Three New Courses Available Now: Political Philosophy, Design 101, Changemaker MOOC

Without a moment to waste, new courses are starting on Three courses begin this week, all of them challenging your grey matter and asking you to be creative.


Design 101 – Creative eruptions from the foot of Mount Etna

Design is everywhere: Not only in your brand-new mobile phone, but also in the clothes you wear, the bus seat you sit on during your daily commute to work and the website you are currently viewing. The objects we use represent thoughtfully conceived and constructed artifacts of daily life. What the course “Design 101” tries to convey is not just how to make objects, but also how to think about what lies behind them: “design thinking”. 

The mastermind behind this MOOC is Stefano Mirti, an energetic and creative designer inspired by philosophy and familiar with Theodor W. Adorno and critical theory. He created the Design 101 course in cooperation with art historian Sophie Gauvin, the designer Pasca Raymondi and Lucia Giuliano, Director General of Abadir (Accademia di Design e Arti visivi), the institution that hosts this MOOC. The design academy is located in Sicily with a spectacular view of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Perhaps this is the reason for the creative eruptions the lectures at Abadir spark. 

One particularly special opportunity presented by the design MOOC – in which more than 28,000 students are enrolled in as of now! – is the exhibition and workshop “Design in the Age of New Media”, which will be held in Berlin, February 2014. At this event, 101 exhibitors can showcase their works created during the course. Be sure to check this blog regularly – we will keep you updated on this event!

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Introduction to Political Philosophy – Get familiar with the basic concepts

If you have ever found yourself in a political discussion with your parents, friends or fellow students, you have probably noticed how important it is to come equipped with concise definitions for your thoughts and arguments. When things aren’t well-defined, confusion and controversy often ensue. So what do we mean when we use political terms such as “power”, “conflict”, “legitimacy” and so forth? Prof. Furio Cerutti from the Universitá degli Studi in Florence (Italy) provides the basic vocabulary for political philosophy and sheds light on the historical genesis of these concepts. He then moves on to the institutional body of politics: What are states and what other political actors are there? Following this chapter, Cerutti analyses concrete political problems, such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons and climate change. In this context, he will make a clear distinction between descriptive terms and normative concepts such as liberty, equality and justice. 

To break it down: Knowing what exactly a politological term implies will help you improve the quality of your political discussions. Prof. Cerutti’s course will teach you the fundamentals of analysing and discussing politics properly!

Another unique and interesting aspect about this course is that it’s situated in a historic environment: The lecture videos were shot in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, where the Medici dynasty once sat, a major political player in early modern Europe. You will see Prof. Cerutti lecturing in the Sala dei Gigli (Room of the Lillies), which is located on the same floor as the former office of Niccolò Machiavelli – the founder of modern political science. As you see, the course material and setting are a perfect and compelling match, sure to leave a lasting impression on your political thought!GoToCourse Button

Changemaker MOOC: Social Entrepreneurship – Make the world a better place

Maybe you’ve experienced something like this before: Just before you fall asleep at night, an idea crosses your mind that you think might turn out to be revolutionary. Many great ideas never develop into something because people don’t know how to put them into practice. Here’s where Prof. Christoph Corves, Dr. Linda Kleemann and their team jump in. In this course – which is only offered in German at this point – they teach you the fundamentals of Social Entrepreneurship, which include: project planning and management, financial planning, public relations and the marketing necessary to let people know about your idea. In the course, you will develop your idea into a project plan that you can use to apply for funding. Prof. Christoph Corves is convinced that “entrepreneurial methods can help to tackle societal problems”. After the end of the course, students can enter their developed concepts into the yooweedoo ideas contest. The best concepts will be awarded a total of 10,000 €. Ecology, education, nutrition or human rights – there are so many things you can do to make the world a better place. Just give it a try!

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