PhilaU Offers First MOOC with Course in Sustainable Design

Philadelphia University is offering its first massive open online course, or MOOC, based on the University’s innovative M.S. in Sustainable Design program, starting June 1.

With this course, Sustainable Design: Principles and Methodologies, PhilaU is entering the innovative new world of higher education course delivery, taking advantage of the latest technology to reach students worldwide. The course, which is free, offers three levels of rigor to meet the individualized needs of all participants.

Rob Fleming, director of PhilaU’s M.S. in Sustainable Design program, will teach the new online course.

“Philadelphia University’s master’s program in sustainable design was one of the first of its kind and is still a leader in the field of sustainability education,” said Rob Fleming, director of PhilaU’s M.S. in Sustainable Design program, who teaches the MOOC. “This new online course—open to anyone, anywhere—is pushing the boundaries of where sustainability is heading, and will help professionals and others achieve more progressive aspects of sustainability in the built environment.”

The new PhilaU course appears to be the first MOOC to incorporate sustainability principles in the built environment. The eight-week program includes lessons in applying sustainable practices to new energy systems, the standards governing sustainable design such as the LEED rating system, and the role of eco-cities. Students first will learn the principles underlying the growing integration of sustainability into our world before focusing more specifically on the methodologies of sustainable design in the built environment.

Although open to anyone, the course will be of particular interest to professionals who have reached a certain level of “greening” and would like to advance to a higher level of authentic sustainability, as well as those who are new to sustainability and want a substantive foundation. Students with any degree or background in sustainability are welcome. The course materials include extra options and interaction to help bring those without previous education in sustainable design up to speed.

Participants complete the course based on their own educational goals. Students who wish to casually learn more about a new, relevant field of study may choose to watch the weekly videos, while those who desire more detail can spend additional time interacting with learning modules and the discussion board. At the most highest level of involvement, students interested in earning three graduate credits for the course must meet registration and tuition requirements, and can expect to devote at least 14 hours a week to coursework and assignments.

The course will be delivered to students globally using a variety of up-to-date technologies, including high-quality HD videos, narrated PowerPoint presentations, text-based learning modules with interactive quizzes and discussion board conversations. Since all coursework is completed online, students can learn at their own convenience and pace.

Registration ends on May 30. To register and learn more about the course, visit

Read The Philadelphia Inquirer’s story on PhilaU’s new MOOC here.

Philadelphia University’s Master’s in Sustainable Design (MSSD) is one of the first of its kind and features an award-winning transdisciplinary, projects-based curriculum that empowers students to develop market-driven innovations and to be 21st-century global leaders in design, economic and environmental sustainability.

MSSD graduates are working at the highest levels of sustainability management in government and business, and creating innovative new products and services to help people live more sustainable lives.

For more information on the program, including in-class and online options, visit

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