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Coursera: Introduction to the Orbital Perspective

The goals of this course are to develop the student’s critical thinking skills, global awareness, and ability to work as an integral part of a team in an increasingly complex global job market. The course provides a foundation in such skills as team building, collaboration, and elevated empathy using real-world scenarios from some of world’s most effective collaborative projects including the Earthrise-2068 Project.

Living on the International Space Station was a powerful, transformative experience—one that could hold the key to solving our problems here on Earth. On space walks and through windows, course instructor Ron Garan was struck by the stunning beauty of the Earth from space but sobered by knowing how much needed to be done to help this troubled planet. And yet on the International Space Station, Garan, a former fighter pilot, was working work side by side with Russians, who only a few years before were “the enemy.” If fifteen nations could collaborate on one of the most ambitious, technologically complicated undertakings in history, surely we can apply that kind of cooperation and innovation toward creating a better world.

In this course Garan will convey what it was like learning to work with a diverse group of people in an environment only a handful of human beings have ever known. But more importantly, the course will address how we can apply the orbital perspective here at home, embracing new partnerships and processes to promote peace and combat hunger, thirst, poverty, and environmental destruction. This course is a call to action for each of us to care for the most important space station of all: planet Earth.

The course will also involve participation in the Earthrise-2068 project. Working with people from around the world, students will help craft a vision of our future in the year 2068. Students will also help craft a crowdsource strategy for both the co-envisioned future of the world in 2068 and a roadmap to get there. Students will also participate in the crafting of a “call-to-action” to be delivered at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017.

Syllabus

The Orbital Perspective
In this first lesson the student will be introduced to the concept of the Orbital Perspective and given a glimpse to its implications for our global society.

Looking Skyward - Part 1
In this lesson the student will be introduced to the history leading up to the International Space Station (ISS) partnership and to some of the technical and cultural challenges that faced the partners in the early days of the International Space Station Program

Looking Skyward - Part II
How did we go from those early days of mistrust and suspicion to building and operating the International Space Station? What was the secret ingredient that enabled a coalition of fifteen nations to work together systematically, in a fully integrated manner, to construct and operate the most complex structure ever built in space? Is there something we can learn from how the members of the ISS program learned to overcome differences and cultural misunderstandings in order to accomplish remarkable things together? Can we use these same techniques to reach agreements on things such as alleviating poverty, mitigating climate change, or achieving peaceful solutions to long-term conflicts?”

Looking Earthward - Part I
In this lesson the instructor will share a profound shift in perspective experienced during his first space mission and take a deep dive into the meaning of the orbital perspective. We will also explore examples how taking an orbital perspective can affect our global society.

Looking Earthward - Part II
In this lesson we will explore the frameworks we use to construct our view of the world and the implications of taking on a conviction that we do not have to accept the suffering and conflict on our planet as inescapable. This lesson will also compare and contrast effective and ineffective forms of collaboration.

Looking Forward - Part I
In the third section of the course "Looking Forward", we will explore some of the many efforts to connect billions of minds and tap into our collective global genius. We will further examine the barriers to global collaboration and explore ways to break down those barriers. And we will hear some stories about amazing people who are building bridges to collaboration and making great strides toward overcoming our world’s biggest challenges. This lesson will also explore what factors led to success in a very high stakes situation. Participants will be exposed to some of the “perverse incentives” that limit the effectiveness of global humanitarian development and crisis response efforts. This lesson should lead to a discussion on how to better provide assistance worldwide.

Looking Forward - Part II
The exponential increase in collaborative technology is rapidly rewriting the way people and organizations interact. In this lesson we’ll look at several movements and initiatives that are synthesizing the orbital perspective and the worm’s eye view, making vast amounts of information accessible and bringing large groups of people together to work toward common causes. In some cases, collaboration is not facilitated by long-term personal relationships. Instead, the bond is the common cause, the shared experience, and in some cases simply being given the permission and means to help.

Call to Action - Part I
In these last three concluding lessons we will connect all the previous lessons into a specific “Call to Action”. Included in the call to action is a desire to spark a global conversation about the need to have a deeper level of collaboration toward solving the world’s toughest and most seemingly intractable problem. In the lesson participants will be exposed to some of the efforts that are rewriting the way humans interact on and off our planet.

Call to Action - Part II
This lesson will focus on methods to create an actual or virtual “Control Room of Spaceship Earth”.

Call to Action - Part III
This concluding lesson will focus on ways to continue the momentum that was created by the course and continue to propel the Earthrise-2068 project forward.

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Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Upcoming
Subject Social Sciences
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Calendar 10 weeks long
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MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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