ONLINE COURSE TO TEACH WHY MOUNTAINS MATTER
Listen carefully, life long learners: the mountains are calling.
The University of Alberta is getting set to launch a 12-lesson online course that will help showcase why mountains matter.
“Mountains are critically important to almost every country on the planet,” says Zac Robinson, a historian and assistant professor in the UAlberta’s Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. “Mountains impact all of us. Their influence is everywhere.”
Robinson and his UAlberta colleague, David Hik, have collaborated to create Mountains 101, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The course will cover an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on the physical, biological and human dimensions of mountain places in Alberta, Canada and across the globe.
“It’s a broad, integrated overview of the mountain world,” Robinson said.
Mountains 101 will draw its content from more than 30 experts from different fields and disciplines, exploring everything from plate tectonics to climate, ecology to mountain literature.
“That’s the fun thing about this course, it’s interdisciplinary in every sense of the word,” Robinson said.
The web-based course is free to anyone with an internet connection. MOOCs are designed to have as broad as reach as possible.
“The impetus behind this is inclusion,” Robinson said.
Parks Canada is a major partner in the course; field unit staff are working closely with the mountain studies team to finalize the scripts, and at least one Jasper National Park employee will make a Mountains 101 cameo: Fire and Vegetation Specialist Dave Smith. Smith and other Parks Canada experts will escort camera crews to significant mountain locations, Robinson said.
“We’ll be delivering lessons from valley bottoms to mountaintops, from museums and labs to alpine huts.”
Each of the course’s 12 lessons will be 60 minutes long, with a series of interactive lecture videos, a set of course notes and recommended readings and additional resources.
Registration for Mountains 101 opens November 1. To register and to find out more about the course, visit uab.ca/mountains.