A MOOC developed by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and launched earlier this summer has won an award for excellence. The announcement of RSM’s win comes just at the start of the global week of action supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and five days of special Summits in New York. RSM’s MOOC, Driving Business Towards The SDGs is one of three such courses to win an Award of Excellence from the SDG Academy, the online education platform of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. RSM’s MOOC has already attracted 1,300 enrolments.

The announcement, by the SDG Academy and the SDSN Networks Programme team, named their top three MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) about sustainable development. MOOCs are free online courses, available for anyone to enrol. They are an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, and advance career prospects.

RSM’s MOOC, Driving Business Towards The SDGs explores the role of business in contributing to a better future for people and the planet without giving up profits. It empowers participants to make a difference for themselves by showing them how change starts with ‘the power of one’, and how to gather followers and scale up the impact of individuals’ changes. The seven-week course is for people who want to start to create a culture of sustainable business. Driving Business Towards The SDGs is available now via the Coursera platform.

Excellent and engaging

RSM’s submission was described as ‘excellent’ and ‘engaging’ by the SDG Academy which said: “All three winning courses exemplified stellar commitment to the SDGs and building knowledge and capacity around SDG implementation. They are also artfully presented, highly engaging, and advance Agenda 2030 through the potential for large-scale learner engagement.” The other two winners were Critical Development Perspectives, from the University of Queensland in Australia and Monetización del Valor Social Integral Generado por las Organizaciones (Monetisation of Integral Social Value Generated by Organisations), from the Universidad del País Vasco in Spain.

Great reviews

Eva Rood is director of RSM’s positive change initiative, who conceived the idea for the MOOC and oversaw its production. She said: “Since it launched in June, our latest MOOC has attracted 1,300 registrations and some great reviews from participants. I’m delighted that SDSN and the SDG Academy have recognised the value of our MOOC, which is backed by the expertise of our academics and by our wide business network. Bringing business and academia together to deliver something that’s so practically useful and academically sound seems absolutely logical to us. And of course I am delighted that it’s reaching so many people.”

RSM’s SDG MOOC has received very good reviews from learners. “We now have formal recognition as well as the recognition from learners,” commented Eva Rood. Feedback from participants who have already completed the programme include comments such as:

  • ‘Very well designed programme with interesting and inspiring real business cases to understand how relevant stakeholders – from public sector and private sector to academia – work together on Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
  • ‘The best course on Coursera! Interactive curriculum with scholars and corporate leaders sharing life experiences and deep insights on why and how to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals!’
  • ‘Thank you for making this MOOC! I wish everyone in the world would have to take it.’

Other free resources

RSM’s MOOC is only one of several free resources available from RSM on the subject of business and the SDGs.

  • RSM’s book series on Positive Change was launched with the aim of informing managers about trends that the business school considers to be important in the future, and about opportunities for business to contribute to positive change. The three books are all written by RSM’s world-class academics specifically for businesses and schools to use, and are free to download.



RSM currently has four MOOCs available to study without fees. They can all be found on www.rsm.nl/MOOC:

  • Driving business towards the SDGs
  • Innovation Management
  • Landscape Restoration for Sustainable Development: a Business Approach
  • Business Model Innovation for Sustainable Landscape Restoration


Series of SDG summits

Every September, the Member States of the United Nations meet at the General Assembly in New York to discuss the critical issues of global concern. During this high-level week from 23-27 September, and in addition to general debates, the UN will host five summits on the subjects of climate action, universal health coverage, sustainable development goals, financing for development and small islands developing states. This is to boost action on climate change and accelerate progress on sustainable development, aimed at securing healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. Underpinning the action week are the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all world leaders in 2015. The 17 interconnected Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty and hunger, expand access to health, education, justice and jobs, while protecting the planet from environmental degradation.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

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