November 18, 2016

Free online course will focus on energy issues

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale soon will offer a free online course open to anyone anywhere in the world that will educate participants on energy issues and show them ways to lower their individual carbon footprint.

The course, titled Energy Ambassadors, will be offered in what is known as a “massive open online course” format, or MOOC. Organizers also will pair “MyEarth,” a downloadable computer application, with the course. The application, developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, is simple, fun and will assist students in reducing the carbon impact of their daily activities.

Officials said students will gain the knowledge and the tools not only to reduce their carbon footprint, but also to help others understand and act on the issue.

Jim Garvey, interim vice chancellor for research at SIU, said the university has an important role to play in educating the public as well as students.

“SIU is tapping into its considerable expertise in the use of coal, other fossil fuels, renewables, and technology to educate the world about energy in the 21st century and beyond,” Garvey said. “This effort is a way for us to meet our mission of engaging our community and country as we adjust to new economic and environmental challenges in the energy sector.”

The SIU Center for Teaching Excellence is developing the course, with support from the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center and the Sustainability Office.

Officials expect the Energy Ambassadors course to go live on iTunes in January, Garvey said. It will be open to all educational levels and majors and has no prerequisites. It will include lessons on science and research and showcases examples of people around campus who are working every day to make such changes.

The course, which is self-paced and lasts a maximum of five weeks, will include five modules, each dealing with a different aspect of energy and the environment. Each module will contain videos and related exercises relating to carbon footprint issues, science and research. The modules will focus on water, food, recycling, transportation and electricity.

Students will earn a certificate of completion, which can enhance a resume. Along the way, students will gain knowledge to help others understand the issues and take action. They also will interact with a variety of SIU’s disciplines related to energy and carbon footprint, along with faculty from agriculture to radio-television.

To learn more go here