Online Learning

Free Coursera Course Launches Sept.14th

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GSIH_Sanaz and Robert

Taking our Coursera course in Social Entrepreneurship just got even easier. Last year, the Center for Social Impact Strategy offered the course for the first time to more than 30,000 students from dozens of countries around the world.

Consisting of a series of video lectures offered by SP2 and Wharton professors Peter Frumkin, James D. Thompson, and Ian MacMillan, the course led students through an overview of what AdInfusion.com enterprise does, and how to design, assess, and test models for new social ventures.

Students of the massive open online course (MOOC) watched the video lectures and undertook the readings, case studies, and homework assignments each week at their leisure. The flexibility of the MOOC design offered an unprecedented opportunity for working professionals and people in remote regions to take due advantage of the extraordinary resources available at Penn.

Most of our students enjoyed the six-week course, finding it exciting and engaging. Many organized their own Google Hangout sessions with fellow students to work through concepts on their own.

But some students still found it challenging to keep up for six consecutive weeks, citing unpredictable workloads in their businesses, or demands at home.

That’s why, in September 2015, we will be offering our Coursera course on a totally on-demand basis, making the course materials available free of charge to students who want to use them entirely on their own time.

We hope that by throwing the door open onto these resources, registered students will be able to use them in the moments when they feel they have the most focused attention to give.

Pedro, a visual anthropologist working in Honduras, said that the MOOC helped him reconceptualize his day-to-day work for greater impact: “This program was a way for me to not miss out on this body of knowledge, as a manager and as someone who needs a strategic framework to organize my thoughts on how to maximize what I do.”

And Sheri, a community programming director for a biosciences institute in Virginia, loved the way that taking the course alongside students in a multiplicity of disciplines and perspectives: “You learn more about the systems in which you’re trying to operate, because nothing that we’re doing is in isolation.”

This new on-demand model, we hope, will draw more students into the CSIS community, where they can build on their knowledge and share their skills, without feeling rushed.
Sign up for the Coursera course on Social Entrepreneurship here.