History (HIST) 486

The Industrial Revolution (Revision 1)

HIST 486 course cover

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, see current revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None. Credit in at least one history course is recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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HIST 486 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Technology pervades our contemporary world. In kitchens, living rooms, and workplaces, many Canadians use daily a host of highly sophisticated devices. But the microwave, the VCR, and the desktop computer are only the latest wave in a series of inventions that have transformed our lives. This course introduces students to the events that form the background of modern technology and industry, examining the history of the Industrial Revolution.

The course focuses on the ways in which a series of changes in technology transformed peoples lives. The shift from domestic production to factory production that lay at the heart of the Industrial Revolution involved much more than simply a change of workplace. New ways of looking at the world--philosophically, politically, and scientifically--were part of this process, as were new relationships between women and men as well as between employee and employer. Subsequent events as disparate as the European expansion into Africa and the campaign for free trade in nineteenth-century Britain owed much to the changes wrought by industrialization. Early British industrialization (“the industrial revolution”) was a profound event that deserved careful and critical study.


  • Unit 1: Global and Local Aspects of Industrialization
  • Unit 2: Early Industrialization and Its Impact
  • Unit 3: The Social Consequences of Industrialization: A Case Study
  • Unit 4: Organized Labour and Industrialization
  • Unit 5: The Meaning of the Industrial Revolution: Debates, Historiography, Concepts


To receive credit for HIST 486, you must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final examination and a composite course grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 20%
Assignment 4 20%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Textbooks and Pamphlets

Rule, John. 1986. The Labouring Class in Early Industrial England, 1750-1850. London and New York: Longman.

Wrigley, E. A. 1988. Continuity, Chance and Change: The Character of the Industrial Revolution in England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aspin, Chris. 1981. The Cotton Industry. Princes Riseborough, Buckinghamshire: Shire Publications. (PDF)

Other Materials

The course materials include a study guide, a student manual, and a book of readings.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HIST 486 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1.