Online Course on Music’s Big Bang : The Genesis of Rock ‘n’ Roll

In the array of its courses, Coursera has introduced another online course “Music’s Big Bang: The Genesis of Rock ‘n’ Roll” in association with the University of Florida. This course is all about the history of American Music.

It covers the answers of various questions such as how music brought to America by immigrants, what names were given to the music of that time etc. In this course students will get an opportunity to go through the music ingredients in that stew such as blues, jazz and gospel and explore rock ‘n’ roll’s first half decade, around 1955 to 1960.

This course also includes cultural factors like advancement of technology, migration of rural Americans from the South to the cities of the North and the threats to mainstream American values.

Duration of Course

The session will start from March 13, 2014 for the duration of 8 weeks. The course will demand 4-6 hours/week for study. The course will be taught in English followed by English subtitles.

Course Format

The course consists of video lecture classes of about 8 to 12 minutes. Students are also required to answer weekly quiz questions from the videos. Projects are optional but will be very exciting for the students.


No prior knowledge required. This course is open for all.

Course Syllabus

  • Week 1 What is rock ‘n’ roll? It’s a whole lot more than just music. It’s a business, an attitude, a cultural phenomenon, a showcase of technology and more.
  • Week 2 Before there was rock: Major musical genres, technological advances and players integral to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. The genres include jazz, blues, country, western, bluegrass, gospel, popular music and more.
  • Week 3 Mississippi Ghosts: W.C. Handy and the Delta Blues of Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton and Lead Belly.
  • Week 4 A Tale of Three Cities: New Orleans’ jazz and early rock ‘n roll, Chicago and its electric blues, and Memphis, Tenn., home of Elvis Presley and Sun Records.
  • Week 5 The emergence of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley; the Sun Records “Class of 1955” and “The Day the Music Died.”
  • Week 6 The major labels finally awaken and start to rock: The search is on for the next big thing, Elvis II.
  • Week 7 The five styles of rock ‘n’ roll as postulated by author Charlie Gillett.
  • Week 8 Summation and project review.

Statement of Accomplishment

Online learners who will successfully complete this course will be given a statement of accomplishment. Those who will complete this course with distinction will be given a signed statement of accomplishment by the instructor.

About the Instructor
Professor David Carlson

He is the Executive Director of the Center for Media Innovation at University of Florida. He has experienced the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Most of the scholars believe that he was born in the same year when the first rock ‘n’ roll song was recorded. Throughout his life, he has been a music student. He recently was awarded the Society of Professional Journalists.

To apply for the course, kindly follow the Coursera’s website.

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