Wesleyan Offers 2 New Coursera Courses Focused on Creating Social Change

This month, Wesleyan is launching two new MOOCs (massive open online courses) on the Coursera platform. Enrollment for both classes is free of charge.

Take Action: From Protest to Policy launches on Jan. 17 and is taught by Mary Alice Haddad, John E. Andrus Professor of Government, and Sarah Ryan, attorney and associate professor of the practice in oral communication. Jeffrey Goetz, associate director, Center for Pedagogical Innovation, also assisted with creating the course.

Coursera Class“Both of us were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, so we wanted to take some of our research, which is related to non-protest modes of policy change, and help folks who were fired up and inspired to make change, but weren’t sure about how to do anything that mattered,” Haddad said.

The course, which takes approximately 34 hours to complete, focuses on four concrete strategies for action: using the courts, communicating across platforms, connecting with power, and making change locally.  Each module 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.  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.

“By the end of this course, students will be able to formulate a comprehensive plan for real-world change,” Haddad said.

The course syllabus is online here.

DBIASIn addition, Jonathan Perez, visiting lecturer in liberal studies, is teaching the course Designing and Building Institutional Anti-Racist Spaces (D-BIAS). The class began Jan. 11.

D-BIAS, which takes approximately 23 hours to complete, is a course whose mission is to teach and apply tenets of equity, anti-racism, and cultural justice to students from institutions to achieve social change.

The course is aimed at educators and administrators in educational spaces, lawyers, and advocates in spaces that touch civil rights, equity, and whose institutional mission it is to achieve greater cultural equity. The course involves creative approaches to social justice, racial justice, and advocacy while remaining open to anyone from any background who shares the same vision of the world, as social change entrepreneurs.

View the course syllabus online here.

Take Action and D-BIAS are among 16 courses and specializations taught by Wesleyan faculty and scholars on Coursera.