About this course

Want to study for an MBA but unsure of the basic data analysis still required? This online course prepares you for studying in an MBA program and in business generally.

Data analysis appears throughout any rigorous MBA program and in today’s business environment understanding the fundamentals of collecting, presenting, describing and making inferences from data sets is essential for success.

The goal of this course is to teach you fundamental data analysis skills so you are prepared for your MBA study and able to focus your efforts on core MBA curriculum, rather than continually playing catch-up with the underlying statistical knowledge needed.

We also hope that learning these data analysis skills will equip you with the ability to understand, to a greater degree, the data you encounter in your working lives and in the world around you – an essential life-skill in today’s data driven environment

This course assumes no prior knowledge of data analysis. Concepts are explained as clearly as possible and regular activities give you the opportunity to practice your skills and improve your confidence.

What you’ll learn

  • Presenting and summarising your data
  • Decision making under uncertainty
  • Data-based decision making
  • Modelling for decision making

Syllabus

Topic 1 – Presenting and summarising your data
Topic 2 – Decision making under uncertainty
Topic 3 – Data-based decision making
Topic 4 – Modelling for decision making

Meet your instructors

David Lefevre

David is the Director of the EdTech Lab at Imperial College Business School. He is also the course leader on the Business School’s Pre-study module in Maths. David holds an MSc in Computing Science and a PhD in the field of instructional systems from Imperial College London and, perhaps most importantly, a BSc in Mathematics from the University of East Anglia (UEA). David and his EdTech Lab team launched the Global Online MBA program in 2015 and have received awards along the way including a Gold award at the IMS Learning Impact awards in 2010 and an Effective Practice Award at the Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference in 2011.

Catarina Sismeiro

Dr. Catarina Sismeiro is an Associate Professor at Imperial College Business School where she teaches on the Full-Time and Executive MBA programs. Catarina’s research has been published in The Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and The International Journal of Research in Marketing and has won several awards. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at Marshall Business School, University of Southern California. She holds a PhD in Management from the Anderson School, UCLA, and a Licenciatura in Management from Faculdade de Economia do Porto (Portugal).

About MIT horizon

MIT Horizon is an expansive content library built to help you explore emerging technologies. Through easy-to-understand lessons, you’ll be guided through the complexities of the latest technologies and simplified expert-level concepts. Designed for both technical and non-technical learners, you can examine bite-size content that can lead to maximum career outcomes.

For a limited time, gain access to the complete MIT Horizon library.

Register today for exclusive entry.

Program overview

The Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration (CVTI) supports excellence and innovation in transition programming for current and former members of the armed forces.

As a service member in transition, you may face barriers reaching your potential in accessing higher education and beginning meaningful careers, despite the many effective programs offered to this population by the Department of Labor, Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program, and other programs offered by the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. With this in mind, the CVTI is dedicated to creating free courses that will help to break down those barriers to your successful transition. Currently we are offering three courses to meet these demands, with more courses on the way. While these courses are created for veterans and active duty service members, they are free and available for all.

Attaining Higher Education is a course designed to facilitate the successful transition of active duty service members and veterans to postsecondary education, whether at a two- or four-year college for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or even graduate school.

University Studies for Student Veterans helps orient veterans to the norms and expectations of the college classroom, along with offering strategies to ease the transition, to help achieve academic goals, and to allow students to optimize their college education.

Find Your Calling: Transition Principles for Returning Veterans will focus on the development of interpersonal, intrapersonal, and intellectual character strengths as they relate to making a successful career transition from military service to the civilian workforce. The course content is meant to provide you with a framework for an iterative process of self-reflection and the development of practical skills that enables you to make career choices that better align with your values, ambitions, and continued service. Ultimately, this course helps you answer the question: What should I do next?

What will you learn

  • General and detailed information about colleges and universities.
  • Foundational academic and study skills for achieving academic success in college.
  • Strategies for more effective reading, writing, test preparation, and time management.
  • Practical tips and strategies for making a successful military-to-civilian career transition.
  • A framework for how to begin thinking about and exploring new career opportunities.

Program Class List

1
Attaining Higher Education

Course Details
Prepare to transition to college using intentional decision-making. Aimed at active duty service members and veterans, with this course you will learn about the college admission process, including financial aid, to help you choose a right-fit college.

2
University Studies for Student Veterans

Course Details
This course helps veterans transition smoothly from military service to college, and helps them maximize their success once they arrive.

3
Find Your Calling: Career Transition Principles for Returning Veterans

Course Details
This course provides military veterans with a useful roadmap to transition more smoothly from military service to a new and meaningful civilian career.

Meet Your Instructors

Beth E. Morgan - Pearson Advance

Beth E. Morgan

Director of Higher Education Transition and Partnerships at Columbia University Born in Quantico, Virginia, Beth grew up in a Marine Corps family and was raised around the world, living for periods of time in Hawaii, Germany, and Korea. Professionally, Beth has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, for several non-profits, as a consultant, and on staff at major universities throughout the United States, including Colgate University, Princeton University, and the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration at Columbia University, Beth worked most recently with the non-profit Service to School as Executive Director and previously directed the Marine Corps Leadership Scholar Program (LSP), both of which assisted transitioning service members and veterans with admission to undergraduate and graduate programs. Beth has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts degree from Stanford University.

