University of Exeter offering free online course on Climate Change

September 19th, 2013 by University of Exeter

FutureLearn, a multi-institution provider owned by the Open University, has announced the details of 20 massive open online (pilot) courses (MOOC) including the schedules for eight which are set to begin between October and December 2013.

Most of the FutureLearn courses will last six to ten weeks and are aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web.

The University of Exeter, one of the British universities involved in this new learning initiative, is offering a free online course on climate change: challenges and solutions, which begins on 13 January 2014.

The University of Exeter’s MOOC is presented by an interdisciplinary team of academics from the University of Exeter and the UK Met Office led by Professor Tim Lenton, who is the Chair of Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University.

Professor Tim Lenton (image courtesy of the University of Exeter)

Professor Tim Lenton (image courtesy of the University of Exeter)

Professor Tim Lenton said “over the eight weeks, I’ve gathered together leading experts – from mathematicians to marine biologists – to explain the science behind climate change, explore the challenges it presents to us and to our planet, and how we might reduce the risks it poses.”

“This course is an exciting opportunity for students to examine climate change from a fresh new perspective,” he said.

The course will set contemporary human-caused climate change within the context of past nature climate variability.

Then it will take a risk communication approach, balancing the ‘bad news’ about climate change impacts on natural and human systems with the ‘good news’ about potential solutions.

These solutions can help avoid the most dangerous climate changes and increase the resilience of societies and ecosystems to those climate changes that cannot be avoided.

The course is aimed at a wide audience but, in particular, students about to enter university and seeks to provide an inter-disciplinary introduction to what is a broad field.

Available until early in 2014 in “open beta” format, the MOOC will be optimised for mobile devices and encourage “social learning”.

Simon Nelson, FutureLearn chief executive, said “MOOCs present real learning opportunities and universities are keen to ensure their first MOOCs represent the best of what each university could offer”.

FutureLearn was set up in December 2012 and includes 23 university partners as well as the British Library, British Museum and British Council.


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