About this Course
4.9
21 ratings
3 reviews
For a sample of what this course will include, see the video "Energy, Environment, and Everyday Life MOOC with University of Illinois Professor David Ruzic" - http://go.citl.illinois.edu/Energy-MOOC This course teaches you everything you need to know about energy, the environment, and at least a number of things in everyday life. It starts by talking about energy itself and where it comes from. This includes how much we have, who has it, who uses it, and what that all means. The video clips are produced in a fast-paced multimedia format during which Professor Ruzic throws in fun and demonstrations. There are multiple-choice questions to check your understanding and some more in-depth exercises to guide you deeper into the subject. After explaining the main things we use energy for – our cars and electronics! – fossil fuels are examined in detail. Want to really learn about fracking or pipelines? Watch these segments. The environmental effects of fossil fuels are taught as well. Global warming, acid rain, and geoengineering all are in this part of the course. Part of their solution is too. Renewables follow, with clips on solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuels, etc. You’ll even see Professor Ruzic in a corn field and in the middle of a stream showing how you could dam it up. Finally, nuclear power is taught in detail – how it really works and what happens when it doesn’t work, as in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, as well as how we are making it today, which is shown here without political preconceptions. In this course, economics takes center stage. People will ultimately do whatever costs the least, so energy policy is most effective when it is targeted at the user’s wallet. Throughout the course there are 24 segments on “How Things Work." These guides to everyday life are tremendously varied, covering everything from fireworks to making beer to what happens backstage at a theater. The course is designed to be enjoyable as well as informative. We hope you will take a look!...
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 34 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks of study; 5-7 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English...
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 34 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks of study; 5-7 hours/week...
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Clock
1 hour to complete

Course Orientation

You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required for the course....
Reading
1 video (Total 3 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
Reading4 readings
Syllabus10m
About the Discussion Forums10m
Updating Your Profile10m
Social Media10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Orientation Quiz5m
Demographics Survey5m
Clock
5 hours to complete

Week 1: How It All Starts and Ends

The course starts by looking at the basic principles of energy sources at the level of the atoms and molecules. This shows how everything from wind energy to nuclear energy share the same basic concept. We then go on to blow some stuff up and explain the statistics of what forms of energy are used around the world – who has them, who uses them, and who produces them. “How Things Work” segments start with a bang (fireworks) and then get both louder (bell towers) and softer (silencers)....
Reading
13 videos (Total 120 min), 5 quizzes
Video13 videos
Nothing New under the Sun6m
How Things Work: Fireworks15m
We Are All Star Material9m
Disappearing Mass2m
How Things Work: Big Bells and Bad Beats10m
Measure Up8m
Energy Around the World9m
Where Does It Come From?8m
How Is It Used?14m
How Things Work: Voice Change and Sound Proofing - What Is Sound?5m
How Things Work: Voice Change and Sound Proofing – Getting Rid of Sound7m
How Things Work: Voice Change and Sound Proofing – Do Silencers Really Work15m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Topic 1 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 2 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 3 Practice Quiz15m
Week 1 Quiz30m
Week
2
Clock
6 hours to complete

Week 2: Getting and Using the Power

Here we dig into the two most frequent uses of energy and how to make it into useful devices, namely, the engines in cars and making electricity. How exactly does an engine work, and are there ways to make them better? How do they tie into the basic physics from the first week? We also find out what is so “smart” about the electric grid and how it is changing over time. “How Things Work” features airports, hybrid cars, and really flashy electricity (i.e., lightning!)....
Reading
14 videos (Total 154 min), 5 quizzes
Video14 videos
What Is Temperature?16m
Fun and Facts with Liquid Nitrogen3m
How Things Work: Airport behind the Scenes10m
Energy from Chemistry?9m
Heat Engines7m
How Things Work: The Engine in Your Car…17m
Diesel Is Different7m
Octane and Other Numbers at the Pump8m
Hybrid Cars?14m
Electricity: What and How10m
Electricity: Where and When11m
The Smart Grid8m
How Things Work: Shock and Awe-some Lightning17m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Topic 4 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 5 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 6 Practice Quiz15m
Week 2 Quiz30m
Week
3
Clock
7 hours to complete

Week 3: Why Coal Is Dirty

Fossil fuels still dominate the energy landscape, and this week we go into them deeply, starting with coal. What is it? Where does it come from? Who has it? Who uses it? What problems does it cause? We will explore global warming and, more importantly, what can be done about it. You get to control the world in a climate model and see how bad (or how good) the future can be. “How Things Work” takes you into a coal power plant, a trash transfer station, and a waste treatment plant, so grab your shovels and hard hat, and let’s dig in!...
Reading
19 videos (Total 248 min), 5 quizzes
Video19 videos
Coal: Who Has It, Wants It, and Uses It17m
What's Up with the Water?8m
Burning Coal through the Decades10m
What Goes Up in Smoke?10m
The University's Power (Plant)12m
How Things Work: A Coal (and Gas) Power Plant23m
Acid Rain14m
Trading Smoke Works10m
Cleaning Coal (I.e., Dropping Acid)7m
How Things Work: What Happens to Our Garbage21m
How the Greenhouse Works9m
Which Gasses Are Bad?3m
The Earth's Getting Warmer – How Do We Know?9m
Effects of Global Warming10m
How to Cool the Planet7m
Geoengineering – Possible? Desirable?15m
How Things Work: What Happens When You Flush Your Toilet?26m
Climate Change Assignment Introduction15m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Topic 7 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 8 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 9 Practice Quiz15m
Week 3 Quiz30m
Week
4
Clock
7 hours to complete

Week 4: Oil and Gas – With Us Forever?

Oil and natural gas are the most used and most popular energy sources in the world. What are they? Where do they come from? Who uses, needs, and makes them? All the facts and the controversies over pipelines and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are discussed in detail. All of this is tightly tied to economics so grab your wallets – you will really see where your money goes! "How Things Work” takes us to high places – an observatory, a cell phone tower, and a laser light show!...
Reading
17 videos (Total 201 min), 5 quizzes
Video17 videos
How Do You Find It?11m
How to Get It Out13m
How to Get Even More Out!11m
Refining: Crude Conversion9m
How Things Work: Gateway to the Heavens21m
Oil Producers and Consumers14m
Tar Sands3m
Pipeline Controversies7m
Oil Economics10m
How Things Work: How Does a Cell Phone Find You?23m
From the Well to You12m
How Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) Works15m
Fracking and the Environment: Myth and Reality15m
Who Produces and Consumes Natural Gas7m
Combined Cycle and Converting Coal to Run It6m
How Things Work: Laser Light Shows9m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Topic 10 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 11 Practice Quiz15m
Topic 12 Practice Quiz15m
Week 4 Quiz30m

Instructor

David N. Ruzic

Abel Bliss Professor
Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering

About University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.