A free online course at Masters-level will enable you to understand the past, present and future role of money in society.
Concerned with the banking system? Bemused or fascinated by bitcoin? Starting a local currency? Whereas most courses on money are intended for people with an economics background or banking future, this course is for people who are interested in understanding money from a social innovation perspective – it prepares the ground for answering how to create a better future by reshaping money and currency.
The course is therefore highly interdisciplinary, drawing upon anthropology, sociology, history and heterodox economics. It is designed by Professor Jem Bendell PhD (IFLAS) and Matthew Slater BD (Community Forge), with additional tutoring by Leander Bindewald MA (IFLAS and NEF) and Stephen DeMeulenaere (Coin Academy).
The MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) starts online on February 16th 2015 and runs for one month, with four lessons:
Lesson One: An introduction to money: functions, forms, and fallacies
Lesson Two: The history of money and its discontents
Lesson Three: The problems with mainstream monetary systems
Lesson Four: Alternatives
Each lesson begins on a Monday, consisting of an audio Powerpoint of two hours (which you can listen to when you want within two days), followed by two hours of personal reading and one hour to prepare a written assignment of not more than 400 words, which must be submitted by that Thursday.
Participants can view and comment on each other’s assignments in the forum, and can interact as they wish, with tutors commenting on assignments in the forum.
Lessons Two and Four are followed by one hour webinars with the tutors, which occur on Saturday mornings at 10am. You need access to a decent broadband connection but do not need any special software to engage in the course. Participants cannot start the MOOC late.
To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive joining instructions in the first week of February 2015. The next offering of the MOOC will be in quarter three of 2015.
At the end of this MOOC you will be able to:
- Critically assess views on the form and function of money and currency by drawing from monetary theories
- Explain theories on how social, economic and environmental problems arise from mainstream monetary systems
- Explain alternative forms of money and currency and the theories on how they can support better social, economic and environmental outcomes.
The full schedule follows below. On the Money and Society MOOC you will be joined by participants on the Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange, which is a credit-bearing module offered by the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at the University of Cumbria. Four days of classes in person at the Docklands Campus in London begin on March 18th, featuring Professor Bendell, Leander Bindewald and a range of guest lecturers. These classes explore the wider issues of currency innovation and the collaborative economy. There is a fee for the certificate, not the MOOC. The deadline to enrol for the certificate is March 13th but you must have started the MOOC in order to enrol.
Matthew Slater is a software engineer who specialises in open source software for community currencies. Co-founder of Community Forge, which produces software for and hosts over 100 local currencies, he is a regular commentator on grassroots initiatives for community control of currency and credit.
Leander Bindewald is the coordinator of the EU funded project Complementary Currencies in Action, and a regular commentator on currency innovation.
Stephen DeMeulenaere is an expert in complementary and cryptographic currencies, with over 15 years of experience in the former. He is the founder of the Complementary Currency Resource Centre and co-founder of Coin Academy.
Professor Jem Bendell is the director of IFLAS and is a commentator on currency innovation and society. Hear him explain bitcoin on BBC Breakfast:
- 16 February 2015: Lesson One Powerpoint & audio available until 20th
- 17 February 2015: Forum opens until 20th
- 18 February 2015: Deadline for assignment (involves circa two hours reading)
- 23 February 2015: Lesson Two Powerpoint & audio available until 27th
- 24 February 2015: Forum opens until 27th
- 25 February 2015: Deadline for assignment (involves circa two hours reading)
- 28 February 2015: Webinar One covers lessons One and Two, 10am to 11am GMT
- 2 March 2015: Lesson Three Powerpoint & audio available until 6th
- 3 March 2015: Forum opens until 6th
- 4 March 2015: Deadline for assignment (involves circa two hours reading)
- 9 March 2015: Lesson Four Powerpoint & audio available until 13th
- 10 March 2015: Forum opens until 13th
- 11 March 2015: Deadline for assignment (involves circa two hours reading)
- 14 March 2015: Webinar Two covers lessons Three and Four, 10am to 11am GMT
- 18 March 2015: Students gather in person in London for four days, if on the Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange
Next offering will be after August 2015!