Skip to main content

ETHx: Worldviews - From Sustainability to Regeneration

This MOOC is the first part of an interconnected series of four MOOCs on Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems (DRRS) which bring together science, design and transformative praxis as a fluid, intervention-based and synergistic process for addressing complex challenges. This is explored through extending our worldviews, reframing complexity, designing as nature, activating our minds through physical movement, and connecting with new communities of practice. Successful completion of MOOC#1 is your gateway to enter the ETH Zurich DRRS executive degree program, with the first Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS).

12 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Dec 1

About this course

Skip About this course

Climate change, biodiversity loss and pan-syndemics are some of today’s most pressing complex challenges. Much of our economies and societies are exhaustive, vulnerable, and unfair. We need to actively restore and regenerate ecosystems and their services while transforming our economies to become more circular and just. We require new knowledge systems and cultures leading to transformative action as the human impact on earth needs to be fundamentally redesigned.

Scientific knowledge and reasoning are the fundamental tools to guide policy and management decisions, especially in times of crises. But the limitations of reductionist science are evident due to the lack of widespread action in addressing today's highly complex challenges, which are self-emergent, unpredictable, span across nested scales, depend on societal behavioral transitions, and lack data.

Design disciplines offer creative ways of prototyping solutions in an iterative way. Design responds to a current problem by proposing future pathways, through a feedback exchange from praxis. Designerly praxis can benefit from science, for example by directing interventions and leveraging relationships based on quantitative data. Neither the analytical and descriptive tools of science, nor the iterative process of design alone are adequate for addressing complex challenges. Combining both cultures and methods of reasoning as a fluid, intervention-based and synergistic process is beneficial for fostering the regenerative, transformative action that is urgently required.

Therefore, this MOOC series entitled “Designing Resilient Regenerative Systems” (DRRS) offers four consecutive MOOCs that aim to address these urgent and complex challenges. Participants are invited on a learning journey that includes emphasis on extending our worldviews, concepts like regeneration and resilience, befriending complexity and uncertainty, methods and hybrid practices of science and design, meta-design and the seeing of patterns and root causes, connecting more with our inner self, and becoming bio-regional weavers within communities of transformational learning and praxis.

This first MOOC places global crises in context with local and regional examples for planetary health. Participants build consciousness by questioning the dominant reductionist worldviews that drive our global societies and learn ways of rethinking our relationship with nature as a holistic approach of “interbeing,” which places humans as part of the broader web of life.

At a glance

  • Institution: ETHx
  • Subject: Philosophy & Ethics
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:

    You should

    • be curious to expand from your own expertise and life situation and open for new thinking, philosophical discourse, designerly practice, and real-world infusion.

    • come with interest and motivation to find your role in contributing to a more sustainable and regenerative world, in various ways.

    • be willing to enact within the region you live in, physically, and actively connect with various stakeholders.

    • be open to challenge yourself: mentally, physically, socially.

    For MOOC 1 you need no specific further prerequisites; the didactics are designed to be accessible to a very diverse audience, for current science or engineering students in diverse disciplines, for designers, architects, landscape planners, programmers, urban planners, and also for people of praxis, for those of use who have been working for many years and who want to re-connect, expand and redirect.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn

This MOOC series is about creating positive impact in complex systems. It is about navigating complexity and uncertainty with new tools and practices, such as “organic emergence”: Complex systems are inherently dynamic and unpredictable: their properties are emergent. An organic way to engage with emergence is to trust in having the right tools and techniques to adaptively cope with sudden surprises or challenges, and to reveal hidden opportunities. In this first MOOC “Regenerative Systems: Sustainability to Regeneration” you train your consciousness about dominant and alternative worldviews. You learn the roots of sustainability and pathways to regeneration. You acquire tools to reframe complexity and befriend uncertainty. You learn to reconnect with nature and to design as nature. You gain awareness through practices of physical and mental activation via self-compassion techniques and flow experiences in nature.

Exciting real-world illustrations take you to Hemsedal Norway, Annecy France, Ostana Italy, and Mallorca Spain. This offers a comparative understanding of communities and regions undergoing sustainability transitions across different contexts, cultures, climates and geographies.

The prominent content you will learn in this first MOOC are an update on the current state of sustainability science, different angles to understand regeneration, methods such as systemic design and systems-oriented design, resilience assessment, circularity mapping, visual dialogue, cross-scale design, “view from above” perspectives, biomimicry, transdisciplinary research, real-world elaboration, metadesign, and more.

The MOOCs’ didactics are designed to combine time and place independent virtual learning through pre-recorded conversations, both accessible as movies and audio files, readings, and practical engagement in nature. Virtual content stimulates physical and social interaction in the bio-region of the participants. An accompanying visual mapping process called Gigamapping acts as a designerly way to co-create your own learning journey and connect across the MOOC series to your final transformative design project. Your personal QUEST guides you through your learning journey. Our DRRS virtual network allows you to exchange with other MOOC participants and to find learning partners in your region where you live.

Frequently Asked Questions

Skip Frequently Asked Questions

**What is an example for a key skill to develop?**

You learn the notion of Organic Emergence: Complex systems are inherently dynamic and unpredictable, their properties are emergent and uncertain. An organic way to deal with emergence is to build personal and collective capacity to navigate into the future and transform wisely in the face of uncertainty. One aspect of this capacity is to be able to trust in having the right tools and techniques to adaptively cope with sudden surprises and challenges, as individuals from within, and as part of community support. And it is about seeing opportunities, unmanifest potential, and beauty, about being ready to listen, get the beat, discern the patterns of place and culture and respond appropriately in perfect timing.

**For whom is this MOOC (series)?**

Really, for anyone who is curious and open to do the best we can to cope with crises, to navigate complexity, to co-create more livable futures. If you are a student or a practitioner, if you learned science, engineering, design, architecture, landscape or urban planning, if you are a politician or an entrepreneur, an employee in public services or an accountant: systems are relevant to anyone, and anyone is part of designing resilient regenerative systems. Are you ready to take full responsibility for your own creative agency in how we co-create a regenerative future? Join us!

**How much time do I need to invest?**

This MOOC is self-paced. You decide how long you want to take for the course. If you want to complete the course in 12 weeks, you need to plan on 2-4 hours per week. If you want to complete the course faster, you have to calculate with more time per week (e.g. for 6 weeks = 4-8h per week). In the course there is a distinction between mandatory and optional tasks, which will help you to manage your time in the best possible way.

**What do I get from it?**

New thinking, new methods, new practices, motivating illustrations, new ideas, regional connections, supporting community, and inspiring ways forward.

**Who are the teachers?**

Diverse experts in their fields who walk their talk. University professors, designers, builders, politicians, mountain guides, consultants, entrepreneurs, architects, visionairs, students, and you in the form of learning tandems.

**What are the didactics?**

We use virtual tools like short movies and podcasts, readings, recorded lectures, all independent of place and time. We meet some teachers for live tutoring, online, every week. We use visual and graphical dialogic tools to guide our learning progress. We nudge being outdoors, in real, physical, alone and with people. We ride our bicycles, we speak with people, we map flows, and we experience flow. We practice time alone in nature, we write, we record short movies, we design, we do science, and we engage in a final transformative design project.

Interested in this course for your business or team?

Train your employees in the most in-demand topics, with edX For Business.