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Introduction to the Orbital Perspective

University of Arizona , University of Florida and Drexel University via Coursera


The goals of this course are to develop the student’s critical thinking skills, global awareness, and ability to work as an integral part of a team in an increasingly complex global job market. The course provides a foundation in such skills as team building, collaboration, and elevated empathy using real-world scenarios from some of world’s most effective collaborative projects including the Earthrise-2068 Project.

Living on the International Space Station was a powerful, transformative experience—one that could hold the key to solving our problems here on Earth. On space walks and through windows, course instructor Ron Garan was struck by the stunning beauty of the Earth from space but sobered by knowing how much needed to be done to help this troubled planet. And yet on the International Space Station, Garan, a former fighter pilot, was working work side by side with Russians, who only a few years before were “the enemy.” If fifteen nations could collaborate on one of the most ambitious, technologically complicated undertakings in history, surely we can apply that kind of cooperation and innovation toward creating a better world.

In this course Garan will convey what it was like learning to work with a diverse group of people in an environment only a handful of human beings have ever known. But more importantly, the course will address how we can apply the orbital perspective here at home, embracing new partnerships and processes to promote peace and combat hunger, thirst, poverty, and environmental destruction. This course is a call to action for each of us to care for the most important space station of all: planet Earth.

The course will also involve participation in the Earthrise-2068 project. Working with people from around the world, students will help craft a vision of our future in the year 2068. Students will also help craft a crowdsource strategy for both the co-envisioned future of the world in 2068 and a roadmap to get there. Students will also participate in the crafting of a “call-to-action” to be delivered at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017.

Taught by

Ron Garan


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