Big History
A timeline from “Big History” shows the scope of the course.

Ever want to learn like Bill Gates? Now you can.

Bill Gates announced today that the course Big History is now available for students who want to take it online. The course, which originated in David Christian’s classroom at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, is divided into 8 segments, starting from the beginning of the universe, and ending at the modern day.

gatesharvard212Gates is personally funding the Big History Project to help bring the course to the masses.

“Big History is my favorite course of all time. It blurs the boundaries between science, geography and history and literally tells the story of the universe,” Gates said in a press release. “David Christian made it so intriguing—I loved his course and wanted to talk to him about how we could make it more available.”

The Microsoft chairman worked with Christian and University of Michigan professor Bob Bain to create a Big History high school curriculum, which is used in over 100 high schools across the country. Up until now, if you wanted a crack at the project, you were out of luck if you weren’t a high school student.

The Big History online course is free. You can work your way through it at, which includes videos, timelines, and course readings. All told, it should take around 6-8 hours to complete, and if you pass all of the quizzes along the way, you’ll be presented with a certificate that says you’ve completed the class.

If you’d rather learn about history from Breaking Bad’s Walter White, the actor Bryan Cranston will be narrating a 10-part Big History miniseries on History Channel’s H2, starting tomorrow at 10 p.m. Eastern Time and 7 p.m. Pacific.

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  • Meechel

    My daughter’s best friend is taking this at Aviation High School and loves it!

  • AstroKev

    This course appears quite similar to Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” (which is also amazingly great)

  • TheFig

    If a point for a subject is missed, it means

    (1) At school: F.

    (2) In Life: death.

    No matter how well, speedy, hi-tech, ingenious, talented one’s approach to learning in ANY course, all to-this-day known “information” of 200 previous generations has “culminated”, and still is, in death.

    The point for our physical existence is?

    To overcome the curse of death and to replenish the earth as god-like, meek (self-governing, right-thinking) begetters.

    Instead, all 7+ billion people [personified aspects of The Absolute One (sh’mA), called God] are willing and eager participants in the death-industry…

    The MEEK shall
    i n h e r i t
    t h e
    e a r t h –
    not “move to Mars”, “return as zombies”, “go to” heaven (Not a location!).
    [BTW- The earth is NOT a spinning ball, called “globe”, or “planet”, which should be obvious via the contrast between the 2 ROUND (curved periphery-opposite of straight line) bodies, called sun and moon, and the STRAIGHT horizon – daily! A ball of ANY size HAS NO horizon!]

  • Rune

    Good online courses are always welcomed, and being endorsed by famous people usually don’t hurt. I bet many will take this course just because Bill Gates recommends it. Online education is ideal for non-traditional adult students, as you can study at your own pace, and select the best courses from around the world, without leaving your home, or physical attending an education institute is not practical.

  • a a ron balakay

    Big bang is just a theory…it’s not historical no proof.

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