Digital education

Massive response for first online course from UiB

6,000 learners signed up for the first open online course at the University of Bergen (UiB).

Anne Ingeborg Finsaas Reiestad, MOOC-student.
ONLINE STUDENT: One of the participants is Anne Ingeborg Finsaas Reiestad, who works at the law firm Elden in Bergen.

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More than 8,000 people have signed up for the first online course at the University of Bergen (UiB). The climate course Causes of Climate Change is the first open online course created at UiB. The course started on 21 September. 

“Massive open online courses (MOOCs)  are popular all over the world, and we view these courses as a way to share our knowledge throughout the world,” says Oddrun Samdal, Vice Rector for education at the UiB.

“We want to create MOOCs in research disciplines where UiB is among the best in the world, and climate research is without a doubt one of the disciplines in which we rate highly,” says Samdal.


Making UiB get noticed

MOOCs are widely used by a number of universities worldwide, e.g. Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We want to make MOOCs to build UiB’s reputation. This way even more people can discover the opportunities of studying at UiB. The material from the course will also be used in campus education,” says Vice-Rector for education Samdal.

“The researchers involved have been extremely dedicated and see the MOOCs as an opportunity to reach further with their research.”


Potentially reaching two million

UiB has signed a contract with FutureLearn to produce two MOOCs a year. In September FutureLearn had two million learners.

Professor Asgeir Sorteberg at the Geophysical Institute and Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu at the Department of Earth Science are the minds behind the first UiB online course.

“It is interesting that we can reach so many learners with this course,” says Sorteberg.

The course consists of six video lectures, group discussions with the professors, assignments and articles to read.


Stepping out of the comfort zone

Sorteberg claims that anyone can follow the course he leads online.

“It is a cross between education and information,” he suggests.

The short video lectures are recorded in Bergen, but also in the mountains of Norway and on Greenland. The researchers are testing their skills as TV-hosts.

“We are definitively stepping out of our comfort zone and the challenge is to make the education popular when we want to go deeper into the matter. If some of the learners decide to take a full course at our University, I can assure them that this is just a taste of what they can expect”, says Sorteberg.


Studying and working in parallel

One of the participants is Anne Ingeborg Finsaas Reiestad, who works at the law firm Elden in Bergen.

 “I want more knowledge about the effects of climate changes and the course Causes of Climate Change caught my interest”,  she says.

 The lawyer finished her master’s degree at UiB last year.

 “To attend a course like this suits me very well. I can view the lectures and join the discussions whenever I want. From what I have seen so far, the course is excellent and dynamic,” says Anne Ingeborg Finsaas Reiestad, who looks forward to gaining new knowledge that could turn out to be useful also in her day to day work as a lawyer.