Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Natural Resources Management

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring, Autumn
  • Course codeGEO-SD660
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester

Spring and autumn

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

While there exists much relevant knowledge about natural resources, they are frequently mismanaged, often with dramatic consequences for those involved. One aim of the course is to build solid intuitive understanding of the theories and principles underlying natural resources. A second aim is to help students develop the skills and competencies needed for proper management of for instance water reservoirs, fisheries, forests, animal herds, and climate, and to operate in product and quota markets.

For resource management, central topics are system descriptions, dynamics, economics, uncertainty and policy design. For management of commons problems, central topics are competitive games, regulation, and market-based institutions.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) utilizes a number of new online teaching tools to help students develop deep understanding. Study at your own speed, answer questions, solve problems, and watch videos. To build deep knowledge and to develop skills, students have to finish each and every task to make progress. Immediate feedback helps to correct your understanding step by step. This reduces the chance that students become overconfident in material that is misperceived.

This short video gives you some more hints about what the course is about (note that some of the learning environments in the video are outdated and have been replaced by new and better versions):   www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbXcxDK6RaY


Learning Outcomes

Express knowledge and understanding

Students know about cause and effect relationships of importance for resource management and are able to express this knowledge in 'stock and flow diagrams'. They understand how cause and effect give rise to developments over time such as equilibrium, growth, goal seeking, cycles, and overshoots. They understand the basics of markets for products and quotas.

Apply knowledge and understanding

Students are able to apply knowledge and understanding to manage natural resources and to operate in markets for products and quotas.

Make judgements

Students know how to distinguish between resources and their specific needs for policies or management strategies. They know about implementation problems and the need to consider second best solutions.


Students are aware of likely misperceptions. They can use analogies, narratives, and illuminating historical data to communicate. Based on their own experience with challenging management tasks, they understand the need for proper simplification.

Develop learning skills

In particular, students develop learning skills to deal with dynamic problems. They know and can apply concepts such as stocks and flows, nonlinearity, feedback, delays, and policy in new situations. After passing the exam, simulation models and selected animations and simulators are made available for the students for personal use or for use in own teaching.

Required Previous Knowledge

The MOOC is available for anybody worldwide. As you make progress in the course you will find out if you have the needed skills to take the exam. We have made efforts to ensure that you build intuition from the very beginning. Towards the end of the course you will benefit from your new intuition about the basic building blocks of natural resource systems.

Access to the Course

The entire MOOC is available for anybody. However, to register for the exam, applicants must meet the minimum entrance requirements for higher education in Norway or they must be older than 25 years of age. In addition, to register for the exam, students must have finished 80% of the course material at the latest one month before the date for the exam. As a last requirement to get access to the exam, students must have finished 100% of the material one day before the exam. There is no tuition for taking the MOOC and no cost related to taking and getting credit for the exam.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is organized in six chapters, four concerning resource management and two dealing with markets and policies to deal with commons problems. Each chapter has three main parts: Challenges, Learning-by-doing, and Applications.

In Challenges students either answer questions or make decision in simulators or multi-player games. In Learning-by-doing sessions, students are led by questions and hints to develop understanding on their own. Answers prompt immediate feedback. Debriefing videos summarize and generalize what has been learnt. Early chapters make extensive use of animated analogies to build experience/intuition before using formal simulation models. Later chapters rely on simulation models and interactive learning environments to explore policies, including situations with uncertainty. In Applications, students make use of what they have learnt in realistic case studies, where own decisions in some cases can be compared to historical decisions. Most students tend to do much better than the historical managers.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Students must go through the entire course and finish all tasks in order to get access to the exam.

Forms of Assessment

There is an online exam at the end of the course.

3 hours online exam.

Grading Scale

An ECTS grade is provided to the student at the end of the course according to the A-F scale.

Assessment Semester

Spring and autumn

Course Evaluation

An evaluation form is built into the MOOC.