A web app created to share the stories from the course Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions has won an award.

Global climate change story map wins award

A web app created to share the stories from an online climate change course which attracted people from more than 160 countries has won an award.

People from as far apart as Britain and Bangladesh, Cameroon and Colombia, Mexico and Myanmar learned, shared experiences and engaged in debate.

The free course – Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions – brought 40,000 online participants together with staff and students from the University of Exeter.

An online mapping app was created to share the stories of the learners – from those who want to lead more eco-friendly lives to those already being impacted by climate change.

It won the Community Engagement category at the Customer Success Awards run by Esri UK – which supplied the Geographic Information System (GIS) software used to produce the story map.

“The course gave a platform for the most vulnerable people on Earth to interact with those who could take action,” said its co-creator Dr Damien Mansell, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Exeter. “Some learners were already being directly impacted by the effects of climate change, while others were sceptical it even exists.”

Dr Mansell created the course along with Professor Tim Lenton, Chair in Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University of Exeter.

Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education) at Exeter, said the university wanted to create “research-inspired, inquiry-led learning and discovery at scale”.

Its solution was a so-called MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), using Exeter students as “facilitators of dynamic interaction with our leading researchers, bringing the dialogue of the tutorial within reach of global learners”.

Professor Quine added: “One of our undergraduates, Liam Taylor, has taken the transformation further, creating new knowledge by encouraging and publishing a digital interactive map of learner stories from across the globe. This has brought richness to the experience for all learners and new insights into the lived experience of climate change for our research scientists.

“While there are many spectacular MOOCs, we are especially proud of Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions.”

Liam Taylor said: “It has been inspiring to be a part of the MOOC, especially to hear the stories of our learners. Using the very latest GIS software to give a platform to their voices has been a unique opportunity to work with world-leading academics in GIS and climate change.”

The course will run again in January. More details will be published on the University of Exeter website later this year.

Date: 23 May 2017