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Ecotech Institute is Again Offering “Introduction to Sustainability” as a Free Online Course to the Public

With more than 700 participants from around the world, Ecotech Institute’s first “massive online open course” (MOOC) was a tremendous success. The course kicked off last May through the Canvas Network, a common method for highly esteemed educational institutions to offer free courses to the public. Due to the overwhelming response, Ecotech Institute is hosting the 10-week course again, beginning today January 27, 2014. The free online class is open to anyone who has an interest in sustainability. To register, visit www.canvas.net/courses/intro-to-sustainability-1.

Kyle Crider, Ecotech Institute’s Program Chair and Manager of Environmental Operations, will teach the course again. Ecotech Institute, based in Colorado, is the first and only college entirely focused on sustainability-related job training. This course allows Ecotech to extend its reach to people beyond the campus, offering insight into how sustainability affects everyone, every day.

The course covers a broad spectrum of topics including, but not limited to, understanding environmental impacts (climate change, greenhouse gases, depleting resources), social consequences (impact of decisions on health, poverty, income distribution) and financial opportunities (emerging industries, job creation). The course explores various definitions of sustainability and students will learn ways to apply sustainable concepts in their own lives.

“This course helps participants think critically about environmental sustainability and how it impacts people at all levels, from corporate behavior to personal lives,” said Crider. “The highlight for many participants is the capstone project where students have to write their own sustainability-focused mission, vision and goals. Participants didn’t just learn, they became inspired to make long-lasting positive change.”

The initial Introduction to Sustainability online course was incredibly interactive, with 1,172 discussion posts covering more than 30 topics. Some of the feedback includes:

  • “I'll always remember it as the course that gave me the push I needed in deciding to continue study in a master’s program in Sustainability.”
  • “I learned a lot, removed some general misconceptions about sustainability, and am truly inspired to continue learning and reading more about these topics. Plus, I am taking actions to change my personal habits.”
  • “It was a much needed eye opener and has inspired me to open a consulting business (which I did last week) and have a little fun helping people save themselves...well, from themselves!“

Upon completion of the course, students should also better understand:

  • triple bottom line (people, planet, profit, or Three Pillars);
  • thermodynamics;
  • fossil fuels;
  • the balance and relationship between air, land, water resources and techniques for protecting and/or enhancing each;
  • human impact on biodiversity and the planet;
  • core concepts of green building rating systems; and
  • the possibilities of solar and wind power to meet future energy needs, as well as natural gas, nuclear power and biofuels.

Each weekly topic includes a multimedia introduction/overview, short supplemental reading assignments and optional, more in-depth materials for those who want to enhance their knowledge in specific areas. Students will take multiple-choice quizzes and develop a personal sustainability vision, mission and goals. Students are also encouraged to network and collaborate with each other through discussion forums and Q&A sessions.

Space is limited, so sign up for the Introduction to Sustainability online course today. 

Tags: Ecotech, Institute, MOOC, Sustainability

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