A four-module online course on the commons has just been launched by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) based in Geneva, in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The four modules focus on the history of the commons, the special value proposition of the commons, the dynamics of enclosure, and a survey of commons-based strategies. Officially called “Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons,” the self-paced course, taught in English, consists of videos, online readings and resource links, as well as self-test quizzes.
I helped develop this course over the past year, working closely with Professor Leo Burke of the University of Notre Dame and e-learning specialist Robin Temple. There are, of course, many ways to introduce and teach the commons. This is just one path into the subject. We were especially mindful that we were devising an online course that could be interesting and accessible to a highly diverse general audience -- a special challenge since there is no moderator.
We think the course pulls together some notable talks and readings to introduce the commons to UN delegates and government officials, who are the target audience/participant group. However, students, academics, businesspeople and the general public are also invited to take the course. To register, just go here. The deadline for registration is April 20.
Completion of the e-course is estimated to require an average study-time of ten hours per week over the course of two to three weeks. However, participants are given four weeks to finish the course, starting at the time they receive a valid log-in. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of participation from UNITAR and the Mendoza College of Business. Because of limited technical staffing, the course will end on May 12, 2012, but there are hopes that it may be possible to extend the course or offer it via the Mendoza College of Business.
The UNITAR course joins other educational efforts on the commons such as the School of Commoning in London. I have heard of perhaps a dozen courses devoted solely to the commons in American colleges and universities, and I have heard of efforts in Barcelona and Buenos Aires to develop commons curricula there as well. It's an exploding field of inquiry. If you end up taking the course, please let me know how it went for you.