Learning for conservation

Have you heard of MOOCs? It means Massive Open Online Courses, which are pretty much just that – plus from what I have seen they are also free. I am now taking one through Coursera.org called Social Psychology, hoping that I’ll learn more about why people and groups think and behave the way they do. I’ve always felt that one of the biggest challenges in conservation is to understand and change people’s motivations and behaviours. 

This course is Coursera’s largest to date, with 230,000 students currently registered! To take part, you sign up on the website for free, and watch the video lectures and read the assigned material at your own pace each week – the course is time-bound which is a useful motivator. Each week you are expected to complete a homework assignment. Homework is peer-assessed, so you also review at least five assignments from others in the class. The course is taught by a professor at Wesleyan University who, along with the five teaching assistants, has done an amazing job putting together clear and professional video lectures. 

It’s not too late to sign up, so if you have any interest in how people think about, relate to and influence each other, give it a try!