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Free online climate change course opens

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A rainbow overlooks the River Exe, which nearly burst its banks in recent weeks. Image credit: Niklas Rahmel
A rainbow overlooks the River Exe, which nearly burst its banks after the recent storms. Image credit: Niklas Rahmel

The University’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is set to kick of on 13 January, with registrations now open.

Titled “Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions”, the eight-week-long course is, as its MOOC classification suggests, available to anyone, and will be administered via the FutureLearn platform, which hosts other UK university MOOCs as well.

In a nutshell, the course seeks to explore the science of climate change, along with the risks and solutions related to it. Specifically, it will cover issues such as the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Such a course is perhaps timely, in light of the recent bad weather the country and region has experienced.

Its material was the brainchild of a team of eight academics from the University, led by Tim Lenton, Professor of Climate Change and Earth System Science, and working in conjunction with the UK Met Office.

Its structure is similar to that of the average university module, with learning resources, tests, and discussion portals made available on FutureLearn. Three hours of study per week is the recommended commitment that students should make.

Upon completion of the course, participants will receive an online record of their achievement. Formal certificates are currently not available, though FutureLearn is looking into the matter.

With the launch of its maiden MOOC, the University joins a growing number of its contemporaries who have taken to offering open online courses via the FutureLearn platform. These include Loughborough University, with its “Innovation and Enterprise” course, and King’s College London, which offers a ‘Causes of War’ course.

Owned by The Open University, FutureLearn is still in a developmental stage, but harbours ambitions of becoming a facilitator of lifelong learning. To start the University’s course on climate change or the MOOCs offered, sign up for an account at futurelearn.com.

Bryan Toh, News Team

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