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Thousands of Learners Worldwide Explore the Challenges of Urbanization in This New MOOC

In a previous online course, 20,000 students from 165 countries already learned about urban development. In a new MOOC, students will now explore the examples of Amsterdam, Beijing, and Kampala (Uganda).

Thousands of Learners Worldwide Explore the Challenges of Urbanization in This New MOOC
Picture: cegoh/pixabay

Amsterdam´s AMS Institute is managed by three well-known universities. Its main focus is sustainable metropolitan solutions in a rapidly urbanizing world. 

Challenging topics such as water, waste, energy and mobility play a key role in its activities. With its educational program, it aims to facilitate networking and knowledge sharing.

Learners From All Over the World Join to Discuss Cities´ Urgent Problems

With its successful first MOOC (massive open online course) on the edX platform, AMS Institute taught urban development to 20,000 participants. It now launches a second MOOC, which focuses on the role of citizens in sustainable cities. 

How can citizens be co-creators of their urban environment? What are examples of citizens´ involvement in the metropolitan regions of Amsterdam, Beijing and Kampala? How can the most pressing problems be solved by co-creation?

AMS Institute again expects a large number of learners from diverse backgrounds to join this new course. Ultimately, it aims to create a community of people sharing their knowledge on sustainable solutions for the mega-cities of the future.

We have asked the MOOC creators about the details of their new online course.

"Citizens Play an Important Role for Sustainable Cities"

Edukatico: Your new MOOC "Co-Creating Sustainable Cities" explores how citizens can be co-creators of modern sustainable cities. What are the key skills or insights participants can expect to get, and why are they important?

AMS Institute: Around the world, major challenges of our time such as population growth and climate change are being addressed in cities. Here, citizens play an important role amidst governments, companies, NGOs and researchers in creating social, technological, and political innovations for achieving sustainability. Sustainability can be seen to be the result of the interplay between technology, policy and people’s daily lives. 

In this MOOC, participants will learn about different forms of co-creation and how these result in sustainable cities. Throughout the course, it will be shown which specific forms of co-creation are preferred in specific urban socio-technical contexts (and why). 

This will be illustrated by investigating and comparing case studies from three cities (Amsterdam, Kampala and Beijing) on three themes that have a vast effect on city life: 1) Water and wastewater, 2) Energy, air, and mobility, and 3) Green spaces and food.


Edukatico: Who would most likely benefit from your MOOC, and why? Is there a specific learner profile for the course?

AMS Institute: This MOOC is an advanced level MOOC. The target audience is very broad and diverse. 

Given the content, our audience is as follows: 

  • MSc/ PhD level students in the field of environmental sciences, policy and governance, social studies, land use planning and architecture, and environmental technology (or learners already working in these fields);
  • Technologists, sociologists, and policy makers;
  • Practitioners developing sustainable cities;
  • Anyone else who is interested in the topic.


Edukatico: The MOOC was developed by the Universities of Delft and Wageningen, which are both partners of the AMS Institute. What´s the purpose of the AMS Institute?

AMS Institute: The AMS Institute is anchored in the unique cooperation and commitment of three prominent universities in the field of applied sciences: Delft University of Technology, Wageningen University & Research, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Situated at the nexus between industry, government, and academia, AMS Institute is an ambitious international institute at the forefront of innovation. Engaging in and developing the latest technology and science with research, experiments, and projects in the city of Amsterdam, we take on the challenges posed by a world that is rapidly urbanizing. Focusing on urban themes such as water, energy, waste, food, data, and mobility, we go beyond developing a deep understanding of cities. AMS Institute delivers pioneering solutions to metropolitan challenges, using the city of Amsterdam as its living lab.

To accomplish this, education is one of our cornerstones. AMS Institute has developed an educational program in which we offer an innovative MSc in Metropolitan Solutions that targets top students from all over the world; and we combine this with other educational activities, such as our MOOCs. Our first MOOC "Sustainable Urban Development" was developed for cross-disciplinary academics and professionals in urban development wanting to expand their knowledge. 

Thousands of Learners Worldwide Explore the Challenges of Urbanization in This New MOOC
Picture: pexels/pixabay

"20,000 Participants with Diverse Backgrounds Learning From Each Other"

Edukatico: What was your experience with your introductory MOOC on "Sustainable Urban Development"? Can participants from various metropolitan regions of the world enrich the learning experience in a MOOC?

AMS Institute: We were delighted by the massive number and diversity of participants (over 11,000 students from more than 165 countries) who joined us for our first MOOC on sustainable urban development, and we were thrilled to see that the course was so greatly appreciated, that it hit the renowned edX’ Best Rated MOOC list

Including the re-run, we even had more than 20,000 participants taking part in our first MOOC – a sign of worldwide interest in advanced metropolitan solutions. 

The diverse backgrounds, different activities and team challenges have enabled students to share their experiences in forum discussions and to learn from each other.


Edukatico: What does the AMS Institute expect to achieve from offering MOOCs? Can MOOC participants continue to work with the AMS on the topic of urban development?

AMS Institute: With our MOOCs we want to open up our network and knowledge, but also create a community of people working together and sharing knowledge on metropolitan solutions. 

The MOOC resulted in multiple requests for collaboration, information and also in pre-enrollments for the MSc MADE degree program that was introduced this September.

Edukatico: Thank you and good luck with your new MOOC!

The new online course launches on the edX platform on October 10, 2017. Participants may still enroll in the course after that date. The MOOC is free for learners on the audit track. The optional course certificate track costs $50.

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