Free Online Sustainability [MOOC] Course

McKiernan, Gerard [LIB] gerrymck at IASTATE.EDU
Wed Jul 11 14:55:25 EDT 2012

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FYI > Free Online Sustainability [MOOC] Course


Starting August 27th 2012 and running for 8 weeks

Sustainability: a global introduction" examines the global forces that will determine our sustainable future. We'll look at such questions as:

What are the biggest threats - is it loss of biodiversity, climate change, or population growth?

Is "peak oil" real, and can renewable sources bridge the energy gap?

Where are we headed - do demographics, economics, science and policy point towards a prosperous future?

The course is completely free, and delivered online. There will be a mixture of readings, short lectures, quizzes, collaborative projects and discussions. All participants who successfully complete the required activities (and tests!) will earn a completion badge.


Week 1: Introduction & Population pessimism vs. optimism: Demographics, neo-malthusians and the disappearance of the third world

Week 2: Ecosystems, Extinction & Tragedy of the Commons A theory that threatens to doom us all?

Week 3: Climate Change The climate of the near future: hot, hotter, or hottest?

Week 4: Energy What happens when we reach “Peak Oil” Renewable energy: is there enough to make the switch?

Week 5: Agriculture and Water Can we continue to increase food production - or have we reached the limit of what the land can support?

Week 6: Environmental Economics and Policy Can economists lead the way to sustainability?

Week 7: Measuring sustainability How do we know we're making a difference?

Week 8: Ethics and Culture the long view

Meet your Professor:  Dr. Jonathan Tomkin is the Associate Director of the School of Earth, Society and Environment at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Tomkin leads the undergraduate program in sustainability and his research aims to uncover the processes of how changing climates, glaciers, and landscapes interact. This study has involved fieldwork all over the world - including the Olympic Mountains, the Swiss Alps, Patagonia and Antarctica.

The course is the first ever "MOOC" (Massive Open Online Course) on sustainability, and is being supported by the School of Earth, Society and Environment, the Office of Online and Continuing Education, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and by the University of Illinois.

Source and Links To Registration and Free Downloadable Textbook Available Via

Enjoy !

Gerry McKiernan
Associate Professor
Science and Technology Librarian
Iowa State University
152 Parks Library
Ames IA 50011


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