Massive Online Open Courses

Online courses

From time to time, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) organizes so-called Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs).

Our MOOCs:

  • are developed together with reputable partners;
  • are taught by renowned academics;
  • do not have entry requirements but will be especially useful to specific groups of students depending on the topic; 
  • can be taken at any time of the day and from anywhere online;
  • are self-paced and based on self-study but offer access to a community of online learners through forums and discussion boards;
  • are free to follow;
  • offer the chance to earn a certificate of completion (fees defined by the learning platform).

Engagement and Impact through Massive Online Open Courses

Via our online courses we try to engage individuals with the ISS by giving a clear view of our innovative teaching methods that are freely accessible to anyone interested in the topic.

Engagement is a two-way process, with academics sharing their knowledge and facilitating discussions between people holding different opinions. We aim to strategically engage with other academic partners to create multi-disciplinary online open courses.


  • This is a course for Earthlings who want to understand how economic policy making can move beyond narrow national interests and how global public goods can be produced and sustained.

    Earth Economics MOOC trailer - May 2020

    Earth Economics MOOC trailer

    After this course you will be an Earth Economist that can provide evidence-based advice on the best global policy.

    As an Earth Economist you will better understand the behaviour and advice of economists, have become a better economist yourself and know where to find Earth's data and how to analyze these world observations. Our planet is too important: we need you to get engaged!

    Earth Economics offers a completely new angle to policy analysis by its focus on the truly global level and its empirical orientation on very recent data. Sustainability (environmental and related to the UN's SDGs), equality and heterodox (that is: non mainstream) views on the economy are important for an Earth Economist.

    Taking stock of emerging planet data and analyzing policies during and following the Global Crisis, Earth Economics provides both a topical introduction to basic economic tools and concepts as well as insights into highly relevant problems and recent developments in planet production, growth and governance.

    An important issue is the provision of global public goods. Earth Economics highlights the importance of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.

  • This MOOC will teach you to develop accountable, high-quality and ethical responses to disaster in conflict-affected areas. 

    Preparations for the MOOC When Disaster Meets Conflict

    The E-course is meant primarily for practitioners, but also open to students or otherwise interested people. It stimulates participants to think about humanitarian aid, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster response in contexts where conflict is ongoing, lingering, or has characterized the setting in recent times, as well as about the hard choices and dilemmas faced by humanitarian actors in conflict settings.

    Register - When disaster meets conflict MOOC
  • Taught jointly by ISS and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, this MOOC will answer such questions as:

    Local Economic Development - MOOC
    • Why does economic development take place in some areas of the world and not in others?
    • Why doesn’t it happen in your place?
    • What prevents people from having the lives they want to live right there?
    • Could your region make more of the opportunities of globalization and new technologies?
    • Did the promises of decentralization in your country fail to deliver better public services and more responsive governments?
    Register - Local Economic Development MOOC
    Sustainable Economic Development - MOOC

    Sustainable Economic Development - MOOC

  • Taught by Professor Irene van Staveren (ISS), Professor Rob van Tulder (Rotterdam School of Management) and PhD researcher Maria Dafnomili (ISS), this is the first online course to teach economics from a pluralist perspective.

    Introduction to Economic Theories - MOOC

    Economic pluralism means that a plurality of theoretical and methodological viewpoints is regarded as valuable in itself and is simply the best way in which economics can make progress in understanding the world. This MOOC illustrates economic pluralism not only in substance but also in form.

    Register - Introduction to economic theories MOOC