MOOC on Ignorance!

Michael Smithson and Gabriele Bammer co-teach an edX Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on "Ignorance!":

Current status: Available in self-paced mode.

Run: January 10 - March 13, 2017; June 23 - August 4, 2015

Find out more:

PDF icon2017 syllabus (140KB)

PDF icon2017 evaluation survey responses (PDF 96KB)

PDF icon2017 feedback from the discussion forum (PDF 45KB)

2015 syllabus (PDF 400KB)

2015 evaluation survey results (PDF 114KB)

2015 feedback from the discussion forum (PDF 116KB)

2015 public reviews:,, #ignoranceMOOC

Synopsis: Ignorance is a neglected topic, and yet it is central to the human condition. This course presents a comprehensive framework for understanding, coping with, and making decisions in the face of ignorance. Course participants learn that ignorance is not always negative, but has uses and benefits in domains from everyday life to the farthest reaches of science where ignorance is simultaneously destroyed and new ignorance created. They discover the roles ignorance plays in human relationships, culture, and how it underpins important kinds of social capital. There is no other course like this in the world. And ignorance is everyone’s business.

The MOOC is based on Michael Smithson's pioneering work in this area. Gabriele Bammer is looking specifically at the importance of ignorance in dealing with complex problems.

Language: The course is in English, with the captions and transcripts also available in traditional and simplified Chinese.

Amendment: The original plan was to run the course in two five week blocks in June and September 2015, respectively. After considerable thought and discussion following the first block, we decided instead to run the course in one expanded eight week session, which went live on 10 January 2017.

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