R.J. Jenkins

Curriculum Designer at Columbia University Before joining the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration as a Curriculum Designer in 2016, R.J. served as an Associate Dean of Students at Columbia University’s School of General Studies where he directed the Academic Resource Center and served as the lead instructor for University Studies, a transition course for first-year, non-traditional students. An award-winning teacher, R.J. has advised college students at Columbia, Cambridge, and Harvard Universities, and has taught courses in English and American literature, literary history, close reading, academic skill-building, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. R.J. holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology from Columbia University (2003), a Master of Letters in English literature from the University of Cambridge (2005), and is currently pursuing doctoral work in English literature.

Skip Bailey

Senior Advisor to the Director of Educational Financing at Columbia University William ”Skip” Bailey has been a financial aid administrator for more than 34 years. He has been managing financial aid for non-traditional students at the School of General Studies (GS) for over 20 years. Previously he administered financial aid at multiple colleges including the University of San Diego and the University of Michigan. A degree in education from Michigan State University and lots of experience has provided Skip with the tools he uses every day to assist students at GS with the myriad issues involved with college financial aid.
Tanya Ang - Pearson Advance

Tanya Ang

Vice President of Veterans Education Success at Columbia University Tanya is the Vice President of Veterans Education Success and has more than 17 years of experience in higher education. She has worked at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and also served as the Director of Veterans Programs at the American Council on Education. Prior to joining ACE, Tanya worked at two universities including working as an Administrative Analyst for the Vice President of Student Affairs Office at California State University - Fullerton and as Associate Registrar at Vanguard University where most her work focused on the non-traditional student including military and student veterans. She was the certifying official at her institution for student veteran GI Bill benefits and worked hand-in-hand with the various offices on-campus to ensure students received the benefits and the support they needed to successfully navigate their academic career. In her current role, she works to ensure military-connected students have access to high-quality education to achieve their long term career goals. Tanya is the first in her family to graduate from college, and earned her BA in Communications at Biola University and an MA in Organizational Leadership at Vanguard University.

Sara Remedios

Associate Dean of Students at Columbia University Sara is Associate Dean of Students at Columbia University’s School of General Studies where she directs the Academic Resource Center and oversees all academic and learning initiatives. Before coming to Columbia, she worked to restructure the CUNY Pipeline Honors Program, a program dedicated to assisting exceptional undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds in gaining admission to doctoral programs. She is also an accomplished teacher. Dean Remedios holds a B.A. in English and political science from Washington University in St. Louis (2009), an M.Phil. in English literature from the City University of New York (2014), and a Ph.D. in English literature from the City University of New York (2016).

Josh Edwin

Senior Assistant Dean of Students at Columbia University Josh is Senior Assistant Dean of Students at Columbia University’s School of General Studies. His teaching experience at Columbia includes University Studies, academic writing classes, one-on-one writing support, and creative writing workshops for veterans. He has also taught at a public high school in Atlanta and an English language school in Seoul, South Korea. In addition to teaching, he has published widely as a poet, translator, and reviewer. He holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Emory University and an M.F.A. in poetry and literary translation from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Michael Abrams

Executive Director - Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, Marine Corps Veteran at Columbia University Michael Abrams joined the Marine Corps shortly following the September 11, 2001 attacks and served on active duty for eight years, which included a deployment to Afghanistan with an infantry company as the artillery forward observer. After leaving active duty, Michael attended New York University’s Stern School of Business graduating with an M.B.A. in Finance and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. While attending business school, he founded FourBlock to help bridge the gap between returning service members and the business community. The program is a university accredited, semester-long course that educates and prepares transitioning veterans for meaningful careers in corporate America. FourBlock is in nearly twenty cities across the country, educating and serving hundreds of transitioning veterans each semester. Michael is now serving as the executive director of the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration. The newly established center of excellence is dedicated to creating and supporting evidence-based programming that enables returning service members with reaching their academic and career potential.
William Deresiewicz - Pearson Advance

William Deresiewicz

Best-Selling Author, Award-Winning Essayist at Columbia University William Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist and critic, a frequent speaker at colleges and other venues, and the best-selling author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. He taught English at Yale and Columbia before becoming a full-time writer in 2008. Bill has published over 250 essays and reviews. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper's, The Nation, The New Republic, The American Scholar, and many other publications. He has won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and a Sydney Award; he is also a three-time National Magazine Award nominee. His work has been translated into 17 languages and anthologized in more than 30 college readers. He has spoken at over 80 colleges, high schools, and educational groups and has held visiting positions at Bard, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna Colleges. Bill’s previous book is A Jane Austen Education. He is working on a book about how artists are making a living in the new economy.  

Sheena Iyengar

World-Renowned Expert on Choice, S. T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia University Professor Iyengar has taught courses in leadership and entrepreneurial creativity. Her research addresses the implications of offering people, whether they be employees or consumers, choices. She has examined choice in a multitude of contexts ranging from employee motivation and performance in a global organization, Citigroup, to chocolate displays at Godiva, to the magazine aisles of supermarkets, and to mutual fund options in retirement benefit plans. Professor Iyengar received the Presidential Early Career Award for her ongoing work in examining cultural, individual, and situational factors that influence people's choice-making preferences and behaviors.

Sebastian Junger

NYT Best-Selling Author, Documentary Filmmaker at Columbia University Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of THE PERFECT STORM, FIRE, A DEATH IN BELMONT, WAR and TRIBE. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world, and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film "Restrepo", a feature-length documentary (co-directed with Tim Hetherington), was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

About This Course:

In this business and management course, you will develop a strong understanding of how firms compete by learning about important analytical approaches that underlie business strategy.

