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Through a study of the changing English language, students learn to recognize the shift from Elizabethan English to what we know of today as modern English. This subject can be explored through a number of distance learning courses and programs.
Students desiring to study the history of modern English can find online standalone courses or degree programs at several traditional four-year institutions and private distance learning schools. Degrees solely in modern English history aren't available, but this subject is a typical one in bachelor's and master's programs devoted to English.
Online options include a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Arts in English, both of which incorporate coursework in language history and literary periods. Graduate-level programs require students to have a bachelor's degree, which may need to include an English major or minor.
Learning & Coursework
Distance learning programs focused on modern English history and literature are heavy in independent reading and writing requirements, so it's no surprise that coursework can usually be completed totally online. Students access lectures, assignments and other materials in a virtual classroom environment managed by their schools. Distance learners usually have access to an online library, which includes the ability to search literary journal databases or other files. Message boards and class chat rooms may be used for discussing English works.
Opportunities to learn modern English history through distance learning courses may begin with these courses. Students find many schools offer online courses which provide a history of the English language and the time period in which the shift occurred. These courses generally follow a similar guideline from Old English to the early modern English and its standardization throughout many countries. Students may also study the Renaissance and Tudor England and how modern English came into fruition. Online course topics can include the following:
- The History of the English Language
- Medieval and Renaissance Studies
- Tudor and Stuart Britain
- Renaissance Literature
In distance learning English literature classes, students will study modern English history as it pertains to literature. Students focus on classic works of Modern English to get the scope the period of language covers. The Tudor period in England was when early English shifted into what is also known as Shakespearean English. Students may want to consider adding earlier literature classes for comparison purposes, such as studying Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which was written in Middle English, the predecessor of Modern English. Distance learning classes could include the following:
- Medieval English Literature
- Renaissance English Literature
- The Holy Bible as Literature
Other Options for Studying Modern English History
Some schools offer distance learning programs for individuals who wish to take uncommon courses or majors. Bachelor's and masters' degrees are offered through some of these colleges for arts, sciences and business, though students may also be able to take classes individually, without earning a degree at the end of their studies. For online interdisciplinary programs, students can design their own curriculum in conjunction with professors or advisors.
Distance learners have the option of studying modern English history by taking courses in the field or by pursuing broader degrees that include studies in the subject.