Newly launched MOOC on Africa’s development

Published: 2020-11-26

Is Africa rising? That’s one of many questions covered in LUSEM’s newly launched open global online course (MOOC) – African development, from the past to the present. Taking an economic history perspective on the continent, the course covers the past centuries of history – with an emphasis on the past hundred years of history.

Photo: Dylan Walters/Flickr

Sharing more than two decades worth of research and fieldwork on Africa, LUSEM Economic History Professor Ellen Hillbom is the instructor of the course. The course spans five weeks, and covers the pre-colonial era, the colonial era, as well as the decades of liberation and independence. The final segment of the course arrives at the current and future challenges and opportunities of the continent.

Ellen Hillbom on her ambitions with the course African development, from the past to the present:

“My ambition has been to generate awareness on the economic history of Africa for anyone out there with an interest in the continent. I have tried to design the course in such way it is accessible and free from academic jargon. While I am sure the motives for signing up for the course varies, I truly believe there is a wide demand for learning more about the history of Africa across the world – even within the African continent. A global open online course fits well with such an ambition.”

Global open online courses (MOOCs) are fully online-mediated courses open to anyone to sign up for. The course is a non-credit course, and the content is free to access. As an optional module, the course offers a simpler form of examination – one that renders an electronic diploma upon completion.

The first course session started 23 November 2020. As soon as the first session is completed, a new session is started – meaning that next session starts 28 December. Interested? It is possible to browse the content today as well as pre-register for the second session starting end of December.

In late 2016, LUSEM launched its first ever global open online course on the topic of Digital Business Models. Recently, the course passed the 30 000-milestone of enrolled participants. Participants are joining from across the world, but outreach has been particularly strong in India. The course on Digital Business Models was re-launched and re-designed earlier this year, something that has been reflected in the increased number of enrolled entrants.

The Lead Producer and Informatics Lecturer, Markus Lahtinen, has participated in the production of both online courses:

“After three–four months of work it is always sense of accomplishment to launch a new course. I feel especially strong about harnessing Ellen Hillbom’s expertise on Sub-Saharan Africa. Echoing Ellen’s words, I firmly believe in the global demand to learn more about Africa. I’d also like to praise Gustav Ehde, our Film Director, for a job well done. It takes skills to record and post-edit a full online course at the level of quality standards we expect.”

In parallel with the first session of the course on Africa’s development, the work continues to offer Swedish subtitling of the course, something that is in the pipeline for the course on Digital Business Models as well.

Read more about LUSEM’s MOOCs

African development, from the past to the present on

Digital Business Models on



Ellen Hillbom
+46(0)46-222 74 86

 Markus Lahtinen
+46 (0)46 222 91 59