link Source:
list 5 sequences
assignment Level : Introductory
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
card_giftcard 40 points
Users' reviews
55 reviews

Key Information

credit_card Free access
verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 5 hours in total

About the content

We all have our own understandings of ‘sustainability', of its significance as an environmental, social, economic and moral concept, and as a principle for individual, collective or corporate behaviour. This course begins from your starting point and explores how we might make positive differences to the future of our planet, and encourage others to do so.

more_horiz Read more
more_horiz Read less



Week 1: Disruption: Reorienting our thoughts

Using your current thinking as a starting point we will explore a range of contemporary definitions and perspectives. By sharing and discussing our experiences we will broaden our collective understanding of the range and scope of 'sustainability', and address this as a ‘contested concept’. We will introduce the fundamentals of ‘how the planet’s global systems work’.


Week 2: Thinking deeply: Local issues and personal reflections

This week we will begin to contextualise our discussion by asking you to introduce some local sustainability issues. We will then discuss our personal responses to these and consider how we can draw on local matters as drivers for change.


Week 3: Understanding broadly:  Global issues and wider positioning

This week we will widen our discussion to consider how local issues are related to and nested within wider, global contexts. We will discuss how these problems relate to global systems and introduce concepts such as systems thinking and complexity as frameworks to help position our thinking. We will use a range of case studies to exemplify these global connections. 


Week 4: Implement: How do we take action?

Drawing on the knowledge gained in previous weeks we will consider how we can turn our thoughts into action. We will discuss what that ‘action’ would look like at a personal, local and global level, and what impacts we can expect to have.  We will also consider how we could measure and evaluate ‘success’ across those domains.


Week 5: Learning for sustainability: How can we inform and educate others?

Finally we will offer ‘learning for sustainability’ as a strategy for future action. We will discuss how ‘education’ taken in its broadest sense (to include our daily interactions with others, in our homes, in workplaces, and for some in more formal educational settings) can be used to encourage others to develop a personal ethic of sustainability, encourage a value shift at a wider societal level and engender transformational change.     



Learning objectives

By the end of this course you will have:

  1. gained a better understanding of the concept and practice of sustainability.
  2. understood the complexity and range of definitions and responses to the issue of sustainability between and within communities, societies and cultures at local and global levels.
  3. analysed your own situation and considered the manifestation of sustainability within your local space and its connection with the global visioning of sustainability.
  4. developed a personal response to the issue of sustainability and imagined how you could positively respond to local sustainability challenges.
  5. considered the role of education (in its broad sense) and communication as a way to encourage a deeper understanding of sustainability and as a process for positive change.
  6. become more informed, confident and able to encourage others within your family, community and workplace to develop their own understanding of sustainability and to become ‘agents of change’ themselves.  


  • Betsy King - Scotland's UN Regional Centre of Expertise on ESD, Learning for Sustainability Scotland
  • Beth Christie - School of Education
  • Pete Higgins - Moray House School of Education

Content Designer

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is a British university, founded in 1583 during a period of rapid development for the city of Edinburgh. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Having counted among its students inventors of the Industrial Revolution, it has more students than any other Scottish university and is one of the largest universities in the United Kingdom.




Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

4.8 /5 Average
Best Review

This was a great course and I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning more about sustainability to start here. This course was a great intro to many different aspects of sustainability and I learned so much.

Published on February 19, 2018
You are the designer of this MOOC?
What is your opinion on this resource ?
February 19, 2018

This was a great course and I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning more about sustainability to start here. This course was a great intro to many different aspects of sustainability and I learned so much.

January 31, 2018

I found this course boring and redundant. It was covering stuff that could easily be learned enough high school level course. It bored me to tears! They were stretching out something that can easily be learned in one shot.

January 29, 2018

Es un curso muy dinámico y muy interesante, realmente aprendí muchos conceptos y tendencias globales que me ayudarán en mi vida diaria y profesional

December 31, 2017

The course is great... Lots of insights... I personally am more of neo-malthusian, which results from my experience from working in African countries, so I believe the "don't worry population growth will come down" and "humans will consume less materials in the future" to be too optimistics. Anyway, I'm looking forward to be proven wrong.Thanks for a great course!

December 27, 2017

This has been a great class - good information and stuff everyone should know. Thank you so much! It's also surprising how thoughtful the tests are and how they can really test knowledge. I love the peer review - it's great to read other classmates' thoughts. Areas for improvement:a) course content really needs an update every 5 or so years. From what I can tell, the course was written up in 2005. A LOT has changed. To keep this class vibrant, content needs updating!b) there are some really arcane test questions and despite posting Q about them, requesting an explanation, I did not receive any response from the many TAs who are assigned to the coursec) peer reviews can be made more meaningful - the 5 or so checkboxes that you fill out as a reviewer really don't go into much depth - for example, a word count? Seems like the app could check that.