Thank you for sharing the Big History Project (BHP). After a quick perusal of the BHP website, a few thoughts:

1) The BHP website "Credits" page lists Further Reading for Chapters 1-5. I find 16 books listed, the majority of these from the past decade. The most recent book listed was published in 2013. The oldest publication date listed is 1988.

For its public face and presentation page, some may find it odd that a "big picture" summary of so many years of history does not offer an extensive bibliography and chooses to limit recommendations for further reading to:
- few resources
- exclusively titles which are recent.

2) Quote from BHP website: "... the Big History story has developed over time, and will continue to evolve."

- This notice provides a heads up or fair warning that content may be in a state of flux. When trust is given based on outward appearance while contents may be unknown, this may bring to mind thoughts of blank checks or of the Trojan horse.

- Once accepted as a mainstream education tool, in what ways might BHP evolve? Will changes to BHP be documented and made known? Or might changes be made without transparency?

- Will this be a one-size-fits-all nationalized curriculum? What vast stores of knowledge would be left on the shelf if all schools taught the same narrow selection from the many past centuries of accumulated knowledge? A statement on the BHP website, seeking early adopters to "create a movement" suggests that BHP developers "can customize the course, aligning it with PBL, STEM, and other unique environments." Ongoing, will changes be offered as options, respecting local control of schools?

3) The home page of the BHP website describes the Big History Project as a "Common Core-aligned course". With CCSS currently consisting only of standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, does this imply alignment to ELA? Additional mention of CCSS is at a high level and does not provide information: "Built to hit Common Core, C3 and state standards built from the ground up to align with the expectations of the CCSS, starting with the learning outcomes and including the assessment and lesson activities."

4) In "preparing it for free public access", will BHP online software track and collect data on users?

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
At least if there is a textbook, parents can skim it to quickly get an idea of what is covered in the course.
Agreed. A textbook version may be less portable, yet books offer advantages such as:
- stability of content,
- transparent publication history (version/edition, copyright date, ISBN, authorship),
- no data tracking of readers,
- access:
- - any number of persons may use/read/share a book,
- - a book may be used/read for an indefinite length of time without additional costs imposed,
- - a book has no scheduled outage or downtime,
- - a book has no unplanned outage or downtime,
- - a reader can access book pages in any order,
- - - parents can access book pages:
- - - can thumb through to see what is being taught/learned,
- - - can flip pages to observe context and tone of the information provided,
- - - can ascertain gaps/omissions/censorship... what is NOT being taught.


A highly summarized "big history" may be valuable as a map or travel guide for identifying where a person may wish to spend their time, but cannot replace visiting the source. To the degree that "the Big History Project emphasizes inquiry, analysis, and argument over content knowledge", some may say students ought to be encouraged to compare/contrast BHP material with source documents in context. This may include learning to read cursive, and understanding Roman Numerals.