long in total, with each question allocated 40 minutes.

    From Edexcel Specification:

    ‘The questions will require candidates to present historical explanations and assess their significance in the historical context of events, individuals’ ideas, attitudes and/or beliefs, and the ways in which they influenced behaviours and action’.
    Politics, Presidency and Society in the USA, 1968-2001

        * The Presidencies of Nixon, Ford, carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton: reasons for the outcomes of elections; Watergate and the constitutional issues to which it gave rise.
        * Social issues and their political; impact: feminism, the rights of minorities; religious belief; the importance of the Supreme Court.
        * Popular culture: the media, film, television, radio and journalism; the importance of sport for race relations.
        * The debate over the role of the state in the economy- Reagan and the New Right: ‘Reaganomics’ and free market ideas.

    Format of the Exam:

    Unit 1: A World Divided: Communism and Democracy in the 20th Century features a question on Stalin’s Russia 1924-53 and Politics, Presidency and Society in the USA, 1968-2001. Candidates must choose one question from two on each topic.

    The examination is one hour 20 minutes long in total, with each question allocated 40 minutes.

    From Edexcel Specification:

    ‘The questions will require candidates to present historical explanations and assess their significance in the historical context of events, individuals’ ideas, attitudes and/or beliefs, and the ways in which they influenced behaviours and action’.
    British History Depth Studies
    Unit 2: Britain in the Later 20th Century: Responding to Change
    Overview of the Module:

    In understanding the relevant chronology, this option concentrates on key developments in the political, social and cultural development of Britain in the second half of the 20th century, with particular emphasis on understanding in some depth the key issues that challenged Labour and Conservative politicians, including the extent of consensus between them, why consensus was fractured and with what consequences. It also gives students the opportunity to understand key cultural developments in the second half of the century, including the developments that challenged existing perspectives, attitudes and beliefs.
    British Political History 1945-90: Consensus and Conflict

        * The Labour election victory of 1945: reasons for it and key features of domestic policy of Labour governments of 1945-51; extent to which this was ‘an age of austerity’.
        * The Conservative government of 1951-64: extent of continuity with Labour objectives; key features of domestic policy (economic management, housing, unemployment); rising living standards.
        * Labour and Conservative governments, 1964-79: reasons for growing domestic problems (inflation, wages policy, relations with trade unions).
        * The Conservative election victory of 1979: reason for it and key features of the demotic policy of Thatcher government; domestic achievements; reasons why the Thatcher era was controversial; reasons for her fall in 1990.

    Format of the Exam:

    British Political History 1945-90: Consensus and Conflict requires students to answer two source-based questions, question (a) and question (b). There will be approximately 7-9 unseen sources of approximately 550 words in total. Theses sources will only be made available with the examination paper and not beforehand.

    The first question a) is worth 20 marks and will focus on the student reaching a judgement by analysis, cross-referencing and evaluation of source material.

    The second question (b) is worth 40 marks and asks candidates to address an historical view or claim using two of the sources along with their own knowledge. There will be a choice of (b) questions- (b) (i) or (b) (ii).

    The examination is one hour 20 minutes long in total.

    AS total examining time- 2 hours 40 minutes (50% of full A Level)
    A2 Level

    Depth Studies and Associated Historical Controversies
    Unit 3: War and Peace: 20th Century International Relations
    Overview of the Module:

    This option concentrates on international diplomacy from the late 19th to the late 20th century. It focuses on the need for, and robustness of, alliance systems and the reasons for conflict between states. Students are required to study a range of factors associated with the making of alliances, their significance and impact and the importance of armaments policies as an adjunct or threat to the peaceful resolution of disputes. They also address, and are invited to pass reasoned judgement upon, issues which have provoked disagreement and controversy among historians. A key element of study in this option lies in the evaluation of interpretations related to attempts at international co-operation and the ways and reasons for failure of co-operation and conflict resolution.
    A World Divided: Superpower Relations 1944-90

        * The post-Stalin thaw and the bid for peaceful coexistence; Khrushchev and the response of Dulles, Eisenhower and Kennedy.
        * The arms race, 1949-63: nuclear technology; delivery systems, the Cuban missile crisis; the Test Ban Treaty.
        * Sino-Soviet relations, 1949-76: alliance to confrontation in Asia and its impact on US policy.
        * Détente, 1969-1980: the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and agreements; Helsinki Accords; the impact of economic realities.

    Associated controversies

       1. Why did the Cold War between the superpowers emerge in the years to 1953?
       2. Why did the Cold War come to an end in the 1980s?

    Format of the Exam:

    There are two sections- A and B. Candidates are required to answer one question from Section A and one question from Section B (each from a choice of two). Section A is worth 30 marks while section B is worth 40 marks.

    In Section A, the essay questions will have an analytical focus and will require candidates to reach substantiated judgements on a historical issue or problem.

    In Section B, candidates are provided with between five and six unseen secondary sources of approximately 400 words in total per question. These sources are only available with the examination paper.

    The question will require candidates to compare the source material while exploring an issue of historical debate, and then reach substantiated judgements in the light of their own knowledge and understanding of the issues of interpretation and controversy.

