Just so you know folks, enrolling on a MOOC course is super easy. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses, by the way. The great thing about them is that they are shaking up higher education – they are free and accessible to anyone. In this era of student loans (and debt), they are a welcome disrupter.
The course I have chosen complements my line of work as an environmental writer and editor. It is an introduction to the science of climate change – over the next ten weeks, it will delve into the risks global warming poses and the possible solutions to those challenges. I’m hoping it will provide another piece of the jigsaw to my own professional development.
You see, as a journalist, I know relatively little about an awful lot. By that I mean I spend most of my working hours conversing with experts in specialised fields – but those fields are wide and varied … one morning I could be investigating societal trends behind sustainable consumption, then flipping onto a lobbyist call for water regulation after lunch.
The environmental spectrum is vast – I often think we’d do well to measure it in light years. Oddly enough, the wider world tends to view us journalists as experts, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our trick is in digging out the information we need, finding the story hidden within it, and tailoring it under rapid fire to our readership.
I hardly ever get a break to stop and read a magazine article or academic paper in its entirety. Digesting anything longer than 800 words is a time-sensitive challenge. Ironically, I am too busy rustling up words of my own to create the copy needed for my audience. And I have often wondered to myself “What is the science or history behind that story?”
What I love about this climate change course hosted by the University of Exeter is that it will provide answers to that question. In a way that will not intrude too much into my time, as I can dip in and out of the content modules as I please.
Having completed the first week, I know one thing. It will certainly challenge me. I'm ashamed to say that my lack of knowledge on even the basics prompted a suggestion by the course tutor to go back and review the content again. But that's okay, that's what study is designed for – to give me, and others, just enough education to perform.