X-Men and Education: The Impact of Comic Books on Society



As a person who loves teaching and learning, I’m always excited when an awesome learning opportunity comes along. SmithsonianX on edX is offering a pretty cool learning opportunity: The Rise of the SuperHero and Their Impact on Pop Culture. This FREE* 5-week course will study the history of the comic book and the rise of superheroes. This is a pretty fun learning opportunity for educators and comic book fans. The course begins May 5, 2015.

For the first time ever, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is excited to offer the opportunity to go into the collection and see why superheroes are a dominant cultural force in today’s world. Not only will students be taught by Smithsonian experts, and three industry leaders – Stan Lee, Michael Uslan and David Uslan, but they will also get to ask questions and chat online with them around coursework. At last, fans, students and seekers of knowledge have the opportunity to enroll in the ultimate comic book course.


Key Questions That Will Be Addressed:

  • Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their “Golden Age” during World War II?
  • Why did the superhero genre ebb and flow in popularity over the decades?
  • How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930’s, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
  • Why was the comic book industry nearly shut down in the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s?
  • How did our superheroes become super-villains in the eyes of the government, clergy, educators, and parents of the mid-20th Century?
  • When and how did comic books become acceptable again, and eventually become valid teaching tools in universities and schools?
  • When and how did comic book artwork become accepted as a true American art form as indigenous to this country as jazz?
  • Finally, when and how did comic books become “cool” and the basis for blockbuster movies, hit TV series, top-selling video games, and acclaimed animation, while also impacting fashion and style- and even the moral and ethical codes of children- around the globe?


Can you believe it? Comic books in the history and literature classroom. Have you ever taken an edX or MOOC course? Are you interested in learning about comics and their impact on society? Truthfully, I can’t wait!

*The course is free unless you want a $50 verified certificate.

Note: I’m not sure if SmithsonianX courses will count towards professional development hours or university credit. Contact your district or academic administrator for more information. 

2 thoughts on “X-Men and Education: The Impact of Comic Books on Society

  1. How cool!! This looks like it will go perfectly with a project that our 9th grade team already has in place, where English focuses on creating heroes! Thanks for sharing! I’ve seen edX around, but I haven’t actually taken a course.

    • I’ve been saying I was going to do one for a while. This seemed like the perfect course for my first MOOC. I actually had to Google MOOC because I didn’t know what that meant. #NoShame

      I’m hoping I can get some cool info so I can make a workshop about comics and science & history. That and I just want to do it because it seems fun.

What's on your mind Dear Reader?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s