    The examination is 2 hours in total.

    Total A2 Level examining time- 2 hours (excluding coursework).

    Adapted From Edexcel Specification
    Unit 4 - Coursework

    At A2 Level there is a compulsory coursework unit but students can choose the area of History they study. Students must address key aspects of a chosen theme over a period of at least 100 years in order to develop their understanding of the process of change over a long period of time. Students will investigate issues relating to the long and short-term causes and consequences of change and will demonstrate an understanding of the factors that may accelerate, consolidate or delay the process of change.

    There are 45 Edexcel approved and designed coursework programmes. By studying them on the link above (or on pages 76-95 of the specification), you should choose an option that is appropriate in consultation with your course tutor.

    You do not need prior approval to use these options. However, some combinations are prohibited to ensure there is no overlap with Units 1, 2 and 3. Prohibited combinations are made clear in the coursework pages of the specification.

    Students must select a period in consultation with their course tutor and the need to jointly develop a short introductory course or do some background reading that will provide an overview of the key issues of their chosen topic within a 100 year period.

    Students must complete their coursework programme in two parts:

        * Part A involves the completion of an in-depth enquiry into the short-term significance of a key event, individual, development or movement within the period of their chosen study.
        * Part B requires the student to set their chosen event or individual in a broader context, exploring the process of change within a wider historical timeframe.

    Edexcel designed History coursework has been designed to ensure that, along with studying Unit 3, students follow a broad and coherent course in which they study two periods or two countries.

    The function of this coursework unit therefore to be contrastive and it must link with the concept of Unit 3 while addressing issues within a different period, a different country or in a distinctly different theme.

    Oxford College ODL History students must therefore be aware that the content of the coursework unit must not duplicate the content of the AS course (units 1 and 2). In this case, although Part B of the coursework may focus on the process of change over a whole extended period, Part A must not focus on content which has been studied at AS Level.

    Adapted From Edexcel Specification

    Total A-Level examining time- 4 hours 40 minutes (coursework additional).

    Assessment

    Each unit is worth a different amount and tests the student on the following key skills:

    Unit One (AS Level) - Worth 25% of total A Level

        * Recall, select and display historical knowledge appropriately, clear explanation, analysis and judgement. Focus on key concepts such as causation, continuity and change within an historical context as well as the relationship between key features and characteristics of the periods studied.

    Unit Two (AS Level) - Worth 25% of total A Level

        * Recall, select and display historical knowledge appropriately, clear explanation, analysis and judgement. Focus on key concepts such as causation, continuity and change within an historical context as well as the relationship between key features and characteristics of the periods studied.
        * Analyse appropriate source material and evaluate how aspects of the past have been interpreted and represented in different ways.

    Unit Three (A2 Level) - *Note this is worth 30% of total A Level (single most important unit)

        * Recall, select and display historical knowledge appropriately, clear explanation, analysis and judgement. Focus on key concepts such as causation, continuity and change within an historical context as well as the relationship between key features and characteristics of the periods studied.
        * Evaluate how aspects of the past have been interpreted and represented in different ways.

    Unit Four (A2 Level) - Worth 20% of total A-Level (coursework)

        * Recall, select and display historical knowledge appropriately, clear explanation, analysis and judgement. Focus on key concepts such as causation, continuity and change within an historical context as well as the relationship between key features and characteristics of the periods studied.
        * Analyse and evaluate appropriate source material.

    International

    If you are based outside the UK, it may be possible to sit your examination through your local British Council, depending on your location. Please contact the examination board EDEXCEL for details on examination centres in your country.

    What's Included

    Tutor support for two years. Students are required to arrange and pay for examinations, students should note exam dates for the syllabus via the exam board website. Details of examination dates and examination enrolment deadlines are included in the 'Student Welcome Pack'.

    Additional Information

    Book List
    AS:

    Britain Since 1945: A Political History Fifth Edition, Childs D (Routledge, 6th ed., 2004)

    Access to History: Politics, Presidency and Society in the USA 1968 – 2001, Vivienne Sanders  (Hodder & Stoughton, Published October 2008)

    Access to History: Stalin’s Russia, 1924-53, Michael Lynch (Hodder Murray, Published June 2008)
    A2:

    A2 Edexcel GCE History: A World Divided: Superpower Relations, 1944-90 (Heinemann, Published July 2009)

    Further Information

    Please note that this course is available in online format only. You will need to have one of the following packages to access your course online:

    Windows: Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista - Acrobat Reader 8.0 and above
    Macintosh: Mac OS X, Mac OS 9.2 - Acrobat Reader 8.0 and above

    As an A Level student you will have access to our online 'Common Room', where you are able to receive the latest course updates, extra materials and information. You will also be able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.

    Once enrolled, your username, password and personal Oxford College Student number will be emailed to you within 5 working days, which will give you access to your course materials via the ‘Common Room’.

    The full A Level will be a 2 year course, AS Exams to be taken in 2009 and A2 in 2010. Due to Examination Board restrictions, there is no flexibility to complete this course any sooner.

    Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.

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