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2-Term Master's Core Class on Climate Change Offered as MOOC

Starting on November 30, 2015 the United Nations will hold its next international conference on climate change in Paris. This will be the 11th session of the "meeting of the parties" to the Kyoto Protocol first put forth in 1997. But this time, there could be the infusion of energy provided by a worldwide cadre of masters in sustainable development. Currently, 23 institutions are participating in a two-year graduate degree program intended to prepare students to tackle the work of sustainable development across four disciplines: health, natural sciences, social sciences and management.

The "Global Master's in Development Practice" is hosting a two-term online course on "Climate Change Science and Negotiations," starting in October 2014. That class will be part of the core requirements for the master's program and, simultaneously, offered as a massive open online course.

Among the participating institutions are Columbia University, Emory, U California in Berkeley, U Florida, U Minnesota, U Waterloo and U Winnipeg.

Instructors for the MOOC include Jeffrey Sachs, head of Columbia University's Earth Institute, and Emmanuel Guerin, senior staff associate at the Earth Institute. They're also, respectively, the director and associate director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a United Nations consortium that pulls together representatives from science, academia, government and business to address global economic, social and environmental challenges.

"Solving the world's greatest challenges in climate change, poverty, hunger, disease begins with a solid analytical foundation," said Sachs. "The launch of SDSN.edu, a free online education platform, will help advance the field of sustainable development in all regions of the world. Through connectivity and information technology we are making breakthroughs in higher education by connecting leading academics with students and the general public worldwide, in order to expand access to cutting-edge information, new research findings and best practices. Free online education will tremendously democratize higher education and accelerate problem solving for sustainable development."

The first half of the program begins on October 14, 2014 and ends December 15. The course will be hosted on EdCast, a Stanford-launched company that builds online learning portals.

The Global Master's in Development was originally funded in 2008 by the MacArthur Foundation, which committed $16 million to create the first 20 MDP programs around the world.

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