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Two UU MOOCs going live

On Monday, July 3rd, two MOOCs will go live on the Coursera platform: Future Foods and Dynamics of Youth. This will bring the total number of UU MOOCs to five. With its MOOCs, Utrecht University intends to promote the University and its strategic themes internationally, to create expertise in new forms of education, and to make education more widely available. This is also why Educate-it facilitates these MOOCs, each of which is connected to one of the university’s strategic themes or focus areas.


Dynamics of Youth

The ‘Understanding child development from synapse to society’ MOOC accurately represents how complex child development is and how it is influenced by a large number of factors at different organisational levels. The course covers subjects like developmental systems approach; brain development; cognitive, linguistic and social-emotional development; and all of the factors that influence that development. As an illustration of how an interdisciplinary approach helps make sense of development, the course demonstrates how researchers in various disciplines and from various backgrounds research development at Utrecht University.


Future Food

The purpose of the ‘Unravelling solutions for future food problems’ MOOC is to create awareness for an interdisciplinary approach to food supply problems in the world. The course addresses its central issues of ‘food shortage’ and ‘healthy choices’ from an interdisciplinary perspective. Issues under discussion include: possible solutions for meeting the demands of a growing global population, the role of food in preventing non-communicable diseases, and the need to understand the food choices required to change to a healthier diet and alternative foods.


Develop your own MOOC?

Development of the ‘Sustainability’ MOOC will start after the summer. The expectation is that the total number of available MOOCs will reach seven fairly soon. These MOOCs may be integrated into summer schools and campus teaching, possibly in combination with working groups and an on-campus exam. Teachers and researchers interested in developing a MOOC can turn to the Strategic Theme coordinator or the Educate-it project leader for Online Education, Renée Filius. For more information about MOOCs and to hear about Human Rights teacher Antoine Buys’ experience with developing a MOOC, watch the video at the bottom of the page.


Positive reviews

The Institutions MOOC ‘Human Rights for Open Societies’ and the Life Sciences MOOC ‘Clinical Epidemiology’ are both performing well, as is the existing ‘Ebola’ MOOC UU co-developed with UvA. Some 20,000 to 25,000 people registered for each of those three MOOCs, with around 5,000 participants at each course actively taking part throughout. How much the participants appreciate the course is reflected not just by how they rate it on surveys (each course is rated 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5), but by the many positive comments they leave on the Coursera website as well. Here are some examples:


Human Rights for Open Societies

  • An excellent introduction to Human Rights in an inclusive and Open Society. I have learned a lot about the basic rights that ALL human beings have irrespective of the countries they reside in. All states have an obligation to ensure that those human rights are protected at all cost and in the best interests of each and every citizen and non-citizen!
  • Amazing for all the beginners. The course has very clear structure, which enables you to connect all the topics. Very clear lectures and quizzes that help you with further understanding.
  • This course is an excellent guide to the problems and benefits of human rights within open society!



Clinical Epidemiology

  • I loved the clarity of focus, the clarity of the lectures, the simplicity used in explained the concepts. I am most grateful as this has been of great help and I think I am ready to embark on discussions with senior clinicians in order to carry out research. This will generate evidence which will readily be applicable to the patients in our settings
  • Thank you! Thank you so much for this HUGE opportunity to take a world class course for free with two of the best professors there are. I have no words to describe my satisfaction.
  • I really enjoyed every single lecture. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity for me, as a middle-eastern student, to learn from you. Thank you so much!