Learning from the Past: A Guide for the Curious Researcher




University of Nottingham


Future Learn


Free (certificate fee: USD$ 44, optional)

Available in



This course describes skills needed to discover and critically analyze the records of the past, including sources and resources from the British Library’s collections. It is jointly offered by the University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham and the British Library through Future Learn, an online education platform.

The language of history determines how the world is viewed to understand urgent issues, such as the environment, conflict and human rights. This language is shaped by documents held in libraries and archives, and the ways in which researchers interpret these is constantly developing. Through this course, researchers at the University of Nottingham and University of Birmingham will show how the records of the past influence the way we view the world today.

Some of the learning outcomes are:

  • Developing and debating a research project with educators
  • Collecting and evaluating relevant primary sources from a variety of genres (written text, images/photos, oral history, recorded sound, web archive)
  • Evaluating how history influences the contemporary world