Well, it’s finally happening. The World Bank Institute is launching its first MOOC on climate change on January 27, 2014 on the Coursera platform. I still remember when we first talked about MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), colleagues wondered what they were. MOOC sounds like “Mook,” which means a foolish, insignificant, or contemptible person –not the same thing at all!
MOOCs are a way for many people to have access to knowledge – democratizing knowledge, if you will. According to a Short History of MOOCs and Distance Learning, the first MOOC was launched in 2008. It was on ‘Connectivism and Connective Knowledge/2008’ (CCK8) and was created by educators Stephen Downes and George Siemens. Based on a credit course at the University of Manitoba, Canada, this was the first class designed as a ‘MOOC’ and used many different platforms to engage students with the topic, including Facebook groups, Wiki pages, blogs, forums and other resources. Around 2,200 people signed up for CCK08, and 170 of them created their own blogs. The course was free and open, which meant that anyone could join, modify or remix the content without paying (although a paid, certified option was offered).
The World Bank’s first-ever MOOC is called, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided,” is based on a research report of the same name by the Potsdam Institute, which was commissioned by the World Bank. It provides an overview of the latest scientific research on climate change and practical steps people can take to meet this challenge. There are two tracks being offered: One for the generalist who is interested in the topic and policy track for practitioners and policy makers. The course takes four weeks to complete and is free of charge to everyone. If you sign up to take it, please share your experience with us.