New Online Course on Energy and the Environment to be Developed

May 28, 2015

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment will soon offer a free, open-access online course on the oil and gas industry and electric power industry.

The course, which is being developed this summer, will provide students with a technical and market-based understanding of the world’s two largest and most complex energy industries.

It is being launched in response to growing global demand for career-relevant courses in energy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Once complete, the four-week course will be available to students everywhere through the free Coursera online educational platform.

Lincoln Pratson, Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown & Sons Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, is creating the course with support from Duke’s Online Education Initiatives (OEI) program.

“I’ve chosen to focus on the two largest energy industries because a course on them is currently lacking on Coursera and the subject may be of more interest than a general knowledge course because students can use the information I’m sharing with them to help land a job in one of the two industries or select where within the industries they may want to work,” Pratson says.

He will use online lessons and videos developed specifically for the course in place of a textbook; in-class time will be reserved for active learning activities. The videos and lessons will also be available for use in other courses offered by Duke on campus or online.

“Online technologies allow us to adapt the traditional teaching methods and materials we use on the classroom to reach a much broader audience. They encourage innovation, strengthen Duke’s global partnerships and help showcase the Nicholas School’s academic excellence to students worldwide,” he says.

Pratson’s course is one of nine new educational projects selected for funding by OEI through a call for proposals sponsored by Provost Sally Kornbluth and Duke’s Academic Committee for Online Education.

You can learn more at Duke Online Education Initiatives.