As students and learners around the world take to laptops and iPads for digital learning due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s clear that the trend for massive open online courses, known fondly as MOOCs, will only gather momentum. With the support of the World Bank, the Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: The Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mining Governance (MOOC) has brought best-in-class e-learning to over 20,000 learners, representing government, industry and civil society. The 12-week MOOC is a free online course that focuses on natural resources as a potential catalyst to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and outlines the various complex and interrelated aspects of effective natural resource governance.
The topics addressed include industry fundamentals; development and implementation of robust and transparent legal frameworks; design of optimal fiscal regimes; management of environmental and social risks; engagement with communities; leveraging investments for infrastructure and business links; and management of revenues for economic diversification and development, among others.
The course has been developed, run and updated by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) since 2015, with support from the World Bank’s Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund. Following a successful first run with over 10,000 participants from 150 countries, the MOOC 2 was updated with:
- New content (e.g. new chapters on “Corruption Trends in the Extractive Sector”; “Environmental Impact Assessments”; and a new optional chapter on the “Fundamentals of Energy and Petroleum”)
- Revamped content (e.g. re-filmed community rights module, fiscal module, and revenue management module among others)
- Updated course materials, including quiz questions and the final exam
- Updated Spanish and French lecture transcripts, and new Russian language transcripts.
In addition, the course team introduced homework activities for the first time, which are designed to encourage students to interact with each other and explore new resources outside of the learning platform. For example, activities that familiarize students with the Resource Governance Index, ResourceContracts.org, and Petronia (a simulated learning experience), were introduced, among other tools and resources. Other interactive learning opportunities offered during the facilitated course included Q&A sessions with course lecturers and other experts; online discussion prompts designed to encourage interaction among learners, facilitate conversation, and discuss current events; and Facebook page where learners could engage and make professional connections outside of the course.