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Richard III MOOC re-launches at Leicester

University of Leicester and FutureLearn launch course in the anniversary month of King's reinterment

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | February 27, 2016 | Higher education

As the first anniversary of the reinterment of Richard III approaches, the University of Leicester is re-launching its highly popular online course that explores what it was really like to live in the world of the last Plantagenet King.

The latest run of the free ‘England in the Time of King Richard III’ MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, will be launching Monday 7 March – and will offer an insight into life during 15th century England.

The course, which is offered for free by the University of Leicester in association with FutureLearn, builds a picture of the England that Richard III inhabited in the 15th century and comes from the scholars in archaeology, history and literature who helped uncover the monarch.

It includes detailed video footage of preparations for the reinterment, interviews with the Dean of Leicester and others involved in last year’s landmark event.

Deirdre O’Sullivan, Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said: “The course will explore a time that saw huge upheavals, including savage dynastic warfare, shifting allegiances among a powerful aristocracy, and significant depopulation. Students will also learn about how workers become more prosperous as wages rose, and how the introduction of printing transformed access to literacy and books.” 

The six week course will cover a different feature of Richard III’s England each week, including:

•   The Wars of the Roses and medieval warfare
•   The lives of farmers, peasants and townsfolk
•   Books, literacy and the arrival of print
•   Death and commemoration
•   Medieval food
•   How historians and archaeologists wove together the story of Richard III’s journey to Bosworth and burial in Leicester  

“We think we’ve developed a course that will really enhance your interest and understanding of the period,” said Deirdre O’Sullivan.

“As well as the way in which scholars go about identifying the questions that need to be answered and bringing evidence to bear on them. There are many controversies about the period and we hope that by the end of the course you will be armed with enough knowledge to formulate your own views of the credibility, or otherwise, of some of the theories around.”

To register for the England in the Time of King Richard III course, go to

IMAGES: Photographs from the day of Richard III’s reinterment, courtesy of University of Leicester.

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