This course will show you how a business views itself in its “totality” and in the context of its environment. The course will be taught from the perspective of a manager or chief executive officer (CEO).

This course aims to equip you with a good understanding of:

  • What managing a firm strategically implies?
    • How one analyzes the industry in which a firm competes?
    • How does a firm create competitive advantage?
    • How does a firm sustain its competitive advantage?

What You’ll Learn:

  • Industry and competitive analysis
  • Resource and competency analysis
  • Analysing strategy across corporate and business levels

Syllabus:

Week 1: Introduction to Strategic Management
Week 2: Analyzing the External Environment
Week 3: Analyzing the Internal Environment
Week 4: Competitive Positioning
Week 5: Managing the Multi-business Firm

Meet Your Instructors:

P D Jose

P D Jose is an professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, where he teaches core courses on Business and Corporate Strategy and several electives on sustainability. He is a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. He also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Forestry Management from the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal and Bachelors in Physics from the Institute of Science, Bombay. He has taught classes on strategy and/or sustainability at a number of schools including Cardiff University Business School (UK); the School of Economics and Business at the University of Goteborg, Sweden; Indian Institute of Management at Kozhikode and Ahmedabad. He has also consulted with several government agencies, non-governmental, private sector and international organizations.

Rejie George Pallathita

Rejie is an Associate Professor in the Corporate Strategy and Policy area at IIM Bangalore. He is a Ph.D. from Tilburg University in The Netherlands. Professor Pallathitta’s interests are in the areas of Corporate Governance, Strategic Management and International Business. He has published papers in the Strategic Management Journal and the Journal of Business Research and has presented his research work at several international conferences.

Sai Yayavaram

Sai Yayavaram is an Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, where he teaches Competition & Strategy and Strategy Content. He also conducts executive education programmes on strategic management and management of innovation for senior managers. He is a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. His research focuses on technology management, complexity and strategic rents and has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, and Organization Science.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

About This Course:

Do you aspire to be an ideal people manager? The journey from being an individual contributor to a people manager requires significant personal development and growth. If you are a first time manager, you may have asked yourself:

  • Where did I go wrong in managing this particular employee?
  • How should I give feedback to my subordinates?
  • How do I handle potential assessments?
  • How should I motivate people who report to me?

The objective of this business and management course is to smoothen the transition for newly appointed people managers, motivate and guide people who are aspiring to become one and to think back and reflect for seasoned managers.

The course will provide learners with an enhanced understanding of the role of people management in organizational context.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Gain an overview of what it means to be an effective people manager
  • Have a deeper understanding of the different aspects of people management
  • Be able to appreciate the challenges faced by a first time manager
  • Reflect on your managerial experiences

Syllabus:

Week 1: Introduction to People Management

Difference between People Management and Human Resource Management; impact of individual and organizational factors on people management.

Week 2: Getting Work Done Through Others

Challenges of getting work done; significance of prioritization and assigning work to team members.

Week 3: Assessment and Evaluation

Concept of performance management and role of a manager in the different stages of the performance management process.

Week 4: Building Peer Networks

Understanding the importance of peer networks in an organization; being able to influence those on whom you have no authority.

Week 5: Essentials of Communication

Concept of the communication process with reflection on various barriers to effective communication and ways to overcome.

Week 6: Managing Self

Reflection on what does it mean to be a people manager; building a personal development plan for oneself.

Meet Your Instructor:

Vasanthi Srinivasan

Vasanthi Srinivasan is a Professor in the Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management Area. Her research interests are in the field of HRM. She has been extensively involved in designing and delivering Leadership Development Programs for Indian and international companies. Her prior experience in offering the MOOC course - Introduction to People Management motivates her to effectively harness technology for learning impact.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

About this course

Although there are some robots you might never get to meet (or might hope you never meet), such as those sent to space, war or rescue situations, many other robots and bots are being developed to populate people’s homes, the online spaces they frequent, their workplaces, and the social spaces they visit.

This course explores how people communicate with robots and bots in everyday life, both now and into the future.

Module 1 discusses the difficulties of defining what a robot is, as well as briefly introducing bots.

Module 2 focuses on bots, chatbots and socialbots in detail, to consider how people communicate with these programs in online spaces, as well as some ethical questions these interactions raise.

Robots in the home are the subject of Module 3, with a discussion of robots designed to act as personal assistants leading into some examples of assistive and care robots, as well as telepresence robots that allow people to interact with one another at a distance through a robot.

Module 4 considers robots at work, from the potential of telepresence robots to enable remote operations, to robots designed to share people’s workspaces, and potentially even take their jobs. One example of a public space where robots might alter people’s working and social lives greatly is on the roads with the development of self-driving vehicles, robots that need to be able to communicate with their passengers as well as with other road users.

