Online Course: Citizen Science, an Introduction

Our project has developed a free short introductory course about citizen science.

Our 5-module course will introduce you to the concept of citizen science and give you an accessible overview of some of the important aspects of citizen science, such as environmental citizen science, IT, understanding participants’ motivations and evaluation.

The course modules were designed to be very accessible for anyone interested in citizen science and you can choose to only complete the modules of interest to you. For a more comprehensive and academic course, see the free UCL course ‘Introduction to Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing’, which this course was partly built on.

We hope you will enjoy the course and find it useful and informative.

Information about the UCL course ‘Introduction to Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing
Our project is supporting an online course being run by Muki Haklay and colleagues at UCL on “Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing”. The course materials are being captured as they go so you can join at any time. Please sign up here
UCL ran an 11 weeks hybrid (online and face to face) course called “Introduction to Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing” in January-March 2018. The course is planned to run again in January 2019. This course’s aim is to introduce students to the theory and practice of citizen science and scientific crowdsourcing. The course will explore the history, theoretical foundations, and practical aspects of designing and running citizen science projects and it will be mostly taught by members of the Extreme Citizen Science group (we have some guests from other organisations such as Earthwatch)
The course was run for the first time as part of the M.Sc. programmes at the Department of Geography at UCL, with face to face lectures and practical work. In the spirit of citizen science, we opened the course, and it is available on the UCLeXtend website ( The course ran as a hybrid – the material was designed to develop the learning of the students in the class, but then organised in a way that anyone who wants to join the course remotely can do so. The reading material and class preparation videos are all open access, and in the practicals, we are using open source software or websites that you can access regardless of your registration. Of course, you can’t get the UCL credits for attending the class if you are just joining remotely – and those that attend the class will be assessed through two assignments that will be marked, but there are plenty of reflection questions and discussions in the online course for you to assess your progress and to provide us with feedback on how the course is going.
It’s not exactly MOOC and we want to experiment with this hybrid mode of opening up the course, in the hope that it will be useful and rewarding to join us.
Each week, there will be two lectures and a practical session that will demonstrate some aspects of the issues that were covered during the lectures. Each lecture and the activities that are linked to it are planned to last about an hour.
As a preparation for class, we will provide a video or two to watch and 2 or 3 pieces of text to read. These are necessary since the lecture assumes this preparation. The necessary readings are marked “Core Reading”. We also provide “Additional Reading” – these are usually pieces that were discussed in class but can be read after it. Finally, there are “Deep Dive” reading are expanding on the class material and might be used in assignments (if you take the face to face course), or to expand your understanding (if you are taking the course remotely).
If you’re interested in this free citizen science course, register on UCLeXtend
Part of the reason that we can open the course is through the support of UCL Geography department, with additional support from the following bodies:
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) project “OPENER: Scoping out a national cOmmunity of Practice for public ENgagement with Environmental Research” (NE/R012067/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) projects “Extreme Citizen Science” (EP/I025278/1) and “Challenging RISK: Achieving Resilience by Integrating Societal and Technical Knowledge” (EP/K022377/1)
EU Horizon 2020 projects “Doing It Together science (DITOs)” (Project ID 709443) and “WeGovNow” (Project ID 693514).
European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant “Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis and Visualisation” (Project ID 694767)