Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the MOOC on Disasters and Ecosystems

  1. When will the MOOC start and end?
    The MOOC will start in January 2015, but pre-registered participants will be informed several weeks in advance before the actual start date. The MOOC will run for approximately 3 months, starting with the Leadership track that will run for three weeks and is followed by the Expert track.

  2. How do I register for the MOOC?
    Six weeks before the MOOC goes live in January 2015, you can register directly through Iversity, our MOOC platform. Presently, we are accepting pre-registration or pre-enrolment forms. You may pre-register for the MOOC through our website at: www.themooc.net or access the pre-enrolment page directly on this link: http://www.themooc.net/Pre-Enrollment-Form.asp

  3. How will I access the course materials, especially if I have poor internet connection?
    The MOOC will be delivered through a German-based MOOC platform known as Iversity. All course materials can be accessed and downloaded through the Iversity platform by registered students who will be given a unique access code. The MOOC lectures are not streamed real-time, and recorded lectures are available during the entire course. So you can choose to download them at times/locations where there is reasonable internet connection.

  4. What are the course contents of the MOOC?
    After completion of the course, the participant will be able to:
    • Define basic concepts of disasters, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and resilience
    • Recognize key linkages between ecosystems, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
    • Recognize the linkages and overlaps between ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and ecosystem-based adaptation
    • Identify various ecosystem-based tools in reducing disaster risk and climate change adaptation
    • Identify key international agreements, organizations and initiatives related to disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation.
    • Apply concepts and tools of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) and ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA)
    • Evaluate costs and benefits of different type of measures for reducing disaster risks
    • Design your own ecosystem-based project for increasing resilience and reducing climate risks

    The MOOC is comprised of two main tracks:
    1. Leadership Track – comprising 6 learning modules, which provides an overview of the topic. It is geared towards policymakers, decision makers and senior professionals who need a general understanding of the concepts to be able to factor ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction into their planning and programming.
    2. Expert Track – comprising 14 additional instruction modules for professionals and students who seek more in-depth learning and skills development. Students undertaking the Expert track should preferably first complete the Leadership track, obtaining a total of 20 hours of instruction.
    In addition to video lectures, the MOOC provides lectures from distinguished global leaders and experts, case studies, reading materials, hands-on exercises, access to experts through our Expert of the Week, and a community forum for peer-to-peer learning and networking.

  5. How much time do I need to put in taking the MOOC?
    In total, we estimate that a total of 40-50 hours is needed to complete the MOOC (taking both the Leadership and Expert Tracks), which will also depend on your background and English fluency. The MOOC is roughly equivalent to a 1 –week in-class training course. This estimate is based on completing the video lectures, guest video lectures, reading materials and exercises.

  6. What will I get by participating in the MOOC?
    You will receive:
    • Certificate of participation (upon completion of Leadership and Expert Tracks)
    • Access to all course materials
    • Access to a weekly newsletter on disasters, ecosystems and resilience
    • Access to a large network of experts who work in this field
    • Invitation to events organized by UNEP and its partners in the field of disasters, ecosystems and resilience

  7. Do I have to be online at specific times?
    No. While new modules will be released sequentially on specific dates, you need not come online simultaneously. The lectures are not webcast real-time and you can choose the time you wish to watch them. However, there will be some deadlines for assignments and peer-to-peer reviews.

  8. Do I have to go to a particular location for some lectures?
    No, you simply need an internet connection and computer/tablet.

  9. Will there be exams involved?
    The Leadership track has quizzes so you can self-check your knowledge level as you go. These are, however, not a precondition for progressing to the next module. The Expert track has two short peer-reviewed assignments and one final peer-reviewed exercise where you will be designing your own project! Students may, however, choose to revisit a module if they feel they did do not perform satisfactorily in a module.

  10. Will the sessions be real-time (requiring high speed internet for a sustained time) or will I be able to download and watch it offline?
    No, see answers to question above.

  11. How many units will be provided per week?
    There will be two units per week.

  12. What are the interactive features in this MOOC?
    Iversity has a community discussion forum that will be followed by course instructors and a roster of international “Experts of the week”. The Iversity platform offers all participants the chance to give feedback on the MOOC itself but also to start discussions on any topic related to the MOOC. In addition, some units will require a peer-to-peer exercise done in small groups of around 4-5 students, where participants have to feedback on their classmates’ assignments. The peer reviewed exercises will provide an environment for interaction between course participants. Students are welcome to use any other communication tools to facilitate group assignments. Moreover, you will have access to a large international social media network through the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) social media channels.

  13. How would I be able to establish contact with other participants in the MOOC?
    During the enrolment stage of the MOOC, you will be asked to fill out some basic information about yourself and be invited to actively participate in the community discussion forum. You can also post notices on the MOOC “meeting point” or to join discussions that others have started. There will thus be ample opportunity to connect with other participants for information exchanges (see also FAQ No.12).

  14. Who is behind the development of this MOOC?
    This MOOC is a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme through its Global Universities Partnership on Environment for Sustainability (GUPES) and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) based in Germany. The MOOC is based on a long-standing collaboration between UNEP and the Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD), a consortium of 11 universities from around the world that is coordinated by CUAS. The MOOC has received financial support from the Eye on Environmental Education Special Initiative, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Government of Germany, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Excellence Centers for Exchange and Development (Exceed).

  15. What is a MOOC ?
    Massive Open Online Course is a new concept in higher education, whereby course content is delivered online and free of cost to participants from around the world. MOOCs may be distinguished from other standard E-learning courses in that MOOCs have specific start and end dates, deliver content through interactive means such as through open “community classrooms” and peer-to-peer reviews, and seek to attract thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of individuals from around the world.