UN Environment's new Massive Open Online Course:

The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking

The UN Environment, in partnership with Concordia University in Montreal, will be offering a Massive Open Online Course entitled “Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions: The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking” from 12 September - 28 October 2016.

Many problems faced today involve interdependent structures, multiple actors and various systems. They cannot be solved in isolation. Systems thinking, inspired in part by the complex dynamics of ecosystems, allows us to see interrelated parts as a whole, and to comprehend system behavior and dynamic patterns. This Massive Open Online Course aims to introduce the ecosystem approach and systems thinking as a necessary approach that helps to better understand the inter-connections between ecological, economic and social systems, and to explore more integrated solutions on our path towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

This Massive Open Online Course will help you gain:

  • a well-developed knowledge of the basic features of ecosystems from an interdisciplinary perspective;
  • enhanced knowledge of the inter-relationships between ecosystems, human systems and governance;
  • opportunities for the wider application of the ecosystem approach and systems thinking in other sectors; and  
  • specific awareness from case studies selected from representative ecosystems and related global issues, demonstrating the benefits and challenges of integrated approaches for ecosystem management and beyond.

Course Options:

  • Foundations: 6 weeks of learning (about 40 hours) introducing the basic concepts of the ecosystem and systems thinking approaches. This track consists of 10 modules geared towards university students, policy makers, managers and professionals who require an overview of the topic in order to integrate these concepts of the Massive Open Online Course into their professions.
  • Advanced Certificate: 1 additional week (10 hours) consisting of a final assignment for those who want to acquire more in-depth knowledge, insights and skills relating to the applicability of the ecosystem approach in their respective areas of specialization, in the larger framework of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

This Massive Open Online Course will be offered in English and free of charge. For enrollment, please register athttp://www.environmentacademy.org/