Oregon State University is providing free access to the knowledge and tools needed to help combat climate change and other world issues in a massive open online course, or MOOC, on sustainable landscape design this spring.
The four-week course, Intro to Permaculture, is a public education project that will enable students worldwide to learn about and design sustainable landscapes and ecosystems in a highly interactive way.
The class runs May 1-27, 2017, and is open to all for free.
The practical use of permaculture design techniques makes the course information easily applicable to a person’s life, said instructor Andrew Millison.
“I’ve seen exponential growth in permaculture in recent years because it directly addresses many of the issues that are on people’s minds, such as climate change, food security and the alleviation of poverty,” he said. “Permaculture offers solutions to these issues, and this course gives people a way to make a positive impact.”
Using interactive web apps, satellite imagery from Google Maps and Millison’s digital animation drawings as a guide, students will create their own landscape design site online through a series of detailed mapping exercises. By the end of the four weeks, students will be able to articulate major design strategies for each climate.
In essence, the course aims to help people see the world like never before.
“Permaculture gives people a new lens with which to see the landscape,” said Millison, who has 20 years of experience in the field. “The high-production visual element we’ll use in this class will really bring the activities to life in a way I’ve never seen before.”
The development of the MOOC is a joint effort of Open Oregon State, OSU Professional and Continuing Education, Oregon State Ecampus and OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications.
“OSU’s strategic plan calls on us to be responsible stewards of environmental and social systems, locally and globally,” said Open Oregon State Director Dianna Fisher. “By working with the other units to develop and offer this course for free online, we can help learners everywhere do their part to address key world issues.”
This is Oregon State’s third offering of the permaculture MOOC. The course was initially offered in May 2016, and more than 16,000 worldwide participants enrolled from nations such as Australia, Argentina, Poland, Botswana, Germany, India and South Africa.