UNICEF launches free online course on Social Change
University of Pennsylvania and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are jointly launching a free massive open online course on social norms and social change. The complete course, which consists of one theoretical and one practical part á 4 weeks coursework, is taught entirely in English. Students who already attended previous sessions of the course rated the first part of the course with 4.5 and the second part of the course with 5.0 out of 5.0 possible points.
The first course will teach students how to make the distinction between social norms and social constructs, like customs or conventions. These distinctions are crucial for effective policy interventions aimed to create new, beneficial norms or eliminate harmful ones.
The course teaches how to measure social norms and the expectations that support them, and how to decide whether they cause specific behaviors. The course discusses several issues that are closely related to human rights such as child marriage, gender violence and sanitation practices.
The second part of the course will examine social change, the tools that might be used to enact change and put into practice everything that has been learnt in the first part of the course.
Social Norms, Social Change I
About this Course :
This is a course on social norms, the rules that glue societies together. It teaches how to diagnose social norms, and how to distinguish them from other social constructs, like customs or conventions. These distinctions are crucial for effective policy interventions aimed to create new, beneficial norms or eliminate harmful ones. The course teaches how to measure social norms and the expectations that support them, and how to decide whether they cause specific behaviors. The course is a joint Penn-UNICEF project, and it includes many examples of norms that sustain behaviors like child marriage, gender violence and sanitation practices.
This is Part 1 of the Social Norms, Social Change series. In these lectures, I introduce all the basic concepts and definitions, such as social expectations and conditional preferences, that help us distinguish between different types of social practices like customs, descriptive norms and social norms. Expectations and preferences can be measured, and these lectures explain how to measure them. Measurement is crucial to understanding the nature of the practice you are facing, as well as whether an intervention was or was not successful, and why. In Part 2, we will put into practice all we have learned in Part 1.
SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN :
- Social Psychology
- Research Methods
- Qualitative Research
Syllabus – What you will learn from this course
Interdependent & Independent Actions + Empirical Expectations
Welcome Social Norms, Social Change. This course aims to give you the tools to understand, measure, and change collective practices. This module focuses on two of the basic building blocks the theory of social norms is built on: the distinction between interdependent and independent behavior, and empirical expectations.
Normative Expectations + Personal Normative Beliefs
This module adds two more of the basic building blocks of the theory: normative expectations and personal normative beliefs. Although both are “normative” — that is, both have a component dealing with a “should” — there are important differences between normative expectations and personal normative beliefs.
Conditional Preferences + Social Norms
In this module we cover two topics: conditional preferences and social norms. Conditional preferences are the final basic building block of the theory of social norms. After studying all these building blocks, we can finally assemble them to understand what it means for a collective practice to be a social norm.
Pluralistic Ignorance + Measuring Norms
This module covers two important topics: pluralistic ignorance and norm measurement. Sometimes individuals endorse their social norms, but sometimes they do not. Knowing when a norm is endorsed is crucial for intervention. But how do we know we are dealing with a social norm or whether it’s endorsed? Measurement answers that question.
Social Norms, Social Change II
About this Course :
This course is Part 2 of the Social Norms, Social Change series.
This course covers scripts and schemas, the cognitive structures in which social expectations are embedded, and their relationship with social norms. The course then examines the essentials of norm abandonment, including the relations between personal beliefs and social expectations. We will also evaluate existing intervention strategies, including legal reforms, information campaigns, economic incentives, and group deliberations. Finally, we look at a variety of tools policy makers may use to effect change, highlight the role of trendsetters in social change, and explore the conditions under which they can be successful. The course is a joint Penn-UNICEF project.”
Syllabus – What you will learn from this course :
1.Honors Lesson: Scripts and Schemas
This course is “part 2” of Social Norms, Social Change and the lessons here are a continuation of the first course. This module covers scripts and schemas, the cognitive structures in which social expectations are embedded, and their relationship with social norms.
This module covers the essentials of norm abandonment, including the relations between personal beliefs and social expectations. It also evaluates existing intervention strategies, including legal reforms, information campaigns, economic incentives, and group deliberations.
4.Trendsetters and Social Change
This module covers trendsetters and their relations to social change. Who are trendsetters? What are their characteristics? How can we identify them? And how can we use them to bring about positive social change. This module also discusses the role of soap operas and edutainment in bringing about social change, how fictional characters and groups can act as trendsetters, and comparative advantages of edutainment interventions over traditional interventions.