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Commanding Heights
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Educators Guide
  Contents: Content Overview | Technology Required | Teaching with Commanding Heights Online | Teacher Survey

Extras: Video Tour of Commanding Heights features
Windows Media: high | low   Quicktime 5: high | low   RealPlayer: high | low

  This site is a new kind of educational resource from public broadcasting that includes a netcast of the complete television series integrated with a broad range of interactive information resources. We want to hear from you as an educator about what works, what doesn't work, and what we could improve. Please send us your feedback.

  What studies does this site support?

  This site is designed for students of economics, modern world history, political science, and international relations at the college and university undergraduate level. It can also be useful in upper-level high school courses associated with the same topics.

  What does the site offer?

  This site offers a comprehensive overview of global economic history from the beginning of the First World War through 2002. Along with a six-hour video narrative divided into short chapters, it includes extensive interviews, essays, charts, reports, an interactive atlas of history, and economic data related to the topics of globalization, economic development, and international trade.

  Content Overview of the Site and the Series

  Synopsis of Video Episodes
Key Themes Articulated in the Series
Key Questions and Issues That Can Be Explored Using the Site
Key Content Features of the Site

  What technology is required?


There are two versions of the site available, a rich media version designed for users with recent-model computers and high-speed Internet connections (cable modem, DSL, T-1, or better), and a low-bandwidth version for users with older computers and slower, dial-up modems.

The rich-media version of Commanding Heights Online includes video chapters with synchronized enhancements and an interactive atlas of history (the Time-Map) linked to 41 separate interactive, multi-year country reports. This rich interactivity makes substantial demands on your computer and its connection to the Internet. Apple's QuickTime media player (Version 5.0.2 or later) is needed to run the rich-media version on your PC or Macintosh.

The text-friendly low-bandwidth version includes all the text, images, and graphs available on the rich-media version, but displays the information in common Web pages. It also includes the video, but without the synchronized enhancements. The low-bandwidth site video is available in a choice of three player formats: Real Media (G2 or later), Windows Media (7 or later), and QuickTime 4. Links to related content for each chapter are available from each episode chapter menu.

The broadband and low-bandwidth versions of the site are easily accessible from each other as long as your computer is equipped to handle both. (For complete technical requirements, see "Technology Specifications for the Rich-Media [Broadband] Version" below.) The upper right corner of every full-size browser page of the site contains a link to its mirror page in the other version. You can experiment by trying the crossover link in the upper right corner of this page.

While both versions of the site include high-quality streaming-media versions of the complete video program, the size of the video image in both versions is limited. For presentation to large groups, some users may prefer to order a DVD or VHS cassette version of the series and use those in class along with related materials on the site.

  Choose from Four Versions

  Technology Specifications for the Rich-Media (Broadband) Version
Technology Specifications for the Low-Bandwidth Version
Using the Site with DVD Video
Using the Site with VHS Cassettes

  Teaching with Commanding Heights Online


The materials on this site are organized and interlinked in a manner that supports both classroom use and independent study activities.

The site can be used both as a primary teaching "text" to introduce students to important events and ideas related to political economy, and also as a secondary resource to foster critical thinking about economic issues through structured research and comparison of outcomes.

The six-hour video series presents a specific viewpoint on economic affairs (based on the book Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, 3rd edition, 2002). The information contained within the site is sufficiently comprehensive that it can support a wide range of interpretation and analysis, however.

To apply the resources of the site to the teaching of a particular subject, educators should first decide which version of the site is most appropriate for their students. A look at the technology section of this guide should clarify any questions about this decision.

  General Strategies for Teaching With Commanding Heights Online
  broadband version
low-bandwidth version

  Guide to Site Resouces for AP and Upper-Level High School Economics Courses
  broadband version
low-bandwidth version

  Sample Units for the Classroom
  Introducing Economic Growth (for Economics courses): broadband version | low-bandwidth version
Shock Therapy in Latin America & Eastern Europe (Economics and History): broadband version | low-bandwidth version

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