McGillX MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses

A new way of learning for a worldwide community.


McGill is part of the edX consortium of 36 leading institutions from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia dedicated to offering online interactive classes to enhance education on their campuses and for a worldwide community of learners.

MOOCs are not just canned courses or recorded talking heads. They provide new methods for packaging together course materials, facilitating peer-to-peer learning, and conducting assessments to improve teaching.



McGill has selected four MOOCs for developent. The McGillX page contains a list of all current offerings from McGill:

ATOC 185x: Natural Disasters


Prof. John Gyakum, Prof. John Stix

Dates offered:

  • Starting May 28, 2014 (completed)
  • Starting January 2015 (completed)
  • Starting January 13, 2016 (completed)
  • Starting March 6, 2019 (completed)


No region on Earth is immune from natural disasters. As we gain scientific understanding into the causes and nature of such phenomena, we become better able to mitigate the effects of disasters. Yet as the world's population continues to grow, an increasingly large number of people are at risk. This course examines the science behind different types of disasters and our ability or inability to control and predict such events. From this course the student will gain an appreciation of natural disasters beyond the newspaper headlines, and will better understand how the effects of disasters can be reduced.

There is an urgent need for people from all walks of life to better understand the scientific principles behind the occurrence of natural disasters. City planners need to know where and where not to site buildings. Politicians need to make scientifically informed decisions. Emergency management officials need to understand the nature of a potential disaster and ways to mitigate such an event. Journalists need to report scientifically accurate information.

Learn more about ATOC 185x here.

CHEM 181x: Food for Thought


Prof. Ariel Fenster, Prof. David Harpp, Prof. Joe Schwarcz

Dates offered:

  • Starting January 22, 2014 (completed)
  • Starting September 30, 2014 (completed)
  • Starting October 7, 2015 (completed)
  • Starting September 28, 2016 (completed)
  • Starting October 17, 2018 (completed)


Eating and understanding the nuances of food has become a complicated and often confusing experience. Virtually every day brings news about some “miracle food” that we should be consuming or some "poison" we should be avoiding. One day it's tomatoes to prevent cancer, then flaxseed against heart disease or soybeans for menopause. At the same time we may be warned about trans fats, genetically modified foods, aspartame or MSG. Dietary supplements may be touted as the key to health or a factor in morbidity. According to some, dairy products are indispensable while others urge us to avoid them. The same goes for meat, wheat and soy; the list goes on. This course will shed light on the molecules that constitute our macro and micro nutrients and will attempt to clarify a number of the food issues using the best science available. Other topics to be presented will include the diet-cancer relationship, the link between diet and cardiovascular disease, food-borne illnesses, food additives and weight control.

Learn more about CHEM 181x here.

BODY 101x: The Body Matters


Dr. Ian Shrier

Dates offered:

  • Starting February 25, 2015 (completed)
  • Starting February 10, 2016 (completed)
  • Starting March 1, 2017 (completed)


Exercise is promoted as a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle. Ever wonder why? Exercise is more than just an “art of converting big meals and fattening snacks into back strains and pulled muscles by lifting heavy things that don’t need to be moved, or running when no one is chasing you.” Our bodies evolved to move over several millennia.
Did you know that physically active obese individuals live longer than inactive thin individuals? Are you interested in seeing the evidence on the benefits and risks of stretching? What is the best way to treat your ankle, knee, and/or shoulder injury? How does injury affect mood and what are the consequences?
Whether you are a competitive athlete, an aspiring musician or dancer, whether you play for fun or just want to lead an active lifestyle, this course will entertain and challenge you. Topics will include basic and advanced principles of body movement and biological, psychological and social issues related to activity/sport/injury/rehabilitation. The course will include content from leading international experts in multiple fields related to the science of exercise.

Learn more about BODY 101x here.

GROOCx: Social Learning for Social Impact


Prof. Henry Mintzberg, Prof. Leslie Breitner, Dr. Anita Nowak & Carlos Rueda

Dates offered:

  • Starting September 16, 2015 (completed)


Do you want to make a difference in the world by collaborating with other like-spirited individuals from around the globe? Maybe you’re already working with a group doing social impact work – in an established organization/NGO or not. Perhaps you have an idea for a social initiative and want to team up with others, locally or virtually, or maybe you’re just concerned about the direction the world is heading and want to join a global conversation about creating some positive, sustainable change. If so, our GROOC is for you.

Our GROOC has a distinct pedagogy: we believe profound learning happens when people share their experiences with each other, ask questions and tell stories. It’s called social learning. There are no right or wrong answers, and no tests along the way. Instead, you’ll delve into relevant issues that concern all social initiatives, at any stage of development, including: how to organize them, design them, fund them, grow them and assess them.

Over seven sessions, you will be exposed to concepts and models from our four course designers and will hear from top international scholars and practitioners who combine the best thinking with the most effective doing. Plus, you’ll have access to more than 20 “deep dive” interviews with fascinating individuals who are at the forefront of creating social change, including Muhammad Yunus, Mary Gordon, Marshall Ganz, etc.

The goal of our GROOC is simple: to inspire the creation of social initiatives that will help rebalance society. Join us to engage in meaningful social learning with a worldwide network of people who want to create a better world together.

Learn more about the GROOC here.


To contact the McGillX team, please email mcgillx.tls [at]


While this web page is accessible worldwide, McGill University is on land which has served and continues to serve as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. Teaching and Learning Services acknowledges and thanks the diverse Indigenous peoples whose footsteps mark this territory on which peoples of the world now gather. This land acknowledgement is shared as a starting point to provide context for further learning and action.

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