What you’ll learn

  • Some ways to define what robots and bots are
  • How people interpret robots and bots as communicating, social, even emotional others
  • Whether robots and bots need to communicate in humanlike ways to be understood
  • The potential of robots with non-humanlike form, behaviour and communication

Syllabus

Module 1: Robots, bots and communication

  • How robots are presented in popular culture and the media
  • Ways to define a robot
  • Why people build (or don’t build) humanoid or humanlike robots
  • The difference between robots and bots

Module 2: Bots and social bots

  • What it’s like to interact with some bots
  • How and why bots are designed to be humanlike in order to be ‘socialbots’
  • Broader conceptions of bots and their activities in digital spaces
  • Socialbots and bots as they become more specifically embodied

Module 3: Robots in the home

  • The potential of more sophisticated robots designed to act as personal assistants
  • Robots that do more practical work around the home
  • Assistive and care robots, designed to help older adults and people with disabilities of all ages
  • Telepresence robots that allow people to interact with one another at a distance in more flexible and active ways than teleconferencing technologies such as Skype or Facetime

Module 4: Robots at work and on the road

  • Remote operations as an extension of telepresence
  • Robots at work more generally and the question of whether your job might be at risk
  • The introduction of self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles onto road systems also populated with human drivers, cyclists and pedestrians
  • How ethics can be built into robots and the importance of ethics for designers and manufacturers of robotic technologies

Meet your instructors

Eleanor Sandry

Eleanor is a Senior Lecturer in Internet Studies at Curtin University. Her first degree was in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. More recently, she completed a Masters in Communication Studies followed by a PhD in Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. Her research uses a range of communication theories and philosophies of technology to drive analyses of human-technology interactions and relations. She is particularly interested in the ways human-robot communication, where robots need not be humanlike in form, behaviour or intelligence, can support collaboration between humans and robots to complete joint tasks in the home, at work or in social spaces.

Gwyneth Peaty

Gwyneth is a sessional academic in Internet Studies at Curtin University. She completed a PhD exploring the grotesque in popular culture, and her wider research interests include monstrosity, post-humanism, horror and the Gothic.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

About this course

In Disability and Digital Media , we will explore the relationship between digital technologies and disability in the Internet age.We will consider:

  • the evolving impact of social media on representations of disability;
  • the politics of experiencing, embodying, and discussing disability online;
  • the presence of disability in memes, viral content, and online culture; and
  • the role of accessibility in the digital world.

What you’ll learn

You will learn about:

  • Social and medical models of disability;
  • Key concepts and terminology for understanding digital disability;
  • How social media is changing representations of disability;
  • The opportunities and challenges of representing disability online;
  • How memes and viral content are being used by disability activists;
  • How the tools of digital accessibility can benefit all media users.

Syllabus

Module 1: Introducing digital disability

Module 2:Disability and social media

Module 3: Accessibility and the digital world

Module 4: The future of digital disability

Meet your instructors

Gwyneth Peaty

Gwyneth is a sessional academic in Internet Studies at Curtin University. She completed a PhD exploring the grotesque in popular culture, and her wider research interests include monstrosity, post-humanism, horror and the Gothic.

Katie Ellis

Mike Kent

About this course

Social media and online communication dominate our daily lives in an unprecedented manner. Wireless connectivity, mobile devices and wearable technologies mean that social media is always on, always part of everyday life for billions of people across the world.

While the term ‘social media’ is barely a decade old, the story of how people started using the internet in a social manner is a much longer and more interesting one. This course will increase learners’ understanding of social media by looking at the ways networked connectivity let users become ‘social’, how this was amplified with the emergence of the web, and how social media became the default mode of the mobile web we use today.

What you’ll learn

By completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Map significant milestones in the emergence of social media
  • Differentiate between ‘Web 2.0’ and participatory culture
  • Understand the differences in the way users and social media companies utilise and think about social media
  • Extrapolate current social trends online and map possible directions in social media.

Syllabus

Module 1: Social Media before the Web
Examines social tools, protocols and ways of communicating that developed in the first two decades of the internet, and the surprising dominance of social communication using networks that were initially designed for very different purposes.

  • The internet’s first ‘killer app’: email
  • Newsgroups and BBS Bulletin Boards
  • The emergence of online communities
  • Aliases, avatars and pseudonyms: identity experimentation.

Module2: Web 2.0 and Participatory Culture
Examines the explosion of networked interaction after the emergence of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, through to the most well-known early examples of social media: blogs and wikis.

  • Blogs: the democratisation of publication
  • Wikis: participatory culture, collective intelligence and the emergence of the Wikipedia
  • ‘Web 2.0’ and the selling of social media
  • The emergence of social presence: you are your web presence.

Module3: Social Platforms
Examines the way that the dominant social media platforms took centre stage, and how these spaces made social media a normal part of everyday life and changed political communication.

  • Facebook: how people became profiles
  • Twitter: how 140 characters became the new politics
  • Google’s YouTube: social meets video, and the challenges of building communities on ever-expanding platforms
  • The ‘real name’ web: the push to make online and offline identities the same.

Module4: Social Goes Everywhere: The Mobile Web
Examines the way social media changes when phones and tablets let users be online at every moment, in every place and space, and how devices, not just people, start to send social signals.

  • Snapchat and Instagram: mobile, visual and the communication that deletes-by-default
  • Locative media: how places are augmented by a social layer
  • Wearables: FitBits and trackers as social media
  • Owning big data: are users a source of big data, and how might that be used?

Meet your instructors

Tama Leaver

Tama Leaver is an Associate Professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia and a frequent expert media commentator. His research interests include online identity, social media, digital death, infancy online, mobile gaming and the changing landscape of media distribution. He has published in a number of journals including Popular Communication, Media International Australia, First Monday, Comparative Literature Studies, Social Media and Society, Communication Research and Practice and the Fibreculture journal. He is also the author of 'Artificial Culture: Identity, Technology and Bodies' (Routledge, 2012); co-editor of 'An Education in Facebook? Higher Education and the World’s Largest Social Network' (Routledge, 2014) with Mike Kent; and 'Social, Casual and Mobile Games: The Changing Gaming Landscape' (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) with Michele Willson. Tama has received teaching awards from the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, and in 2012 received a national Australian Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities and the Arts.

