Professor Tim Lenton

Multi-disciplinary learning

Name Professor Tim Lenton
Email T.M.Lenton@exeter.ac.uk
Position Chair in Climate Change/Earth Systems Science
College College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Engaging a wider audience through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course)

In 2015, Tim Lenton, a Professor in Geography, was involved in leading the University’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on 'Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions'. As one of the first courses in the world to look at the problem of climate change through a MOOC, the course sought to challenge learners to explore “the contemporary issue of climate change as caused by human activities, but in a broader perspective of the Earth’s history as a planet”.

As Tim explains, with over 60,000 people signing up to this free, eight week course from all across the globe, MOOCs mean that “you can make a much bigger difference in terms of the number of people you are reaching with your teaching”.  

Interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle contemporary global challenges

The MOOC, in partnership with the UK Met Office, was led by a team of academics and researchers from across the University, including Geographers, Biologists and Mathematicians. As Tim points out, encouraging such interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial to tackling today’s global challenges.

By embedding the topic of sustainability across the University curriculum, the MOOC has also become an important means to engage students in interdisciplinary discussion. Allowing students not only to share their own perspectives but to learn from others’, the MOOC has challenged students to develop new skills and to deepen their understanding.

Aim 6: Multi-disciplinary learning for global challenges

Multi-disciplinary learning that tackles contemporary global challenges

Additional resources

Encouraging communication and collaboration through MOOCs

"...the most exciting thing about a MOOC is the kind of social learning that goes on".

Value of interdisciplinary learning

"...the problems we're faced with this century are innately crossing traditional disciplines; they're not just problems that you can pigeon-hole".

Embedding sustainability into the curriculum

"...a lot of the MOOC is actually filmed on our beautiful campus here at Streatham...so in some ways, it tries to embed...an interconnected view of the University".