Two new courses for Fall 2011

The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) and the UNU Media Centre are inviting applications for two certificate courses on (1) Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs (DMHA) and (2) Climate Energy and Food Security (CEFS). See the course announcement here.


A total of 14/15 “once-a-week” class sessions will be conducted from September 2011 to  December 2011/January-2012.


Course participants should commit themselves to visit UNU Media Centre once a week (from 13:00 to 15:00 hrs) to receive the lectures and participate in interactions offered during the entire Course period. The certificate will be awarded to those who successfully complete the coursework assignments and maintain an 80% attendance rate.


Send the following required documents via email to:  (for DMHA Course)  OR  (for CEFS Course).

1.       Your CV (maximum 3-4 pages) with a recent passport photo.

2.       One-page cover letter justifying your interest in the course and its relevance in your present work and future endeavors.

3.      One relevant publication (if any).


Applications should reach us latest by 1 September 2011 (for DMHA Course)    OR  16 September 2011 (for CEFS Course).


Upon acceptance, successful candidates will be required to pay a tuition fee of 20,000 JPY for the course.


At the moment, these courses are only offered to students or professionals who can commute to the UNU campus in Tokyo. There are no fellowships, travel support, or assistance available for attending this course.

You are kindly requested to share this announcement with your colleagues, networks, staff members, interns, academic associates, and disseminate through mailing lists, newsletters, etc.

by Brendan Barrett on August 29, 2011 - Comments (00)  

Take it or Teach it: OpenED Course on Business and Management Competencies

The openED course from the United Nations University on “Business and Management Competencies in a Web 2.0 world” will start on April 26th 2011 in its 2nd edition!

openED is a FREE/OPEN course targeting business students and practitioners alike. The course consists of 10 modules allowing participants to choose the individual modules they are interested in. This is to say that you can either take all of the 10 modules, or just those ones that you are interested at.

openED offers something to all: You can either take it or teach it.

The 2nd edition of the openED course comes with updated course contents and improved guidance & navigation! Based upon the comprehensive feedback we received from 1st edition course participants all of the course contents, guides and navigation have been carefully reviewed and improved!

The  openED course now provides educators around the globe with the opportunity to offer individual / extra services to course participants, such as In-class lessons, private virtual support or marked assessment and accreditation / certification. Educators can choose to offer such extra services against “fee” of for “free”.

For more information please see the attached flyers or visit the course website at

by Brendan Barrett on March 31, 2011 - Comments (00)  

Course on Climate Change, Energy and Food Security in Asia-Pacific

china In 2008, the world faced rapidly rising oil prices peaking at US$147 per barrel and a global food crisis with riots and unrest in a number of countries as prices increased. At the same time, total annual emissions of CO2 stood at 31.5 billion tons, the highest ever annual emissions, and the concentrations in the atmosphere now stand at 388 ppm, far higher than at any point since human civilization began. These three issues – climate, energy and food – present immense and daunting challenges for the region. They are further exacerbated by the fact this region is home to 65% of the world’s population and has two of the largest oceans on Earth.

About the Course

The course is divided into three parts – (1) understanding climate change, (2) exploring the interactions between climate change and other issues such as food, energy, health, biodiversity and (3) examining possible solutions. The course is multi-disciplinary in nature and will appeal to students from the sciences and humanities. It is designed to inform experienced policy-makers and practitioners, and to enlighten graduate students, keen to learn more about how the world works and how we can make it a better place.


The classes are organized via video conference and hosted in the Media Studio of the United Nations University. Classes begin on 25 September 2009 and continue every Friday for 15 sessions. Each session is one and a half hours in length from 13:oo-14.30.

How to enroll?

To enroll you must be a student at one of the following collaborating institutions: Asian Institute of Technology, Aoyama Gakuin University, Keio University, Waseda University, Okayama University, University of the Ryukyus, United Nations University, University of Hawaii, National University of Samoa, TERI University and University of Gadja Mada. If you are resident in the Tokyo Metropolitan area you can enroll in the course via Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development. For further information please contact the UNU Media Studio. Photo Credit: World Bank

by Brendan Barrett on September 17, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Course on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance

