‘I wanted to be able to teach environmental science to a worldwide audience’

A big world calls for a really big class.

Nearly 300,000 students — from the U.S., China, Canada and other countries, enough to fill Ohio Stadium three times over — have accessed Ohio State’s new massive open online course, or MOOC, on environmental science. Its developer and teacher is OARDC scientist Brian Lower.

Introduction to Environmental Science,” which went live in February 2013, ranked fourth on the university’s 2013 top 10 iTunes U list based on total number of streams, browses, downloads and subscriptions.

“I wanted to be able to teach environmental science to a worldwide audience,” said Lower, an assistant professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

“I don’t believe education should be exclusive to those individuals who can afford it, and iTunes U offers a great way to provide free world-class educational content to anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

Lower is pictured above, on the right, with his twin brother, Steven Lower, who is also an OARDC scientist. Together, they co-teach the course’s traditional, in-class version. (Photo by Emily Caldwell, University Communications, Ohio State.)

“iTunes U offers a great way to provide free world-class educational content to anyone, anywhere, anytime.”—Brian Lower

Course aims to show how the planet works

  • MOOCs are free public online courses designed for unlimited participation.
  • iTunes U is a free Apple service for distributing and accessing online courses.
  • Lower’s course aims to “understand the science behind the processes and principles that govern our natural environment,” according to its iTunes U description.
  • The course can be accessed at go.osu.edu/IntroEnvSci.
  • To contact the scientist: Brian Lower at lower.30@osu.edu.

Read more …