Starting Coursera’s Sustainability MOOC

October 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Posted in MOOC | Leave a comment

I wrote the following back in August, but it never got past the draft stage – partly because my day job became much more demanding and partly because taking part in the Sustainability MOOC has soaked up most of my free time since then… so I’ll post this now and then immediately follow it with another reflecting on my experiences now that the course has finished.(28 August 2012) Following my experience with the CourseSites ‘Bonk MOOC’ earlier this year, I’ve just started an 8-week MOOC from Coursera which provides an Introduction to Sustainability. One objective is to improve my academic knowledge of this topic; I’ve been an environmental activist since my student days and it would be good to gain a firmer understanding of the wider issues. Another objective is to gain some first-hand experience of being a student in a Coursera MOOC. Daphne Koller gave a great TED talk which explained the thinking behind Coursera, although their content-centric and test-driven approach has been criticised. So I’m there to see for myself and make my mind up.

So far, I like what I see

So much so, that I’ve signed up for another MOOC in January, this time one on ‘E-Learning and Digital Cultures’ designed by the MSc in E-Learning programme team at the University of Edinburgh. There is a fascinating article in the latest ALT Newsletter in which they discuss the challenges of developing a Coursera MOOC which will attempt to move away from the ‘course automation’ model towards a more open and student-centred approach. Again, my motivation is mixed – the subject interests me but I really want to see what the Edinburgh team can do with the course. Why not sign up and see for yourself?


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