More than 13 000 students enrolled in an online course on Circular Economy

The global lockdown due to COVID-19 has contributed positively to the number of participants undertaking the online course Circular Economy: Sustainable Materials Management. In March and April, the number of participants was tripled compared to previous months. In late June there were more than 13 000 students enrolled in the online course.

We saw a very large jump in the number of participants. We know that many of the students are educated professionals who takes the course to further affect their career.

Philip Peck, IIIEE International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University

In June, the course had gained almost 60 000 unique visitors, 13 000 persons had enrolled for the course, and 830 students had completed the course. Generally, massive open online courses (MOOCs) are aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. The successful recruitment of students to this course shows how this type of course can leverage online education.

Additionally, the course has received substantially higher ratings from students compared to a typical Coursera course.

We have received very good feedback from the students. The rating is as high as 4.8 to 4.9 out of 5.0. We saw in the beginning that we got mostly students from Europe, now the course is gaining a lot of attraction and uptake in India, Asia, Africa and the US. We make the students work, analyse and put in some serious effort to really learn, and this is why we get so good feedback.

Jessika Luth Richter, IIIEE International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University

She believes that the reason for the course being so successful is the structure of the course and how it is designed. The course offers a mix of skills that can be learned, for example, new business models, business analysis, ideas of how to pitch.

To put it another way, rather than just showing participants’ what we, the MOOC consortium members, have done, we have sought to give the learners tools and concepts, and have them consider what they would do, and why.

Philip Peck

There are participants from different organizations and with different professional backgrounds. Some 85 % of participants have at least a Bachelors’s degree, the majority have Master degrees. As of today, 47 % are employed full time. Another major group is university students from all around the world. It is possible for a University to translate the course certificate into course credits – this provides an extra incentive to take the MOOC.

Close collaboration vital for success

An added bonus for both Lund University and the course was that Peck and Richter were challenged to work with partners they haven’t traditionally collaborated with. This was possible as a result of both the financial support of the EIT RawMaterials and the broad network of relevant organizations.

The course offers niche experiences thanks to the close collaboration with our partners. We spent a lot of time on the course design together with our partners. We interviewed partners, big players and local companies, and can showcase how circular economy can be implemented in many real-life cases.

Jessika Luth Richter

Currently, the project group is finalizing a compendium, complementary to the course. The final compendium will be published after the summer.

The course will continue to be delivered beyond the project end date (December 2020).

I cannot thank you enough for this eye opening and futuristic course. You made me feel responsible to play my part as an industrial consultant in a developing country as to create the necessary awareness and sustainable decisions. It was demanding to make time for it but I am grateful to have made it. Thank you for this gift!

Matias, Industrial Consultant, Ethiopia

I loved the MOOC. I learned a lot about things that, hopefully, would become my tools of work in the future. And there were a lot of new strategies and environmental plans that I wasn’t aware of, and opened my mind a lot.

Pilar, Industrial Designer, Argentina

I strongly believe that we should all focus on re-thinking the way we do business, re-design business models, processes and products/services. I loved that you covered a wide range of topics, from material management to financing and policies.

Industrial Management Engineer, Italy

This course gave me so much food for thought, a multitude of ideas and a great perspective on the subject. I can’t believe how brilliantly high the quality of the material, up to date and detailed information, how the course has been written, ease of understandability, skills and time of the high profile educators and diversity of speakers featured in the videos. You really made me feel that this area of knowledge was for me! Congratulations on a world-class short course. I enjoyed it immensely!

Student, 31 December 2019