Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are rooted within the ideals of openness in education. They generally aim to provide open access to knowledge through free online models. In particular, by reducing barriers caused by race, gender, class, income and geographical constraints, MOOCs increase the global participation rates by a large order of magnitude, with numbers of learners up to a few hundred thousand.
MOOCs provide a cost-effective and highly adaptable means for rapid knowledge dissemination globally across contexts.
Generally speaking, MOOCs include a range of content, including knowledge components in the form of textbooks or online text content, videoed lectures, discussion forums, access to online tools and networks, etc. Embedded course forums offer participants the opportunity to engage with others from across the world and form an online learning community around the subjects. Peer support, learning networks and publicly shared quality learning support materials and tools are featured advantages for MOOCs.
UN Environment is among the first UN organizations in piloting MOOCs on large-scaled environmental education. In 2015, UN Environment launched two MOOCs, which attracted thousands of learners around the world to dedicate weeks of time in a structured learning of these subjects. Following these good examples, there is a growing demand within UN Environment for the development of more MOOCs on subjects from the broad knowledge fields of environment.