Gwyneth Peaty

Gwyneth is a sessional academic in Internet Studies at Curtin University. She completed a PhD exploring the grotesque in popular culture, and her wider research interests include monstrosity, post-humanism, horror and the Gothic.

What you will learn

  • Understand that food security depends on food availability, food access, food utilization and stability
  • How we can produce enough food for everyone
  • How sustainable different food production systems are
  • How to assure access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food for everyone
  • About actors and activities to achieve food security at international, national, local, household, and individual level

Program Overview

Get involved: let’s find a way to feed 9 billion people in 2050

What are the biggest environmental issues we face? Pollution? Climate change? True. But among these environmental topics, feeding the growing population, 9 billion in 2050, is one of the most pressing issues we have to find a solution for.

To solve this problem, we need people to gain knowledge, do research, and explore the options. You can be a piece of the puzzle, help find a solution, and start now by gaining knowledge about food production systems, food security, sustainable development in agriculture and livestock, and systems thinking.

XSeries sustainable food security

How is it possible that the world currently produces enough food for everyone, but still people suffer from hunger and nutrient deficiencies? How can we produce sufficient food in an environmentally sustainable way to feed the increased world population in the future?

This Environmental Studies XSeries, developed by Wageningen University, consists of 3 courses:

The value of systems thinking

Learn about systems thinking and its application to improve the environmental sustainability of food production systems. The main topics are:

  • Complexity and diversity of food production systems
  • Principles of system analysis
  • Evaluation methods for the environmental impact of food production systems
  • Strong and weak points of different food production systems

Crop production

Learn the basics of crop production to feed the world and preserve our planet’s resources. The main topics are:

  • Basic concept of plant production
  • Issues related to global food production and consumption
  • Influences of water (scarcity and availability) and other measures on crop production
  • Processes that cause major problems for the environment
  • Measures to solve and prevent those problems

Food Access

Learn about the basics of food access decision-making from a multilevel perspective. The main topics are:

  • The basic principles of food access
  • Choices influencing food access
  • Dilemmas at household, local, national and international levels

About Wageningen University & Research

At Wageningen University and Research, we are dedicated to exploring the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Studies and courses train (future) professionals from all over the world in sustainable food systems and help consumers make informed choices about what they eat, how it is produced and the impact of their decisions on the environment and society.

Course structures and certificates

The duration of each course (or MOOC: Massive Open Online Course) is flexible: study any time and place you want. You decide how to spend your time during a course. Gain the knowledge offered in each course free of charge through dynamic modules filled with video, syllabus, and assignments for practice and grading. Obtain your verified certificate for $ 49,- each. After successful completion of all 3 courses, you can obtain an overall certificate.

About course dates

EdX keeps courses available, even if the recent course date has expired. Enroll nonetheless, and allow yourself to explore content and continue learning. However, not all features and materials may be available. Check back often to see when new start dates are announced.

Scroll down to find more information about each separate course and join the Wageningen University XSeries about sustainable food security.

Courses in this program

1
Sustainable Food Security: Crop Production

Course Details
Learn the basics of crop production and find out how to feed the future world population without depleting our planet’s resources!

2
Sustainable Food Security: The value of systems thinking

Course Details
Learn how to solve the 'Rubik's cube' of systems thinking and how it's applied to improve the environmental sustainability of food production systems!

3
Sustainable Food Security: Food Access

Course Details
Learn the basics of food access decision-making. In other words, who decides what ends up on your plate. Spoiler alert: it’s not just you!

Meet your instructors

Eddie Bokkers

Eddie Bokkers holds a PhD in Animal Sciences from Wageningen University. He is an associate professor at the Animal Production Systems group of Professor Imke de Boer. Eddie Bokkers teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students including the course ‘Systems Approach in Animal Sciences’. That is why we could not find a more suitable person for explaining the systems approach in this MOOC. Eddie Bokkers manages several research projects contributing to our knowledge of sustainable development of animal production systems. He is especially interested in trade-offs and synergies between animal welfare, environmental impact and economics.

Martin van Ittersum

Martin van Ittersum holds a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Science from Wageningen University. He is a professor at the Plant Production Systems group of the same university. His research and teaching focus on research concepts and methods for the analysis, design and integrated assessment of agricultural systems from field to farm, at regional and global levels. He applies these concepts to investigate opportunities for sustainable intensification of local and global food production. He (co-)developed and applied several of the concepts taught in this MOOC. He is currently co-leading the Global Yield Gap Atlas project that aims to map where and how much food production can be increased on existing agricultural land. He is also involved in research on resource use efficiency and environmental effects of different agricultural systems.

Ken Giller

Prof. Dr. Ken Giller is an outstanding expert in the field of Plant Production Systems. He leads a group of scientists with profound experience in farming systems analysis to explore future scenarios for land use with a focus on food production at Wageningen University. Ken’s research has focused on smallholder farming systems in tropical regions with special attention for sub-Saharan Africa. In particular problems of soil fertility, the role of nitrogen fixation in tropical legumes, and the temporal and spatial dynamics of resources use within crop/livestock farming systems have this interest. He leads a number of large initiatives such as N2Africa (Putting Nitrogen Fixation to Work for Smallholder Farmers in Africa), NUANCES(Nutrient Use in Animal and Cropping Systems: Efficiencies and Scales) and Competing Claims on Natural Resources.

