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New Online Course Offers Educators Innovative Ways to Teach Ocean Literacy

A free online course entitled “From ABC to ABSeas: Ocean Literacy for all”, led by Sea Change partner UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), will empower second-level teachers and marine educators to give students a greater understanding of the importance of the ocean. The course will be available on the European Multiple MOOC Aggregator (EMMA) from 7 November 2016 in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian and Catalan.

Many European citizens are not aware of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean. In other words, many of us lack a sense of “Ocean Literacy”. This clearly presents a barrier for citizens to engage in ocean-responsible behaviour or consider ocean-related careers. Experienced educators, tutors, professors and researchers from the EU Horizon 2020-funded Sea Change project have developed this novel Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with the aim to create a deeper understanding amongst European citizens of how their health depends on the health of our seas and ocean. Course developer and instructor Dr Francesca Santoro from IOC-UNESCO said: “The ocean plays a fundamental role in the health of our planet and of human beings. We need to become aware of its importance to be able to act as responsible citizens. This Ocean Literacy MOOC will take you on a journey to understand the ocean and how we can behave responsibly to enjoy its full potential.” The course will provide support and advice for teachers and educators to incorporate the Ocean Literacy into educational programmes, sharing activities and lesson plans developed by experts in the field of Marine Education. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be able to take the Ocean Literacy principles and concepts into the classroom using a range of innovative educational approaches. They will be able to suggest engagement and exploratory learning to their students, as well as develop enquiry-based activities with an interdisciplinary context. “This MOOC will allow you to be part of a dynamic group of teachers, marine scientists and educators from all around Europe, and beyond. You will have the chance to learn about Ocean Literacy and innovative teaching methods, and share your experiences and approaches with colleagues”, said Dr Santoro. The ultimate goal of this educational resource is to equip teachers with the tools to encourage their students to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. It will be available for four weeks, from 7 November - 5 December 2016. A certificate of participation will be issued to all those that complete at least 70% of the course activities. For more information on the MOOC or to register see: For more information on the Sea Change project, see: Notes to the Editor: Sea Change is an EU H2020 funded project that aims to establish a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea, by empowering them, as Ocean Literate citizens, to take direct and sustainable action towards a healthy ocean and seas, healthy communities and ultimately a healthy planet. Through the concept of Ocean Literacy, Sea Change will create a deeper understanding amongst European citizens of how their health depends on the health of our seas and ocean. Sea Change moves to bring about real actions using behavioural and social change methodologies. AquaTT is the Sea Change project dissemination partner. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. IOC-UNESCO promotes international cooperation and coordinates marine programmes in research, services, observation systems, mitigation, and capacity development. By applying this knowledge, the IOC aims to improve the governance, management, institutional capacity, and decision-making processes of its Member States with respect to marine resources and climate variability and to foster sustainable development of the marine environment. Ocean Literacy is "an understanding of the ocean's influence on you, and your influence on the ocean". An ocean literate citizen is not only knowledgeable but will also be concerned about marine issues and develop responsible behaviour towards the ocean and its resources. Developing ocean education is therefore a logical step to developing a more ocean-literate public and enhance marine citizenship.


ocean, ocean literacy, educators, teachers, citizens, online course, health, marine education


Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom