UWE launches first MOOC - What makes a Green city?

Issue date: 04 June 2015

Easton Energy Project

A free online course is being launched by UWE Bristol offering community groups and individuals the chance to learn what makes a 'Green City'. UWE Bristol is a leader in sustainable education and this new initiative is the first of its type to be launched linked to a European Green Capital City.

The MOOC, (Massive Open Online Course) will showcase knowledge developed from Bristol Green Capital to a local national and international audience in the six week course.

As part of Big Green Week, Simon Bates, the course developer will talk about the Our Green City MOOC on Sunday 7 June at 18.00 at the 'Big Green Chair' on the Green Hub.

Those who sign up for 'Our Green City: Global Challenges, Bristol Solutions' will learn from University academics on themes such as energy, food, resources, nature, and transport, but there will also be a strong emphasis on developing the skills and understanding needed to bring about change. The course will be delivered through a mix of video presentations, reading materials and other online resources. Learners will undertake tasks and assessments and receive feedback on their work, as well as forming communities online with other learners.

For example leaners may watch a video presentation, be asked to map nature provision in a local area and then be given the challenge of creating a plan for how that provision could be improved. They would also be asked to think about who they would need to influence to make any changes. So the course will develop knowledge and understanding of the subjects, but also challenge community groups and organisations about how that knowledge can be put into practice. The course will be both practical and political – showing what kind of leadership is needed and how to create change effectively in community groups.

Simon Bates, who developed the course for UWE says, “UWE Bristol has excellent knowledge and research developed over many years in these subject areas to share with the wider community through this MOOC. But the learners themselves will also be central to how the course develops through engaging with online communities and networks.

“The course is open to anyone and we hope to attract those who have no knowledge but are curious as well as those who already have an interest in sustainability. The course is particularly useful for anyone who cares about their local environment and the community they live in, and it will be full of information and ideas for further involvement and how to influence decisions that affect the local environment.

“Many people are evangelical about the importance of living a more sustainable life, but others need to see the basic trade-offs and modifications for them as beneficial, proven, and risk free. People also need to know that the way they live is connected to what is happening around them in their own community. This course is suitable for everyone, as it shows the relevance of the Green City concept for individuals and communities. By working through this online course people will discover others who have the same uncertainties and questions as them, and they will be able to look for answers together to those questions.”

The team developing the course have engaged with a range of groups and individuals from the Bristol Green Capital Partnership who will talk about their projects and initiates from across the five themes; Resource Futures, Avon Wildlife Trust, Happy City, Centre for Sustainable Energy, The Trinity Arts centre and many others have been instrumental in supporting development of this learning experience.

MOOCs are a new way of learning, and they provide an easy and effective way for people to access learning at a time that suits them and in the location that suits them. They also use the power of social networking to augment the learning, leading to a new type of collaborative learning in keeping with the possibilities of current technology.

To find out more about the course and to enrol please go to http://tiny.cc/ourgreencity and follow us on Twitter @our_green_city.

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