More than 5500 people with diverse backgrounds tuned in every week to follow Dr Helen Czerski (UCL), Dr Hayley Evers-King from PML, and our training manager, Dr Mark Higgins, on a journey as they spoke to various ocean experts to find out more about how satellite data are used to monitor the global oceans.

The course covered different topics, from climate to ocean ecosystems, to weather, ice hazards and policy. The main purpose was to interest a wide pool of learners and to give them the tools to research the topics further.

Now that the course has come to an end, we interviewed two very active students on the MOOC to find out more about their experience.

Edwin Wisse, a policy advisor working in the Netherlands, answered our questions below.

Edwin Wisse

What is your background?

I work as policy advisor at a water board in the Netherlands. So I’m a civil servant. The water boards (there are 22 of them) are responsible for water management, which is an important task given the fact that a considerable part of the country is below sea level.

A course on ocean remote sensing is not directly applicable to inland waters but some of the parameters are the same, chlorophyll for example. The scales are very different though.

Remote sensing is not new to me. I graduated on ocean remote sensing using altimetry and did research on altimetry applications for 4 years. That’s 20 years ago though, so I was interested to see what had happened in the field in the meantime.

What did you like most about it? Is there a specific topic/activity that you enjoyed most?

I liked the topics on ocean colour. I had no idea the field was that far advanced. It was a new subject for me and it was interesting to see how well researchers can know see life in the oceans. The topic on coastal altimetry was also very interesting. It was good to learn that ocean researchers are using more and more remote sensing for coastal areas since that is where much of the interaction with land is happening. Also, I found the tutors of the course were always quick to point you towards more information. Like a website about remote sensing of lakes.

Is there anything you would have liked to see more of/learn more about?

A five week course poses a limit on the amount of knowledge you can feed your students. EUMETSAT’s choice to introduce a wide view of ocean remote sensing worked well, I think. I would like to learn more about ocean colour. How to support policy and decision makers is a question that deserves its own course I suppose.

Are you interested in pursuing further the subject? How do you think this MOOC helped you with your activities?

I will definitely look deeper into current sensors for water applications. It was inspiring to see how much had happened over the last years and how much we can still expect. Copernicus is really going to deliver a wealth of information, which can really change policy and how we look at the global system.

Sophia Craddock, a Plymouth University graduate also gave us her impressions.

What is your background?

I am a recent Geography BSc Graduate from Plymouth University looking for relevant experience to complement my job applications, helping me stand out from the crowd.

What did you like most about the MOOC? Is there a specific topic/activity that you enjoyed most?

As a geography graduate I most enjoyed the aspects related to climate change and how the oceans and ecology are influenced by a changing climate and how to monitor such changes. Further, the ocean circulation models were very interesting, explaining lots about the current state of our oceans and the movement of pollution.

Is there anything you would have liked to see more of/learn more about?

I would have liked to learn more about how satellites are used to monitor melting ice caps, river mouth environments and their affect/relationship with ocean life, mechanics etc.

Are you interested in pursuing further the subject?

Yes as I am interested in broadening my knowledge, to gain more experience in the environmental sector, thus enhancing my future employment prospects and graduate opportunities.

How do you think this MOOC helped you with your activities?

This MOOC helped me with my activities by broadening my knowledge through a range of topics on environmental issues and increasing my employment potential.

If you are interested, this MOOC will be run again next year so stay tuned for more information.

Posted by Mara Dambour