Wesleyan University Launches Two Courses Focused on Taking Action for Social Change

IBL News | New York 

Universities and colleges in the U.S. have their view on how to make an impact and achieve social change.

This month, Wesleyan University announced two MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) focused on making social change. The Black Lives Matter movement of last summer inspired instructors to create these two courses.

These online courses come on Coursera.org and enrollment is free of charge.

• Take Action: Turning Protest to Policy. Taught by Professor of Government Mary Alice Haddad and Attorney and Associate Professor Sarah Ryan, the course focuses on strategies for action, such as using the courts, communicating across platforms, connecting with power, and making change locally.

The course takes about 34 hours to complete. Each of the four modules contains two videos (one by Haddad or Ryan, and one by another speaker—often a TED talk), one academic reading, one general reading, and one assignment or a short quiz.  There is a final assignment about creating an original policy action plan for a specific cause.

The assignments range from a short quiz on reading the Clean Air Act to developing a stakeholder map for an issue in your community. The final assignment involves creating an original policy action plan for a cause that you care about.


• Designing and Building Institutional Anti-Racist Spaces (D-BIAS)
is a 23 hours course whose “mission is to teach and apply tenets of equity, anti-racism, and cultural justice to students from institutions to achieve social change.”

This class—taught by Jonathan Perez, Visiting Lecturer in Liberal Studies—is aimed at educators and administrators, lawyers, and civil rights advocates.

Wesleyan faculty and scholars are currently teaching 16 courses and specializations on Coursera.

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