Guardians of Scotland

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Guardians of Scotland


An online history course on the First Scottish War of Independence. At your own pace the booklets take 2-4+ hours/ week over 6 weeks. From 6th January - 16th February 2018. No prior experience needed.

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The course:

- Explore the stories of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Good Sir James Douglas.

- Evaluate original sources and draw your own conclusions.

- Track and consider your understanding of major themes and events.

The course includes:

- A weekly journal with a narrative history, timelines, sources and activities.

- A Facebook page with regular posts of articles, images, original sources and multimedia.

- A guided discussion each weekend. (Sundays: 9 pm and Midnight GMT for an hour each).

There are no tests, papers or assessments, but each booklet includes some quick, optional activities such as investigating a particular original source or evaluating a historical character. By working through the course you can expect the following outcomes:

- A clear, evidence-based understanding of events at the time.
- Experience in working with a wide range of primary and secondary sources.
- Awareness of how to go about building evidence-based historical narratives.
- Familiarity with the options for using multimedia to promote history/ historical narratives.
- Plenty of approaches to continuing your historical research.

Posts/ threads are open at any time, so Sunday meet-ups are also entirely optional.

Guide: David Morrison MA (Hons), BSc (Psych) Open (Hons), Dip Lib, MCLIP, MBPsS, FHEA.
Experience: 20 years lecturing with the Open University - I'm on a LOA this year to try out a few projects of my own.

Guardians of Scotland starts with the early conflict when William Wallace and Sir Andrew Murray/ de Moray were to the fore. However, the fighting lasted for over 30 years and events become driven by Robert I or ‘The Bruce’ and his aide Sir James Douglas.

Participants will follow a thorough review of events during the conflict, while using a range of methods to investigating core issues and understandings about the period. The content is suitable for beginners and enthusiasts.

The suggested 2-4+ hours is sufficient to explore the PDF booklets and to scan through linked sites and media. However, by accessing a wide variety of archives and sources the course also opens up a route into much further investigation of the whole period.


- The Maid of Norway

This section covers events leading up to and including the start of the war, largely involving Wallace and de Moray.

- Robert I of Scotland

The conflict between Robert the Bruce and Edward I of England is discussed and Robert the Bruce is crowned as King of Scotland.

- The Dragon Banner

Edward I unleashes a campaign to defeat Bruce and to control Scotland.

- Capture the Castles

Robert I and James Douglas lead the Scottish fightback against Edward I's forces.

- The Battle of Bannockburn


- Talk of Templars

Reconsidering and evaluating Bannockburn and the events that followed.

- Lord of the Marches

The Good Sir James Douglas' guerrilla campaign.

- The Sow

The Seige of Berwick and related events

- Sovereignty

The Scots' Victory

- The Castle of the Stars

The Good Sir James sets off to take King Robert's heart on crusade.

- The Scottish Crusade

- The role of the Scottish Church within the conflict.


There are a few adjustments or improvements following from the Jacobites course such as:

  • Links to locations within the text, as a sort of on-the-spot map/ gazetteer.
  • A ‘lively’, events-driven narrative with investigations of parts of the narrative slotted in.
  • In addition to the journal and the Facebook - web pages, (with password). This seems a good way to take pieces of 3D, castle cutaways and film clips aside for discussion alongside weekly themes. I kind of felt these could get a bit left behind among posts on Facebook.

Themes/ discussion topics under preparation include:

- The Medieval Arms Trade
- The Crusades
- Women participating in the War
- The ‘Celtic’ Church
- Material culture
- Myth and Sovereignty


I asked how things were going during the Jacobites course and these were among the replies:

"Thanks for all the incredible work you've done for this course."

"I also must say, what fantastic work you've put into this. I do my own presentations, so I know have long it takes."

"Finding time to devote to this is tricky at this time of year but I have put a line through a couple of days next week to really immerse myself. Fantastic work David which is now becoming a major reference work."

"Really enjoying this and you're doing a fantastic piece of work for us."

"Thank you David. I enjoyed learning about the history of Scotland."

"Thank you for the magnificent course. I‘ve learned a lot."

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