In spite of the recent terrible events in Paris, word is that the COP21 climate talks will go ahead as planned. Are you prepared?
I decided to do something different this year and signed up to audit a MOOC — a Massive Open Online Course. I have been curious to learn more about the MOOC phenomenon and to speak knowledgeably about where it might lead the future of education.
iversity/Screen capture Join the world in learning about climate change before it is too late. This map shows the locations of attendees to a MOOC on climate change
I thought I would not learn so much about the science of climate, as I stay up on the topic pretty consistently. But here I was surprised when my attempts to complete the quiz before the lecture were not rewarded with the happy, green, smiley face — back to class with me to learn some more fascinating facts.
In addition to the fun quiz questions, the MOOC is peppered with goodies. For example, Kaspar David Friedrich’s painting of a red sunset (picture at the top of this article) has been linked to volcanic activity. The picture provokes discussion about evidence of climate impacts in art. Did you know Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the “Year without summer” (1816)?
Attendees can choose one of several tracks, depending on how deep they want to get on the subject matter. Between lectures, the course provokes discussion. It has been said that the strongest asset of the MOOC is the rockstar power of the best professors captured professionally on video. I concur. The slides and related materials online also rock!
iversity/Screen captureDon’t fear the German; there are MOOCs in English too! In this view, professor Dr. Mojib Latif explains that without a greenhouse effect, our planet would be an uncomfortable -17 ºC( 1.4 ºF)
Now, full disclosure: I am taking the course available in German, on the science and consequences of climate change (Klimawandel und seine Folgen). But there is a course in English as well, on Climate Change and Health. It is easy to sign up (use your facebook or other social media logon even) and costs nothing but your time. For a small fee, participants can take a final exam and receive credit for the course as well. What are you waiting for? Don’t be the person without a clue!