Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are available for free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, lasting between three and fourteen weeks and taking three to eight hours per week to complete. But Universities are not the only organisations offering these MOOCs. A growing number of UN agencies are developing MOOCs as a way of not only raising awareness about the issues that they focus on, but also training individuals around the world who are working on these sustainability issues and the SDG on the ground. Most of the courses are self-paced and available in multiple language. (Click here for Part 1 on UNWomen, World Bank and IMF – Part 3 will be posted next week).
UN CC: e-Learn offers free online climate change courses. Each course is developed in collaboration with different UN agencies depending on the specific topic. Courses are available in eight languages and are all self-paced and take approximately an hour to complete. Courses include:
- Human Health and Climate Change: This course, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, provides an introduction to the health challenges, as well as the opportunities, that can by associated to climate change.
- Cities and Climate Change: This course, developed in collaboration with UN-Habitat, focuses on climate change in urban areas, covering how cities are affected by climate change, how they contribute to it, as well as how they plan for it.It contains one module which takes around 2 hours to complete.
- Introductory e-Course on Climate Change: This course, developed in collaboration with UNITAR, provides “everything you need to know” about the basics of climate change, from climate change science to governance.
- Children and Climate Change: This course, developed in collaboration with UNICEF, presents how children and youth can be impacted by climate change, how their resilience to climate change can be strengthened, and how they can act on climate change.
AGORA is UNICEF’s global hub for learning and development. Courses are available in six language including Chinese, French, Arabic and Portuguese. You need to sign up in order to view the courses but there are dozens covering the whole range of focus areas that UNICEF covers including
- Child Rights and Why They Matter: This short course will transform and/or refresh your understanding of child rights and a child rights approach, introduce you to UNICEF’s mandate as it relates to child rights, and inspire you to apply a child rights lens to your everyday work and life.
- Performance Assessment at UNICEF: How should we assess individual performance? And when should we assess individual performance? In order to increase our impact as a results-based organization, we need to apply a consistent approach to individual performance assessment. This course aims to help you understand how and when to effectively assess individual performance at UNICEF.
- Introduction to Ethics in Evidence Generation: In this course, you will explore the importance of Ethical Evidence Generation at UNICEF, the principles and requirements of the UNICEF Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluations and Data Collection and Analysis and how this applies to the work that is undertaken across the organization.
UNICEF also provides MOOCs in collaboration with Universities and available on commonly used MOOC platforms. For example Social Norms, Social Change is a 2 part courses developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania that looks at social norms, the rules that glue societies together. It teaches how to diagnose social norms, and how to distinguish them from other social constructs, like customs or conventions. These distinctions are crucial for effective policy interventions aimed to create new, beneficial norms or eliminate harmful ones. The course teaches how to measure social norms and the expectations that support them, and how to decide whether they cause specific behaviours.
InforMEA.leaning is part of the United Nations information portal on multilateral environmental agreements. It has a range of courses on agreements relating to biological diversity, chemicals and waste, climate, international law, and oceans and freshwater. Courses include:
- Introductory Course on the Convention on Biological Diversity: This course introduces you to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is the legally binding framework for the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
- Introductory Course to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal and Regional Instruments on Hazardous Wastes: This course introduces you to the Basel Convention, which is the most important legally binding international agreement related to hazardous and other wastes. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete.
- Introductory Course to the Convention on International Trade in Engendered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): This course introduces you to CITES, an international agreement to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
UNITAR offers a range of free courses including
- Conflict Analysis: This one-day course looks at conflict including what it is, sources of conflict, complexities of conflict, evolution and the different actors involved.
- Human Rights and the Environment: This 3 hour self-paced course provides a general introduction to the relationship between human rights and the environment including procedural and substantive obligations relating to the environment.
- Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: This course provides an in-depth and wide ranging guidance on how to mainstream the 2030 Agenda into national strategies and policies with case studies.
The FAO E-learning Centre has a range of courses including a demo class if you want to test out their format. The catalogue is extensive and includes courses on the SDGs that the FAO is focused on (in particular SDG 2 Zero Hunger) including:
- The Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems: Looks at the scope and rationale for the principles, the objectives as well as what makes an investment in agriculture and food systems responsible.
- Respecting Free, Prior and Informed Consent: This 2.5 hour course looks at what RFPIC is and how to put it into practice in responsible investments.
- Qualitative Methods for Assessing the Impact of Development Programmes: This course looks at how to assess the impact of food security programmes, how to monitoring and evaluate activities as well as commonly used indicators for impact assessment.