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MOOC Macronutrients and Overnutrition one of the 250 most popular online courses worldwide

Published on
February 3, 2022

His online course Macronutrients and Overnutrition is one of the 250 'Most Popular Online Courses of All Time'; worldwide, according to platform Class central. Modest as he is, professor Sander Kersten, designer and teacher, thinks this is mainly thanks to the popularity of the subject, in combination with the running time of the course. ‘When we launched the course in 2015 as the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) of Wageningen University & Research, we thought that the subject would appeal to many people and this has proven to be the case,’ he explains.

Online from the WUR-studio

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have already followed the MOOC, at least in part. It is not a live broadcast – taking into account the different time zones – but the course has been recorded at the WUR-studio. ‘In the beginning, this was pioneering work, but over the years we have of course gained insights into making the online course more attractive and recordings more professional’ Sander says. At the beginning of the COVID 19-pandemic, it gave him a head start; he already had experience with online education and introduced the course into his regular curriculum, to the full satisfaction of his students.

Sander Kersten teaching his Massive Open Online Course.
Sander Kersten teaching his Massive Open Online Course.

Large and diverse target audience

In the beginning the course was free of charge, nowadays a small contribution is asked. Sander: “These contributions cover the cost of this MOOC, but for most of the others, the balance is less favorable, as they have significantly fewer participants. These are high-level courses and one hopes of course that the investments pay off in a different way, in the form of general brand awareness, for example. After all, we reach a very large and diverse target group. I've had chefs among the participants, military personnel, and pensioners, including an almost eighty-year-old lady from Australia. She was not yet entirely retired by the way, she still worked part-time as an interior designer. Those are wonderful encounters.’

I've had chefs among the participants, military personnel, and pensioners, including an almost eighty-year-old lady from Australia

Always up to date

Needless to say, the course is kept up-to-date at all times. Sander does so by adding new information and relevant new insights. Interaction with the students takes place via the chat box. Sander answers all students’ questions. Sometimes they start a discussion among themselves, or answer each other's questions. Sander always ensures that he follows the debates and he intervenes or supplements if necessary.

Join a MOOC!

Having plans to enroll for a MOOC? WUR organizes over fifty marvelous courses on various topics. Imagine the fun to team up with all kinds of people from all over the world! Are you reluctant, thinking you’ll not be able to complete the MOOC? According to Sander only five percent of the participants successfully completes the course, but to him, this doesn’t matter. ‘You’ll benefit from it anyway; following a MOOC will always make you smarter. And besides, it’s just a fun experience you don’t want to miss out!’