MITx course injects science into the global warming debate
12.340x focuses on teaching students academic rigor, not rhetoric.
Steve Carson and Sara Sezun, Office of Digital Learning

January 17, 2014

global_warming_608x211In many public discussions of climate change, science takes a back seat to political agendas and rhetoric. But 12.340x (Global Warming Science), a new massive open online course from MITx now open for enrollment on the edX platform, aims to change that dynamic by providing a solid scientific view of what is really happening with global warming.

“We are trying to bring back some of the intellectual excitement that belongs to the field,” says Professor Kerry Emanuel, a co-teacher of the course whose research focuses on hurricanes. “This is a serious science course.”

The MITx course will use many of the lecture materials developed for the on-campus version of the course, along with new videos and visuals. The course will also include new exercises, problem sets, and a final exam, all tailored to the assessment tools available on the edX platform and developed with an eye on preserving the rigor of the course. “You have to have a background in mathematics up through differential equations, and a background in physics,” says Emanuel, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science. “Our intent is that it will be as challenging as the classroom course.” Read more.