​Harrie Lovenstein

Harrie Lovenstein holds an MSc in tropical agronomy. He has specialized in arid land agriculture and gained hands on experience in o.a. runoff farming, agroforestry systems, and tree propagation techniques. All with common goal: "more crop per drop." He is presently affiliated to the Centre for Sustainable Development and Food Security at WageningenUR and involved in distance learning projects.

Gerrie van de Ven

Gerrie van de Ven holds a PhD in Agricultural Science from Wageningen University. She is employed at the Plant Production Systems Group. Gerrie van de Ven combines teaching and research with a focus on farming systems analysis and optimisation of land use systems. Nutrient cycling, environmental impacts and the interaction between crops and livestock, both in the western world and in Africa, have her special attention. Her scientific work has built on systems analysis and modelling approaches, mainly at the farm and regional level, as taught in this MOOC. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students on these subjects.

Marrit van den Berg

Marrit van den Berg is associate professor at the Development Economics group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. She studied tropical land use and development economics and obtained her PhD from Wageningen University in 2001.Her research concentrates on the livelihood of rural households in developing countries with special attention for food and nutrition security, (off-farm) diversification, technology adoption, and microfinance. She is involved in several projects assessing the impact of development interventions as project leader and senior researcher. Her teaching concentrates on methods, techniques and data analysis for field research. Her own toolbox includes mainly quantitative methods, such as econometric analysis of large scale surveys, behavioural experiments, and randomized controlled trials . She predominantly works with primary data and has research experience in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Hilde Bras

Hilde Bras (1968) is full professor and chair of the Sociology of Consumption and Households Group (SCH) at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Utrecht University/ICS. She has published extensively on demographic and life course outcomes, including marriage, fertility, migration and status attainment, on social changes in families and households, and on sibling differences and effects. She received prestigious grants for her work on siblings (VENI, Medium Investment) and for her research on family influences on fertility (VIDI, ASPASIA). She is co-editor-in-chief of The History of the Family: An International Quarterly. Her current research focuses on inequalities in food and nutrition security within and across households, and particularly on the causes and effects of inadequate food access in the life courses of women, children and adolescents.

Jeroen Candel

Jeroen Candel finished a bachelor in Public Administration and Organisational Science and a master in Public Governance (cum laude) at Utrecht University before completing his PhD research entitled 'Putting food on the table: the European Union governance of the wicked problem of food security' at the Public Administration and Policy Group (PAP), Wageningen University, the Netherlands, in April 2016. He currently works as assistant professor at the PAP group. He is interested in emerging forms of food policy and governance and studies these by applying public policy and governance theories. By doing so, he both contributes to theoretical debates and provides concrete suggestions for policymakers and stakeholders. Beside his research, Jeroen coordinates and teaches introductory courses on Public Policy and Governance and European Union politics.

Jessica Duncan

Jessica Duncan is an Assistant Professor in the Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University. She holds a PhD in Food Policy from City University London and is the author of the book Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security (Routledge, 2015). She is an Associate Editor of the journal Food Security and the co-chair of the ECPR Food Policy and Governance Research Network. Her research focuses on the social-political dynamics of global norm setting for food security and the ways in which non-state actors participate in policy making processes. She is motivated by transformative governance mechanisms that support pathways to just and sustainable food systems.

Ewout Frankema

Ewout Frankema is professor and chair of Rural and Environmental History at Wageningen University and elected member of the Young Academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on a deeper understanding of the long-term economic history of developing regions (Africa, Latin America, Asia). His work is based on a holistic conception of historical evolutionary processes in which he aims to link the distinctive fields of economic and social history, colonial history, rural history, neo-institutional economics, political economy and environmental history. Frankema is a board member of the N.W. Posthumus Institute, the African Economic History Network (AEHN) and the Center for Global Economic History (CGEH), research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and editorial board member of the Economic History of Developing Regions (EHDR).

Peter Oosterveer

Peter Oosterveer received his PhD in 2005 at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His research and teaching is in the field of globalization and sustainability of food production and consumption. His interests are in particular on global public and private governance of food towards sustainability, including labeling and certification of food. Increasing globalisation of food raises difficult challenges in promoting sustainability as distances between producers and consumers are increasing and supply chains are becoming more complex. Conventional national government-based regulation is no longer sufficient and therefore the roles of private and civil society based actors are becoming more important. His research is focusing on these shifts and their consequences for the organisation of the supply chain and the roles of different social actors therein.

Maja Slingerland

Maja Slingerland holds a PhD degree in farming systems (2000), at Wageningen University. She worked for 10 years in research and development in west Africa. She initiated and coordinated large interdisciplinary research programmes: micronutrients (China, Benin, Burkina Faso); competing claims on natural resources (southern Africa, Brazil) and sustainable oil palm (Indonesia, Thailand). She is member of the steering committee of WU strategic funded interdisciplinary programmes "Scaling and Governance" and "Smart and Sustainable Food production" and of two interdisciplinary research programmes on conflict and climate change of the Dutch Science Foundation. She supervises PhD and Master studies, participates in public debates and published over 100 articles and book chapters in scientific and popular journals. She teaches a global food security course.

