Course Overview

World Geography Connects to 1500 A.D. is a self-paced course for Virginia teachers taught by Dr. Don Zeigler, professor of geography at Old Dominion University. The course can be taken to earn recertification points and/or it may be taken for graduate credit. The course is taught online over the Internet.
The Fall 2014 course will run October 20 through December 1.

Geography Connects to 1500 A.D. is open to all Virginia teachers free as a recertification course. The course supports the Virginia Standards of Learning for teaching World History and Geography to 1500 AD. The purpose of the course is to help teachers incorporate more geography into the World History and Geography curriculum. It has not been designed to serve the needs of elementary teachers; a solid background in world history is necessary for doing well in the course.

Teachers may earn 45 recommended recertification points for Virginia teacher certificate renewal by taking World Geography Connects: 1500 AD to the Present. Please consult the individual responsible for awarding recertification points in your school division to determine if the recommended points will be accepted. (If that person has questions about the course, he or she may call Mollie Rosenburg at (800) 609-2680 or send an e-mail to

Teachers may also take the course for three graduate credits through Old Dominion University. (Participant is responsible for the tuition cost.). For more information about earning credit, please review the instructions on the Graduate Credit Information Page of this website or contact the professor, Dr. Don Zeigler, at or at (757) 368-4113. The course is the same, except teachers enrolled for credit will additionally be required to complete a lesson or unit plan and complete some written work. Please consult the individual responsible for awarding recertification points in your school division to determine your individual requirements for recertification. Only the Graduate Credit option of this course qualifies as College Credit; you must consult with your school division to determine which option you should pursue if you are planning to count this course toward recertification.

Syllabus for Graduate Credit Option

All teachers taking Geography Connects to 1500 A.D. must register on this Web site, and you will be e-mailed a confirmation with your login name and password.

The material for Geography Connects to 1500 A.D. is all delivered here at this website. A discussion board and quizzes are also accessed here at this website: You may work through the material and post messages on the discussion board at your convenience, but you must complete all work by the last day of the course. There are five parts to the course, and each part will take approximately five hours to complete, including study time, and not including the discussion and quiz. Each week, the discussion board and quiz for a new part will be posted. The schedule for the class is as follows:

  • Week of October 20-- Part I: The Geography Behind History
  • Week of October 27--Part II: The World Political Map
  • Week of November 3--Part III: The Geography of World Religions
  • Week of November 10 --Part IV: Trade & Commerce as Shaped by Geography & Technology
  • Week of November 17-- Part V: Ancient Egypt and the Fertile Crescent
  • Week of November 24--Catch-up time
  • Monday, December 1 - Course Closes. You will not be able to log in after 5:00pm.

The five parts of Geography Connects are summarized as follows:

Part I: The Geography Behind History

An introduction to geography and the way geographers think about the world. Considers relationships between geography and history by drawing examples from the sweep of world history from its beginning to 1500 AD. Stresses the importance of understanding relationships between people and the environment in which they live.

Part II: The World Political Map

An analysis of the way the world political map has changed over time. How people have extended political control over geographical territory is followed from hunter-gatherer societies, through city-states, empires, and nation-states. Includes comparisons between the contemporary world political map and its antecedents in the ancient and medieval world.

Part III: The Geography of Religion

An application of geographical tools and concepts to the world's major religions, particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Attempts to explain the geographic origin and routes of diffusion for selected world religions. Includes comparisons of each religion's geographic extent in 1500 AD and 2000 AD. Requires recognition of religious landscapes, including religious symbols.

Part IV: Trade and Commerce

Considers the importance of location, the physical environment, and the unequal distribution of resources in shaping patterns of trade in the centuries before 1500 AD. Illustrates the ways in which technology has been developed and used to overcome geographic barriers. Evaluates the impact of geographic exploration and discovery on changing trade routes.

Part V: Ancient Egypt and the Fertile Crescent

Using the Nile River Valley and the Fertile Crescent as case studies, we are able to see how the natural and human environments in which people live helped to shape civilization and the chronology of events. Includes coverage of the ways in which civilizations of ancient Egypt and the Fertile Crescent continue to influence the modern world.

Each part includes letters from Don, learning and practice activities, resource links, quizzes, and assignments. The quizzes, discussion board, and announcements about the class are available at this Web site.

Requirements and Expectations for the Course:

You will be expected to read each section and complete the assigned activities all contianed at this web site Part I opens Monday, October 20 and each Monday of the following four weeks, the next part of the course will be activated. The quiz for each part will be posted on Friday of the week the corresponding part opens. In addition, at this, teachers will need to participate on the discussion board and take the quiz at the end of each of the five parts. Each part will take approximately five hours, not including the discussion forum and quizzes, so that the total time expected for completion is about 35 hours.

Important! System Requirements

You will want to use either Internet Explorer 6 or greater as your internet browser for this course. The course is not designed to work with AOL's browser. And because there are many videos throughout the course content, you will need broadband, high speed internet connection.

PC System
Minimum System Requirements

Macintosh Compatible System
Minimum System Requirements