Harper Lecture with David Archer: Of MOOCs and Global Warming

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January 23, 2014
UChicago Creative


Physical Sciences 13400, Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, goes international as a free massive open online course, or MOOC, this fall on coursera.org. This course, which has been taught since 1995 and became the most popular class in the University of Chicago catalog, has a long history of outreach toward the education of students and others outside of the University. Professor David Archer will examine online education through the progression of PHSC 13400—first using online interactive models, then videotapes of classroom lectures, followed by a home-grown MOOC called Open Climate 101, which combined the video lectures, quizzes from old exam questions, and exercises using the interactive models.

This summer, with the help of a team of videographers, Archer taped about 50 five-minute video clips that encompass the material in the class. Interestingly, he was able to cover the material in one-third the number of minutes as it took in the 45-minute traditional format. Archer will talk about the content of the class and share some of the undoubtedly delightful experiences of running a class that has on the order of 10,000 students.

David Archer is a professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, publishing on Earth’s carbon cycle and its interaction with global climate. Archer has written a series of books on climate change; teaches classes on global warming, environmental chemistry, and global biogeochemical cycles; and is a regular contributor to the climate science blog site realclimate.org.