Sietze Vellema

Sietze Vellema is associate professor at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group, Wageningen University, and senior researcher at the Partnerships Resource Centre, Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands. Sietze’s interest is to understand why and how different actors collaborate in solving organisational, managerial, and technical problems related to inclusive development and sustainable food provision. He studies partnerships, certification, and institutional arrangements in agri-food chains and supervises PhD candidates in different fields: collective action in oil palm, shea, and sesame in West Africa; trading practices in East and West Africa; food safety and consumer practices in Southeast Asia; labels, governance and service delivery in global commodity trade; coordination and diversity in banana production in Asia. He leads action research focusing on value chains, partnerships, poverty, and food security in Africa.

I.J.M. de Boer

Professor Imke de Boer holds a PhD in Animal Sciences from Wageningen University. Since 2011, she leads the Animal Production Systems (APS) group at Wageningen University. This chair group uses system analysis to scientifically underpin sustainable development of animal production systems. They focus on exploring the multi-dimensional, and sometimes conflicting, consequences of innovations in livestock systems across the world, with special focus on their impact on the environment, animal welfare and livelihood of people. Imke de Boer teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and supervises many PhD students in this knowledge domain.

Carolien Kroeze

Professor Carolien Kroeze is personal professor in the Environmental Systems Analysis Group at Wageningen University, specialized in pollution management. She has also been professor at the Open University of the Netherlands. Her research includes scenario analyses and evaluation of environmental policies aiming at reducing multiple environmental problems simultaneously. Carolien Kroeze co-developed environmental models studying environmental problems caused by food production, and options to reduce these problems. These models typically integrated information from the natural and social sciences.

About this course

Food access: Learn about food supply and food security

Have you ever considered that you’re not the only one who decides what food ends up on your plate? In this environmental studies course, you’ll explore how key actors at household, local, national and international levels negotiate and make choices on access to food. You will understand why the choices you make have been predestined. And you will learn what it takes to provide access to a safe and nutritious food supply every day.

In this course you will learn that food access:

  • And food manufacturing has changed during the past century
  • Depends on social and economic dynamics at the household level for everyone
  • Is shaped at a local level by the interactions between traders, retailers, producers and buyers in the markets
  • Is influenced on a national scale by politics and policies by negotiating and aligning goals, instruments, and modes of governance ¥ is impacted by debates and negotiations creating conditions in food trade by international organizations

Wageningen University is specialized

The University of Wageningen offers an excellent combination of conducting research worldwide and educating in the area of ‘healthy food and living environment’. The institute ranks among the top Dutch universities and has scored the third place in the Times Higher Education (THE) World Ranking 2017 for research performance. Learn from professors who have gained decades of experience from both teaching at a specialized university and real life projects about access to food worldwide.

This is why you should sign up

If you want to understand the basics of access to food and food decision-making from a multilevel perspective, you can sign up as a:

  • student
  • food and nutrition policy maker
  • development practitioner and trainer at international, national, household and individual level

A verified edX certificate provides proof for an employer, school, or other institution that you have successfully completed this online course.

What you’ll learn

After successful completion of both practice and graded assignments related to this course, you will:

  • understand the basic principles of food access
  • understand actors’ choices influencing food access
  • discern dilemmas at household, local, national and international levels get the big picture when the connections between levels and actors regarding access to food have been unraveled.

Syllabus

Week 1: Setting the scene
Introduction to food access as one of the pillars of global food security

Week 2: Households accessing and allocating food
Introduction to social and economic determinants shaping access to food between and within households

Week 3: Traders arranging food access in local markets
Introduction to distribution and trading food at the local level

Week 4: National policy makers governing food access
Introduction to food policy and how political choices at the national level affect access to food

Week 5: Negotiators setting international trade rules for food access
Introducing the role of international trade for food access and its economic, social and cultural implications

Week 6: connecting the ingredients
Integration of levels and actors

Meet your instructor

Marrit van den Berg

Marrit van den Berg is associate professor at the Development Economics group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. She studied tropical land use and development economics and obtained her PhD from Wageningen University in 2001.Her research concentrates on the livelihood of rural households in developing countries with special attention for food and nutrition security, (off-farm) diversification, technology adoption, and microfinance. She is involved in several projects assessing the impact of development interventions as project leader and senior researcher. Her teaching concentrates on methods, techniques and data analysis for field research. Her own toolbox includes mainly quantitative methods, such as econometric analysis of large scale surveys, behavioural experiments, and randomized controlled trials . She predominantly works with primary data and has research experience in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Hilde Bras

Hilde Bras (1968) is full professor and chair of the Sociology of Consumption and Households Group (SCH) at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Utrecht University/ICS. She has published extensively on demographic and life course outcomes, including marriage, fertility, migration and status attainment, on social changes in families and households, and on sibling differences and effects. She received prestigious grants for her work on siblings (VENI, Medium Investment) and for her research on family influences on fertility (VIDI, ASPASIA). She is co-editor-in-chief of The History of the Family: An International Quarterly. Her current research focuses on inequalities in food and nutrition security within and across households, and particularly on the causes and effects of inadequate food access in the life courses of women, children and adolescents.

Jeroen Candel

Jeroen Candel finished a bachelor in Public Administration and Organisational Science and a master in Public Governance (cum laude) at Utrecht University before completing his PhD research entitled 'Putting food on the table: the European Union governance of the wicked problem of food security' at the Public Administration and Policy Group (PAP), Wageningen University, the Netherlands, in April 2016. He currently works as assistant professor at the PAP group. He is interested in emerging forms of food policy and governance and studies these by applying public policy and governance theories. By doing so, he both contributes to theoretical debates and provides concrete suggestions for policymakers and stakeholders. Beside his research, Jeroen coordinates and teaches introductory courses on Public Policy and Governance and European Union politics.

