A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants. MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education which were first introduced in 2006 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.


Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE) is an expert in the development of English-spoken MOOCs on bio-based themes. CoE BBE is a joint venture between Avans University of Applied Sciences and HZ University of Applied Sciences. CoE BBE’s Bio-based MOOC Academy organised its bachelor level introductory MOOC for the first time in spring 2015. The seventh edition of this MOOC will start on 26 February 2018. It will focus on green chemistry, technology and environmental science. Participants will gain a general understanding of the following themes and associated topics:


  • Bio-based economy (bio-based production chain; dedicated crops and biomass residuals)
  • Bio-based energy (biomass input, processing, conversion; different units of energy)
  • Biorefinery (features and classification)
  • Biopolymers (types and biosources; properties for product development; biocomposites)
  • Natural compounds (metabolism; metabolic pathways; compound classes)
  • Nutrients (macro and micro nutrients; organic fertilizers)
  • Algae (production; production systems)
  • Sustainability and economics (climate; sustainability; forecast)


The MOOC Biobased Economy Introduction is a great success. Until mid-2017, a total of 2375 participants from 49 countries (on 5 continents) subscribed.  Of these, 450 participants eventually earned a certificate. The satisfaction rate among participants was high:  “I am very satisfied with this course and it exceeded my expectations! It covers a wide range of topics as well as enough depth. Interesting company videos and articles!” (Professional). “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to do this MOOC – it is not related to my field of study. With the classic ‘offline’ teaching method I’d never have been able to do it, probably” (Student).


Marian Kat, project leader at CoE BBE states: “We experienced that a MOOC is a very successful method to reach many target groups on international scale. That’s why we want to continue developing more MOOC’s on different bio-based topics such as business development, bio-based energy and bio-based building materials”.


Register now and learn more about the bio-based economy at this link.



Photo credits: Ben White