September 27, 2014

Free Course by Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs on Sustainable Development

We've just become aware of an exciting educational opportunity from a Columbia Professor!


Jeffrey Sachs is teaching a FREE course online on the Coursera platform.  He is a renowned professor of economics, UN advisor, and director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute.

The title of the course is:

The Age of Sustainable Development


From the course page:

This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in the social, policy, and physical sciences. Sustainable development is the most urgent challenge facing humanity. The fundamental question is how the world economy can continue to develop in a way that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The course describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth's physical environment. Ecological processes and constraints (climate, disease ecology, physical resources such as soils and energy sources, topography and transport conditions) significantly shape the patterns of economic development, demography, and wealth and poverty. At the same time, human activities (farming, land use, urbanization, demographic change, and energy use) change the physical environments, increasingly in dangerous ways. The course offers a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century.

The course is free with free sign up on the Coursera MOOC platform.  What's a MOOC?  A Massively Open Online Course.  Pre-recorded lectures are delivered by video, and quizzes test learner's understanding and retention of the material.  Discussion forums are available for students to share ideas, debate finer points, and refine their understanding.  These are usually monitored by TA's or the professor themselves.  Free and open to all comers, MOOCs can be very well attended as their audience is international!   You will find many, many learners from other countries who provide interesting perspectives.  Is this the future of education?  Perhaps - but to have such democratic access to though leaders who could only influence a few hundred students over the course of their education even a few years ago is amazing!

To take the course for free, you will first have to sign up on the coursera platform, and then sign up for Dr. Sachs' class.  You can take the class for credit, or just audit it.  It is a 14-week class.

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