The Brussels Studies Institute (BSI) just launched an online course to better understand Brussels and, even better, decrypt it. This is the first time that the BSI has created a completely free online course available in two (soon to be three) languages! Have you always been curious to know more about this city? Are you intrigued by its countless facets? Then consider signing up for this free online course to discover more!
The BrOOC (Bruxelles Open Online Course) is the result of a collaboration between the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Brussels-Capital Region and the BSI. The project coordinators, Serge Jaumain (Professor of Contemporary History at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and President of the BSI), Joost Vaesen (Professor of History and Didactics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Benjamin Wayens (geographer and lecturer at ULB) collaborated with researchers and professors to create a course which is now available in French and Dutch, and will soon be translated into English as well.
The course is divided into 6 sections:
- “Brussels, capital of what?” analyses the institutional, geographical and historical reality of Brussels.
- “To each their own city” explores the different perceptions of Brussels citizens as well as the multiple uses of the city’s territory.
- “Brussels, the second cosmopolitan city worldwide?” examines the reasons behind the election of Brussels as the most cosmopolitan city worldwide in 2015, second only to Dubai.
- “Brussels, the champion of traffic jams?” connects Brussels traffic issues with its economic structure and job market.
- “Brussels, a permanent working site?” recalls the reasons and consequences of the major (and apparently never ending) works characterising Brussels since the 19th century.
- “Brussels, an administrative city and a spies’ nest?” shifts the focus from the European institutions towards the Belgian ones, describing Brussels governance model.
The main goal of the course is to deconstruct misconceptions and prejudices about Brussels. In order to do that, it not only provides the learner with information about its historical, geographical, sociological and administrative aspects, but it also encourages a co-construction of knowledge by inviting the users to send their suggestions and remarks at any time. Each section includes videos as well as interactive exercises, which challenge the learner to put to practice what has just been taught.
Are you interested in the course but not sure if you are the right target for it? Do not worry about that! This course isn’t intended for only one specific user; it’s directed at current Brussels university students as well as Brussels residents and visitors, in fact, it is for anyone interested in learning more about this complicated yet fascinating city.