Jessica Duncan

Jessica Duncan is an Assistant Professor in the Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University. She holds a PhD in Food Policy from City University London and is the author of the book Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security (Routledge, 2015). She is an Associate Editor of the journal Food Security and the co-chair of the ECPR Food Policy and Governance Research Network. Her research focuses on the social-political dynamics of global norm setting for food security and the ways in which non-state actors participate in policy making processes. She is motivated by transformative governance mechanisms that support pathways to just and sustainable food systems.

About this course

Systems thinking and environmental sustainability: solve the Rubik ‘s cube

Have you ever considered how many aspects of food production affect the natural environment? Every aspect needs to be considered in attaining the future goal to produce enough food for the growing population while at the same time preserving our planet. It’s as difficult as solving a Rubik’s cube; changing one aspect may affect the environment in a major way.

Systems theory, or systems thinking, is a way of understanding and working with the complexity of sustainable food production systems, which requires training in different disciplines and an approach that can address this complexity. This environmental studies course enables participants to apply the principles of a systems approach to food production with a focus on environmental sustainability.

The professors at Wageningen University

The University of Wageningen offers an excellent combination of conducting research worldwide and educating in the area of ‘healthy food and living environment’. For each course, professors from specific fields of expertise are eager to teach and share the University’s mission: “Explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”.

This is why you should sign up

Sign up as a student if you want to acquire knowledge about environmental sustainability and the way systems thinking helps in decision-making in the complexity of food production. After successful completion of both practice and graded assignments related to this course, you will:

  • Understand the complexity and diversity of food production systems
  • Understand the principles of system analysis and apply it to environmental issues in food production
  • Understand evaluation methods for the environmental impact of food production systems in different contexts and levels (e.g. farm, regional and global) Be able to evaluate strong and weak points of different food production systems regarding environmental sustainability
  • Be able to contribute to a discussion about environmental sustainability and food production and ask relevant questions

What you’ll learn

In this course you will learn about:

  • The concept of environmental sustainability and identify the main issues associated with food production
  • The basics of systems thinking and understand how the different aspects of a system influence one another and how a system itself is affected by its context
  • The relevance of crop and livestock productivity for environmental sustainability
  • The environmental indicators and how to measure the environmental impact of food production at farm, village or regional level
  • Decision-making and life cycle assessment
  • Helpful tools and their strong and weak points

We will analyze production systems at both ends of the spectrum: highly productive systems with relatively high inputs and emissions to the environment, and low productive systems with low input use and depletion of soil fertility. Crop-livestock interaction is a focal point.

 

Meet your instructors

Gerrie van de Ven

Gerrie van de Ven holds a PhD in Agricultural Science from Wageningen University. She is employed at the Plant Production Systems Group. Gerrie van de Ven combines teaching and research with a focus on farming systems analysis and optimisation of land use systems. Nutrient cycling, environmental impacts and the interaction between crops and livestock, both in the western world and in Africa, have her special attention. Her scientific work has built on systems analysis and modelling approaches, mainly at the farm and regional level, as taught in this MOOC. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students on these subjects.

I.J.M. de Boer

Professor Imke de Boer holds a PhD in Animal Sciences from Wageningen University. Since 2011, she leads the Animal Production Systems (APS) group at Wageningen University. This chair group uses system analysis to scientifically underpin sustainable development of animal production systems. They focus on exploring the multi-dimensional, and sometimes conflicting, consequences of innovations in livestock systems across the world, with special focus on their impact on the environment, animal welfare and livelihood of people. Imke de Boer teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and supervises many PhD students in this knowledge domain.

Carolien Kroeze

Professor Carolien Kroeze is personal professor in the Environmental Systems Analysis Group at Wageningen University, specialized in pollution management. She has also been professor at the Open University of the Netherlands. Her research includes scenario analyses and evaluation of environmental policies aiming at reducing multiple environmental problems simultaneously. Carolien Kroeze co-developed environmental models studying environmental problems caused by food production, and options to reduce these problems. These models typically integrated information from the natural and social sciences.

Eddie Bokkers

Eddie Bokkers holds a PhD in Animal Sciences from Wageningen University. He is an associate professor at the Animal Production Systems group of Professor Imke de Boer. Eddie Bokkers teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students including the course ‘Systems Approach in Animal Sciences’. That is why we could not find a more suitable person for explaining the systems approach in this MOOC. Eddie Bokkers manages several research projects contributing to our knowledge of sustainable development of animal production systems. He is especially interested in trade-offs and synergies between animal welfare, environmental impact and economics.

Martin van Ittersum

Martin van Ittersum holds a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Science from Wageningen University. He is a professor at the Plant Production Systems group of the same university. His research and teaching focus on research concepts and methods for the analysis, design and integrated assessment of agricultural systems from field to farm, at regional and global levels. He applies these concepts to investigate opportunities for sustainable intensification of local and global food production. He (co-)developed and applied several of the concepts taught in this MOOC. He is currently co-leading the Global Yield Gap Atlas project that aims to map where and how much food production can be increased on existing agricultural land. He is also involved in research on resource use efficiency and environmental effects of different agricultural systems.