• Taylor Branch, Prize-Winning Historian, to Teach MOOC on Civil-Rights Era

    The author and historian Taylor Branch spent nearly 25 years exploring and writing about the civil-rights era, and the result was a popular trilogy of books, America in the King Years, one of which won a Pulitzer Prize. This semester Mr. Branch will share his knowledge of the period by teaching a course at the University of Baltimore and opening it up to outsiders on the Web as a massive open online course, or MOOC.The course, which starts on January 23, is built around his new book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, and will include face-to-face instruction with 20 University of Baltimore students, along with up to 100 auditors who will tune in online at no charge.The idea for the course took shape as Mr. Branch worked on the new book, a 190-page distillation of his earlier 2,300-page trilogy. Mr. Branch said teachers and professors had told him that their students enjoyed learning about the civil-rights era but that they found the three heavy volumes to be too cumbersome. He said this was even the case in a course he had taught on the subject....