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European Space Agency joins MOOC market

The European Space Agency (ESA) has partnered with FutureLearn to create its first massive open online course (MOOC)

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | April 10, 2015 | Business

Learners can sign up now for ESA's first MOOC - 'Monitoring Climate from Space' – which will draw on data from earth orbiting satellites.

Free online courses will join ESA’s wider educational portfolio as it continues to develop new ways of instructing digital natives. The first area of expertise to be unpacked in this way will be ESA’s pioneering use of earth orbiting satellites to monitor the state of our climate and the impact of changes over time. ESA is using FutureLearn’s platform as a crucial means of encouraging more widespread take up of its valuable earth observation data for educational, training and decision-making purposes.

Built to enable learning through conversation, FutureLearn’s platform will make it possible for learners to discuss ESA’s course material with one another, and with the scientists leading the course.

'Monitoring Climate from Space', is open now for learners to sign up for, with teaching set to begin on 8th June 2015. Over five weeks, a selection of the world’s foremost scientists will guide learners through the role of satellite data in supporting decisions relating to climate change and sustainable development.

Designed for current and future policy makers, educators and anyone communicating about climate change, the course will aim to give learners a robust understanding of the datasets that should inform their work. As awareness continues to grow of the threat that climate change presents to our planet, the course will also appeal to a wider public interested in examining environmental elements – such as ice thickness, aerosol, sea level and soil moisture – in greater detail.

Dr Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, Earth Observation Applications Engineer at ESA, said of the partnership: “Educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists is at the heart of ESA educational activities. As the learning landscape becomes increasingly digital, it is critical that we adopt new technologies to reach learners.

“By using the FutureLearn platform, we expect to reach many learners motivated to know more about the beauty of our planet from Space and the value of ESA missions, in order to better understand and protect our Earth System. More broadly, I hope to see these free online courses inspire a new generation by revealing the myriad of opportunities that science and space can offer.”

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