Canada in the World - Online history courses | Arts and Science ONLINE

Canada in the World

HIST 124/6.0

An introduction to major themes and events in the history of Canada placed in a North American and world context. Topics include relations between natives and newcomers, comparative colonialism, the emergence of nation-states and new social and cultural identities. Assignments emphasize analysis of historical texts and development of research and writing skills.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the fall and/or winter term

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

After taking this course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate major events and interpretive themes in Canadian
  • Compare and contrast major developments in Canadian history with important features of Canada's present in order to explicate the development of, for example, liberal-democracy, federalism, multiculturalism, and the public healthcare system
  • Connect major events in Canadian history to contemporaneous global trends and currents, such as the transnational movement of people and the dynamics of a globalized economy
  • Develop an appreciation of race, gender, and class, among other variables, as crucial components of both lived experience and analytical categories in thinking about the Canadian past
  • Synthesize the relationship between Canada’s past and present, while learning to avoid the pitfalls of presentism
  • Develop alongside a comprehension of Canadian history an understanding of ‘Canada,’ or nation, as itself historical
  • Acquire an understanding of historical change as a complex, non-linear process
  • Achieve introductory competency in the interpretation of primary and secondary historical sources, as well as use of important online archival resources
  • Develop introductory reading, writing, and research skills


This online, interactive course is an introduction to Canadian history. For anyone studying Canada’s past, the first question is where to begin? Do we start with the many Aboriginal peoples who inhabited this land long before anyone conceived of a place called Canada? Or, do we begin with the arrival of French explorers during the 1500s and the first permanent French settlements in the early 1600s? What about the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1670, which functioned much like a sovereign nation and through the fur trade controlled much of northern North America? The conquest of New France by the English in 1759? What about 1840 and the formation of the United Province of Canada? July 1st, 1867? Perhaps Canada truly became a nation at Vimy Ridge in 1917? Or was it the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which gave Canada full legal independence from Britain? Perhaps you point to 1949 when Newfoundland finally joined Confederation? The answer to the question of when Canadian history begins isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

Whichever of the above dates and events you choose, they all share an assumption that it’s possible to project the Canada we know today – a liberal, democratic, multicultural nation with a free-market economy – back into the past, often a very distant past. In this course, we’ll adopt a different approach. Rather than assume we can cast present-day Canada back into the mists of time, we will explore how, when, and why Canada first emerged as a liberal, democratic, capitalist country. Viewed this way, the history of Canada began less than two hundred years ago. Before that time, aboriginal peoples, the inhabitants of New France, and those involved in the great merchant empires of fish and fur organized their economies, politics, and societies in ways dramatically different from those of modern Canada. Indeed, it makes a lot of sense to think of these three – aboriginal societies, New France, and the merchant empires – as distinct social formations ‘before Canada,’ and we will explore each of them. We will then track the slow, uneven historical process by which these earlier ways of doing things gradually gave rise to a fourth social formation: the Canada we know today.

In looking at Canadian history from this perspective, it will be important not to assume that the societies that existed ‘before Canada’ were all naturally destined to become the liberal-democratic-capitalist country we know as modern Canada. There was nothing inevitable about it. Indeed, throughout the course we will pay particular attention to those movements, from the rebellions of 1837 to the Riel rebellions, and to the often marginalized voices, including those of working people, women, and immigrants, who challenged the dominant idea of ‘Canada’ and offered competing visions of what the country might look like and what it means to be Canadian.


Fall-Winter 2022-23
Course Dates: 
Sept. 6, 2022 - Apr. 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
Apr 14 - 28, 2023


20% - Discussion Forums (x4)
10% - Discussion and 375-word Paper
20% - 750-word Papers (x2)
15% - Role-Play
10% - Digital Exhibit
5% - Public Memory Paper
20% - Take-Home Final Exam

** Evaluation Subject to Change **


Katie-Marie McNeill, PhD C. (

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week (240 hours total) in study/ practice and online activity for HIST 124.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

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How does this affect my academics?
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Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

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Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.