MOOC explores the Science and Politics of the GMO

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have transformed the way we produce and consume food, but not everyone thinks this is a good idea. You can explore the controversy in Cornell’s free, five-week introductory course, The Science and Politics of the GMO, launching Sept. 13 as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the edX platform.

Students will learn the basics of genetic engineering, review the arguments for and against the technology’s use, and study the politics surrounding GMOs and the impact on individuals and on society as a whole, including problems, perceptions, benefits and risks. The MOOC seeks to equip students to evaluate any scientific advances and their impact on society.

“As faculty developing this course, our intention is not to influence how people feel about GMOs, but to offer information and tools to help people make their own informed decisions,” said Sarah Evanega, adjunct international professor of plant breeding and genetics. “We also hope to help students understand the broader impacts of the decisions we make as individuals on society as a whole.”

Evanega is joined in teaching the course by Ronald Herring, professor of government; David Just, professor of applied economics and management; Jaron Porciello, associate director of international programs for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Rebecca Harrison, a doctoral student in science and technology studies.

The course does not confer college credit, but students can receive a certificate of completion from Cornell.

Additional announcements will be posted on Twitter @CUgmoMOOC.

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Daryl Lovell