Phd students create new MOOC

Starting in March 2017, a new MOOC, 'Rethinking the City: New Approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges' will join the list of online courses available from TU Delft on the EdX platform.

Unique to this MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is that it is the first to be instigated and produced solely by students.

Last year a group of TU Delft PhD students, from various specializations, began mulling over whether they could join forces to produce a MOOC based on their current research interests and experience of urban challenges confronted by city planners, designers and architects in developing countries.

Many of these students were already contributing to Global Urban Lab, a website proffering research projects and discussion on using alternative theories to find solutions to the urban challenges evident in emerging economies.

Think critically

Igor Pessoa is a PhD candidate in OTB – Research in the Built Environment, and together with Luz Maria Vergara coordinates Global Urban Lab. Pessoa explained that the idea of the MOOC is based on the idea that by teaching students to think critically using new theories in design/housing/spatial justice/resilience paired with examples of successful urban designs – students could begin to tackle problems in their own urban environments.

A meeting that gave birth to the MOOC took place in March 2016. The resultant proposal was accepted by TU Delft Extension School, responsible for the university's online learning program, and funding was granted. After months of putting together the course syllabus, the MOOC team are now busy filming the video components in the studio at the Faculty of Industrial Design. The course is due to begin on March 28, 2017.

Free beginner level

The MOOC 'Rethinking the City: New Approaches to Global and Local Urban Challenges' will be a free beginner level course, with students having the option to pay for certification. The course format is a series of 20 lectures given by mentors, practitioners and PhD students. As extra incentive to enroll, organizers have created a prize providing one student with the opportunity to attend TU Delft summer school, with airfares, accommodation and expenses included. To date, enrolments have reached about 1,000 students from more than 100 different countries.