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University of Alberta

Arctic Economy

University of Alberta via Coursera


Arctic communities have diverse histories and roles in local, regional and global economies. However, the scope and scale of globalization has increased so quickly that vulnerable Arctic communities are facing new kinds of challenges to their survival. In this 3-week MOOC, a unique collaboration between the University of Alberta and UiT The Arctic University of Norway, you will investigate the challenges faced by Indigenous, North American, Russian and Nordic Arctic communities in a modern world. So join us as we venture above the 60th parallel North, and explore how these fascinating communities adjust to change while maintaining their ways of life, socio-economic histories, and cultural traditions.


  • Module 1: Globalization and Sustainable Arctic Economies
    • Welcome to the first step of your journey into the Arctic! In this module, we will introduce you to a diverse array of Arctic communities across the circumpolar north. You'll gain a basic understanding of the geography, culture and history of the Indigenous, North American, Russian, and Nordic Arctic, along with a few concepts and theories along the way. This foundational module will help us understand the recent changes, specific to and shared by, each of these regions, which have caused so much disruption across the Arctic.
  • Module 2: Local and Regional Economies Connected with the Outside World
    • Welcome back! Now that you have a basic understanding of each region, in this module we will do a deep dive into the historical and contemporary economies of each of the 4 Arctics. Throughout the module, you'll encounter some key concepts that will help you understand how northern communities have been engaged in the global economy and what the future might hold. By the time you finish the final video of Module 2, you'll be more than halfway through this condensed course!
  • Module 3: History of Globalization in the Arctic
    • You've made it to the last full module of the course- congratulations! Here, we will focus on the rise of globalization and the sweeping changes it has brought to Arctic communities. We’ll also look at the problem of how to manage the tensions that arise between local and global communities. Finally, we will examine the different modes of Arctic governance and examine some of the strategies and tools northern communities are using to secure the sustainability of Arctic communities and ecosystems.
  • Module 4: Final Thoughts
    • In this final, short summary module, we will end our thought experiment and examine some of the questions that it has left us with, looking to the uncertain future facing Arctic communities, economies and cultures. There is no single answer to solve every problem and challenge that we've encountered, but by taking this course, and informing yourself of these issues, you are already contributing to a better future for these areas of the world.

Taught by

Brenda Parlee and Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen

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