University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera
This course takes learners on a journey through a progression of systems-thinking and sustainability concepts. Using the beautiful game of soccer (also known as football in many parts of the world) as an analogy, we'll work together to illuminate real-world interdependencies (such as between climate change and human rights), building the chain of concepts in a fun, accessible way. Soccer/Football nerds and newbies alike will be entertained and, ultimately, rewarded with the epiphanies that come from seeing in systems more clearly.
Those who complete the course will: create examples of systems parts, boundaries, and behaviors related to sustainability (and soccer/football); practice evaluating the sustainability of systems they care about using several complementary methods; generate ideas to improve the sustainability of a system they care about; and explain a mindset shift that would enhance the sustainability of a system they care about.
Background On sustainability, what soccer and systems-thinking have to do with it, and how I’m qualified to explain.
System Parts Systems-thinking is the guide for our sustainability quest, and systems are made up of some basic parts: elements, flows, stocks, feedback loops, and purposes.
System Boundaries Our approach to sustainability depends on how we define our system boundaries. What must we consider? What can we leave out? And, what can we reasonably infer from the perspective we define?
System Behaviors With parts and boundaries defined, we can detect system-level behaviors and discover how they affect sustainability.
Evaluating Systems To evaluate sustainability in our systems, and check our progress, there are properties to consider and methods to apply.
Creating Sustainable Systems Once we define and evaluate our systems, then we’re ready to create systems that are more sustainable.
The Endless Quest for Sustainability There is no magical fix; pursuing sustainability is an endless quest of constant effort at the limits of our abilities, and that’s where the fun is.
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
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How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.