The United Nations University-Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)  is delighted to announce the 2009 Advanced Seminar Series on ‘Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs’.  The Course is offered under the aegis of ‘Asia-Pacific Initiative (API)’ which is a multi-institutional/university collaborative education programme.  This Course has successfully been offered for the last six years in collaboration between prestigious education and research institutions from the Asia-Pacific region and has benefitted over 350 participants. Partner universities from Japan, USA, Pacific,  Thailand, Indonesia, India and many other countries participate in the Course which is  offered through a multiple site video teleconference system that connects all participating educational institutions with students on their respective campuses.

courseThe course offers graduate students and in-service professionals in the Tokyo area interested in disaster management and humanitarian assistance issues, an opportunity, to learn from a diverse faculty from throughout the region as well as distinguished guest lecturers from regional and international organizations. Students are expected to prepare for each class session by completing assigned readings, web-searches and/or recommended readings.  Students should be prepared to provide perspectives from their home countries related to the nature of the issues under discussion, including the legal and institutional policy frameworks that exist, or that or lacking, to address these issues. Students will be able to access the ‘eCourse Management System’ for reading assignments, discussion forums, quizzes and other materials and activities for this Course.

About 12 ‘one-class-a-week sessions’ will be conducted this year beginning from 29th September which is scheduled to finish by mid-December. In the Tokyo, the classes are hosted in the Media Studio located on the ground floor of the UNU (

The Course, which will be offered in English, covers a range of topics.  Introduction to the concepts and models of disaster management will be followed by focused lectures on specific hazards prevailing in AP Region. Discussions on social vulnerability, community resilience, early-warning, institutional response, disaster recovery and rehabilitation will help developing better understanding of this emerging discipline. Interlinkages between disaster management, climate change, poverty reduction,  migration etc is also expected to arrest participants’ perspective on cross-sectoral development context.  A certificate of completion will be awared to the participants upon satisfactory completion of the Course.

The deadline for applications is 21st September 2009. Please send your CV (maximum 3-4 pages), one-page write-up justifying your interest in the Course and its relevance in your future endeavor, and one relevant publication (if any). Please note that we receive high number of applications from highly qualified candidates every year. The review and selection process may involve short telephonic interview (please mention in your CV your preferred date and time for telephonic interview on working days between 22-26 September).  Following this,  only the selected candidates will be informed individually.  Please keep in mind that selected candidates will be required to visit UNU Media Studio once a week (most probably on Tuesday afternoons for about 2 hours) for receiving the lectures and interations offered during the entire Course period.

For further inquiry about this Course, please write to Dr. Akhilesh Surjan at:

by Brendan Barrett on September 9, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Course on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance

Pakistan earthquake relief, the 'Great Satan's' military has delivered 94 tons medical supplies, 1,939 tons of humanitarian supplies, 1,582 tons of equipment, evacuated 15,794 victims..provided doctors, nurses, medicine.....Year by year the number of disasters in the Asia Pacific region continues to increase. Extreme weather events related to climate change are one reason for this increase. However, the region has also been struck by several major earthquakes affecting highly populated areas.

The United Nations University is planning to offer an advanced seminar series on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. The series will be implemented in collaboration with the University of Hawaii and a network of partners in the region.

The first lecture will begin on 25 September and will continue each week until 11 December 2008. This course is designed for graduate students and professionals interested in disaster management and relief.

The lectures are delivered by experts from across the region and each class lasts one and a half hours. The classes take place through video conference with online support via a learning management system. All lectures are conducted in English.

The courses are integrated into existing teaching programmes at the partner universities. In Tokyo, students taking the course must attend classes in the Media Studio on the ground floor of the UNU building.

If you live in or around Tokyo and you are interested in applying for the course, please send an email and one page curriculum vitae to the following email address by Monday 22 September ( Pleases are limited.

Photo Source: Lakerae

by Brendan Barrett on September 10, 2008 - Comments (08)  

Online Seminar on Openness!

ppdlaToday, the UNU Media Studio participated in an online seminar with the Pan-Pacific Distance Learning Association. We were talking about Open Content, Open Software and Open Learning. The presenters were Paul McKimmy from the University of Hawaii, Scott Belford from the Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation and myself from the UNU.

We used Elluminate to connect everybody and as a presented it was a really interesting experience. I am pretty comfortable now making presentations over video conferencing. However, with Elluminate you really need to multi-task since there is are plenty of options for audience interaction.

They can raise their hands for questions, give you a smiley face or thumbs down, or you can poll their opinions. It is all pretty seamless, but takes some getting used to.

