About this Course
3.5
8 ratings
1 reviews
This course takes learners on a journey through a progression of systems-thinking and sustainability concepts. Using the beautiful game of soccer (also known as football in many parts of the world) as an analogy, we'll work together to illuminate real-world interdependencies (such as between climate change and human rights), building the chain of concepts in a fun, accessible way. Soccer/Football nerds and newbies alike will be entertained and, ultimately, rewarded with the epiphanies that come from seeing in systems more clearly. Those who complete the course will: create examples of systems parts, boundaries, and behaviors related to sustainability (and soccer/football); practice evaluating the sustainability of systems they care about using several complementary methods; generate ideas to improve the sustainability of a system they care about; and explain a mindset shift that would enhance the sustainability of a system they care about....
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 6 modules, 2-3 hours/module

Approx. 16 hours to complete
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

Suggested: 6 modules, 2-3 hours/module

Approx. 16 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Background and System Parts

This section explains who I am, why I'm using soccer as a metaphor, systems and reductionist thinking and sustainability. This section also outlines the main parts of a system (elements, flows, stocks, feedback loops, and purpose)....
Reading
8 videos (Total 21 min), 3 readings, 3 quizzes
Video8 videos
The Black Panther and The Sacred Monster4m
Overlooked System Elements2m
Physical Flows1m
Information Flows2m
Stocks2m
Feedback Loops2m
Purpose2m
Reading3 readings
Why me?10m
Systems-Thinking for Sustainability15m
System Parts: Elements, Flows, Stocks, Feedback Loops and Purpose15m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Reflection: How can you be successful in this course?8m
Reductionist and Systemic Thinking, Sustainability and Soccer20m
System Parts: Elements, Stocks, Flows, Feedback Loops and Purpose26m

2

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

System Boundaries and Behaviors

Our approach to sustainability depends on how we define our system boundaries. What must we consider? What can we leave out? And, what can we reasonably infer from the perspective we define? We will also dive into system behaviors in this section. With parts and boundaries defined, we can detect system-level behaviors and discover how they affect sustainability....
Reading
10 videos (Total 23 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
Video10 videos
Time2m
Detail2m
Inputs and Outputs2m
Insight1m
Interdependence2m
Thresholds2m
Self-Organization2m
Resilience2m
Emergence1m
Reading4 readings
System Boundaries15m
Level of Detail15m
System Behaviors15m
Interdependence15m
Quiz2 practice exercises
System Boundaries16m
System Behaviors22m

3

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Evaluating Systems and Creating Sustainable Systems

To evaluate sustainability in our systems, and check our progress, there are properties to consider and methods to apply. Once we define and evaluate our systems, then we’re ready to create systems that are more sustainable....
Reading
12 videos (Total 27 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
Video12 videos
Inertia2m
Carrying Capacities1m
The Five Whys3m
Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)2m
Biomimicry2m
Closing Loops1m
Adaptability2m
Polycentrism2m
Transparency1m
Systematic Inequality1m
Elegant Systems are Sustainable Systems2m
Reading4 readings
Evaluating Sustainability Overview15m
Path Dependence15m
Creating Sustainable Systems Overview15m
Closing Loops15m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Life Cycle Assessment - Your Footprint10m
Creating Sustainable Systems16m

4

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

The Endless Quest for Sustainability

There is no magical fix; pursuing sustainability is an endless quest of constant effort at the limits of our abilities, and that’s where the fun is....
Reading
3 videos (Total 7 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Leverage Points2m
Mindset1m
Reading2 readings
The Endless Quest10m
Leverage Points and Women's Equality in Brazil15m

Instructor

Leidy Klotz

Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and University of Virginia School of Architecture
Engineering and Architecture

About University of Virginia

A premier institution of higher education, The University of Virginia offers outstanding academics, world-class faculty, and an inspiring, supportive environment. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University is guided by his vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of students from all walks of life. Through these courses, global learners have an opportunity to study with renowned scholars and thought leaders....

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.