About this Course
4.7
468 ratings
155 reviews
This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history. This subject is of vital importance, seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of the planet. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, this foundation requires intellectual breadth: as I describe it in the class text, understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management)....
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Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Approx. 37 hours to complete

Suggested: 8-10 hours/week...
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English

Subtitles: English, Tamil, Chinese (Simplified), Portuguese (Brazilian), Vietnamese, Spanish...
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Approx. 37 hours to complete

Suggested: 8-10 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Tamil, Chinese (Simplified), Portuguese (Brazilian), Vietnamese, Spanish...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Clock
2 hours to complete

Orientation and Introduction

In this module, you will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and the learning environment. The orientation also helps you obtain the technical skills required for the course. In the introduction, we will examine some of the central ideas that underpin the Earth as a system, and their consequences for environmental sustainability....
Reading
5 videos (Total 37 min), 5 readings, 3 quizzes
Video5 videos
Introduction to Sustainability7m
Sustainability and Population Growth7m
Growth Curves5m
Malthus13m
Reading5 readings
Syllabus10m
About the Discussion Forums10m
Social Media10m
Getting to Know Your Classmates10m
Module 1 Overview and Readings10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Orientation Quiz10m
Big Ideas Practice Quiz22m
Module 1 Quiz28m
Week
2
Clock
2 hours to complete

Population

In this module, we will see how human populations have evolved over time and get a sense of where the next century of change will take us. ...
Reading
5 videos (Total 49 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
Video5 videos
Transitions10m
Demographic Transition10m
Future Populations, Part 110m
Future Populations, Part 215m
Reading1 reading
Module 2 Overview and Readings10m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Population, Past and Present Practice Quiz16m
Global Population in the Future Practice Quiz22m
Population Interactive Homework16m
Module 2 Quiz30m
Week
3
Clock
5 hours to complete

Ecosystems and Climate Change

In this module, we will see that the Earth faces many environmental pressures that result from human exploitation of natural resources. We will also look at the issue of climate change. ...
Reading
8 videos (Total 78 min), 1 reading, 5 quizzes
Video8 videos
Tragedy of the Commons10m
Tragedy of the Commons: Solutions14m
Ecosystems and Extinctions6m
Weather vs. Climate3m
Climate Changes in the Past10m
Modern Climate Change14m
[OPTIONAL] Climate Processes16m
Reading1 reading
Module 3 Overview and Readings10m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Ecosystems, Extinction, and Tragedy of the Commons Practice Quiz30m
Climate Change Practice Quiz30m
Climate Change Interactive Homework10m
Module 3 Quiz52m
Week
4
Clock
3 hours to complete

Energy

In this module, we will look at energy use. We will also consider what the trend of energy use means for the planet, and how we might transition to a more sustainable pattern of use. ...
Reading
8 videos (Total 58 min), 1 reading, 4 quizzes
Video8 videos
Energy Overview6m
Oil11m
EROEI5m
Coal & Gas7m
Nuclear Power7m
Renewable Energy12m
Energy Conservation6m
Reading1 reading
Module 4 Overview and Readings10m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Oil Practice Quiz16m
Alternatives Practice Quiz22m
Energy and Society Homework8m
Module 4 Quiz40m

Instructor

Dr. Jonathan Tomkin

Associate Director
School of Earth, Society and Environment

About University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.