We were looking to have excellent moderators from the UH College of Education – Peter Leong and Adam Tanners – who basically kept an eye on things. Thanks so much fro this valuable experience!


by Brendan Barrett on April 23, 2008 - Comments (02)  

Wordpress as a publishing tool for OpenCourseWare

It is really exciting to see that David Wiley has been experimenting with Wordpress to re-publish his course on “blogs, wikis and new media.” Here at the UNU we have been building courses in Wordpress for some time now and we have published three so far. In fact most of our websites at the UNU Media Studio are built in Wordpress. So it is good to see others exploring this impressive tool!

Oh yes, we have been customizing existing plug-ins like polyglot (for multi-lingual blogs) and building new ones to handling quizzes and slideshows. We are going to post them soon as a contribution back to the Wordpress community. We have also made it possible for people to download the entire course, upload it to their own Wordpress site or just run it locally. This allows them to totally customize the course.

I like the related comment regarding the use of Wordpress for course development from
Brian Lamb in his posting “Ridiculously easy and inexpensive course hosting will never fly.” He writes “This approach is fatally flawed in a number of respects and it will never catch on. For one thing, it is far too cheap, and can never justify escalating technology infrastructure budgets. Worse, instructors and students could adopt this technology with minimal assistance or oversight from instructional technology specialists. In this profoundly unserious framework, there is nothing to prevent students from previewing courses before they take them, or reviewing courses later on. Indeed, some “learner” might benefit from this content without being an enrolled student at all!.”

All very good reasons to continue with this approach to course development.

by Brendan Barrett on February 17, 2008 - Comments (00)  

Launch of UN University Opencourseware

UN University OpencoursewareLast year, with support from the Joint Activity Fund, three UN University research institutes and the Media Studio worked together to develop the UN University Opencourseware portal, officially launched today, 4 February 2008. The aim of this pilot project was to publish at least ten courses as required in order to remain a member of the Global Opencourseware Consortium.
This initial collaboration brought together specialists from Macau (UNU-IIST), Canada (UNU-INWEH), the Netherlands (UNU-MERIT) and Japan (UNU-MEDIA), to publish courses on e-Governance, Innovation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (mangroves and watersheds).
As the platform, we selected eduCommons developed by the Centre of Open and Sustainable Learning at the Utah State University, because it is both free and open source (well, semi open source to be more precise). We managed to customize eduCommons so that it would have the same look and feel as the main UNU website.
We hope that our current suite of opencourseware will prove useful to students and educators all over the world. In the future, we plan to expand the portal with the inclusion of courses from the remaining UNU institutes and programmes.

by Brendan Barrett on February 7, 2008 - Comments (00)  

Courses on Biodiversity Conservation

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History have just launched a new online journal, Lessons in Conservation (LinC).

Teaching modules contained in LinC cover the following topics:
An Introduction to Marine Conservation Biology
Assessing Threats in Conservation Planning and Management
Ecosystem Loss and Fragmentation.
Forest Fragmentation and Its Effects on Biological Diversity: A Mapping Exercise
Biodiversity Conservation and Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs)

The modules include synthesis documents summarizing a conservation-related topic, field or laboratory exercises with accompanying solutions, and relevant short case studies with teaching notes. These course materials are highly relevant to both the Saving the Ayuquila River and the Voices of the Chichinautzin products developed by the UNU Media Studio. We had the chance to meet up with representatives from the American Museum of Natural History at the workshop we co-organized with the University of Guadalajara in Mexico in November 2006.

by Brendan Barrett on February 4, 2008 - Comments (00)  

Online Courses from the UNU-GVU

GVU Courses.jpgThe deadline for applications for two new online courses is fast approaching. If you are seeking to enhance your skills as an e-tutor, you may be interested to take the course on the Pedagogy of Online Learning.

You may also be interested about the whole process of course development and implementation. In which case, the programme on E-Course Development and Online Course Leadership may be well suited to your needs. The deadline for applications for both of the above is 18 January 2008 and the courses begin on 22 January 2008. Both courses are for credit and require around 240-300 hours of study.

Past students have made very positive comments on the courses. For instance a student from Somaliland stated “I thought that it was like other classes where you have to compete for higher marks and grades, instead I found myself more of a collaborator and a contributor than a receiver.”

by Brendan Barrett on December 11, 2007 - Comments (00)  

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