For 25 years, a nonprofit organization called Facing History and Ourselves has provided civic education programs to middle and high school children. By addressing the failures of civil society to address racism, sexism, and other issues, the organization brings to students a compelling way to consider the morality of many historical actions.
The organization’s educational programs are very popular. The group provides numerous workshops to help educators learn how to present these topics, and it estimates more than 13,000 educators use its programs today.
Five years ago, Facing History developed a web site, and today its site (http://www.facinghistory.org) receives 15,000 visitors per month.
Soon, the organization will launch an online curriculum, known as Online Campus. This program will provide an interactive civics course for students by having students look at their own racial, national, and cultural identity. It will ask students challenging questions, such as, “Who ‘belongs’ in a society? Who does not? Why?”
The Online Campus will explore specific historical examples of intolerance, such as the World War II Holocaust. Other programs will examine eugenics and Rwanda.
The Online Campus also will enable educators from around the world to collaborate on lesson plans and hold online discussions with scholars and Facing History staff. This will help the organization continually tap educators from around the world for ideas on how to strengthen its programs and make them meaningful for students of all ages.