Free Online Course on Sustainable Soil Management: Soil for life

Free Online Course on Sustainable Soil Management Soil for life
Certificate fee scholarship is available for this course.

Institution: Wageningen University
Start Date: November 28, 2017

Wageningen University & Research Centre is glad to announce you a free online course named as “Sustainable Soil Management: Soil for life”. This introductory environmental studies course will explore the importance of soil to life on earth, the issues, processes and societal challenges underlying soil degradation – and what can be done to ensure sustainable soil management for the future. The threats to their soil span deforestation, erosion, overgrazing, and use of agrochemicals, pollution and climate change. Learn what you can do to make a difference in protecting this vital natural resource. This course will start on November 28, 2017.

Course Summary

  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Commitment: 7-9 hours per module
  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Institution:  Wageningen University
  • Languages: English
  • Price: Free
  • Session: Starts on November 28, 2017
  • Requirement: Anyone
  • Certificate Available: Yes

Who Developed the Course

  • About University: Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, is the only university in the Netherlands that specifically focuses on the theme ‘healthy food and living environment’. Student numbers have increased significantly over the last years. In 2013 students ranked Wageningen as the best university in the Reference Guide for Higher Education in the Netherlands for the ninth year in a row.
  • Mission of University: Wageningen University offers a conductive interdisciplinary environment for developing high-quality theoretical, methodological and contextual insights supportive of the University’s mission of improving the quality of life and contributing to international development.

Target Audience

Basic: secondary school completed

Where Could This Lead You

  • Importance of the Subject in Today’s Scenario: Soil management plays an important role in sustainable agriculture as it can contribute to both, water and land conservation. Soil management usually includes soil fertility management, soil conservation, and soil cultivation.
  • Your Career Option: There are lots of interesting career options you can consider after completing the course:
  1. Senior Operations Officer
  2. Senior Research Assistant
  3. Co-operative Department – Infrastructure Management Expert

Get Extra Benefits

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain ($49USD)

  • Official and Verified: Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution’s logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects
  • Easily Shareable: Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
  • Proven Motivator: Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

How to Join This Course

You should register yourself through the given link of join this free online course:

Course Format

Module 1: Soil formation, functions, and threats
This is an introduction to the MOOC, introducing you to why soils are so important and the major issues/threats related to soil. After this module, you’ll be able to name key soil functions and the roles that soils play as well as some of the leading soil degradation issues around the world.

Module 2: Soil water processes
This module will explain the importance of soil water processes for soil functions and services. It will teach you about fundamental soil water processes and factors involved. You will show you the causes, consequences, and concerns of reduced soil wettability, compaction and soil sealing, and the potential for avoiding and correcting them.

Module 3: Dynamics of soil fertility
This module is about the dynamics of soil fertility and importance of soil organic matter. This module will teach you what determines soil fertility, which nutrients are needed for the growth of plants, and summarize the processes that cause a loss of soil fertility and the effects of that.

Module 4: Loss of soil biodiversity
You will show you the main groups of soil organisms and how they interact. This module will explain the relationship between soil biodiversity and soil functions, and summarize the processes that cause a loss of soil biodiversity and their effects.

Module 5: Water erosion
This module will explain the processes involved in water erosion, the causes of water erosion and its effects on soil functions. You will share with you the measures and strategies to prevent and resolve water erosion.

Module 6: Wind erosion
This module will explain the processes involved in wind erosion, the causes of wind erosion and its effects on soil functions. You will share with you the measures and strategies to prevent and resolve wind erosion. This is an elective module you need to elect at least two to be able to earn a certificate.

Module 7: Soil pollution
In this module, you’ll make a distinction between point pollution and diffuse pollution. You will explain the main sources of soil pollution, how different pollutants behave in the soil and why it’s important to know about the natural background levels of heavy metals in soils. This module will share with you how soil properties affect pollutants and also explain the concept and importance of bioavailability of heavy metals in soil.

Module 8: Soil salinization
You’ll explain the process of salinization, the causes of salinization and the effects on soil functions. This module will show you the value of the Leaching Requirement equation for managing soil salinization. Finally, you will share with you measures and strategies to prevent and resolve salinization.

Module 9: Achieving sustainable soil management
You will introduce you to the factors that influence farmers’ decisions about farming practices. This module will teach you how to execute a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and a multi-criteria analysis (MCA).

Module 10: Final exam
Module 10 contains the final exam and concludes this MOOC. While studying the previous modules you have learned a lot about the issues, processes and societal challenges underlying soil health, soil degradation, and sustainable soil management.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Why soils and sustainable soil management are so important to life on earth
  • How soils form, their functions and basics of soil degradation
  • Threats to and caring for: Soil water relations, soil fertility, and soil biodiversity
  • Effects of and solutions for Soil erosion, soil pollution, and soil salinization
  • Socio-economic and policy aspects of sustainable soil management
  • How you can help protect this critical natural resource

Who Will You Learn With

  • Dr. Coen J. Ritsema: Coen Ritsema is Professor at Wageningen University & Research and Chair of the Soil Physics and Land Management group. He has more than 30 years of experience in fundamental and applied research in the area of soil and water-related sciences, and coordinating large (inter)national multidisciplinary research projects and programmes.
  • Dr. Ir. Michel Riksen: Michel Riksen is an assistant professor in the Soil Physics and Land Management group (SLM) of Wageningen University & Research. In 1994 he finished his MSc at Wageningen University in Tropical Land Management with a specialization in Erosion and Soil & Water Conservation. In 1998 he got his first research position in an EU-funded Wind Erosion project.
  • Dr. Jerry Maroulis: Jerry Maroulis is, since 2012, a lecturer at Wageningen University & Research in the Soil Physics and Land Management (SLM) Group. He obtained his Ph.D. at Wollongong University in fluvial geomorphology investigating climate change impacts over the past 100,000 years on a major semi-arid, low-gradient river system known as Cooper Creek in central Australia.

Suggested Reading

You can refer these books:

  • Causes of Soil Degradation and Development Approaches to Sustainable Soil Management by Kurt G. Steiner
  • Soil Management Guidelines for Sustainable Cropping by T. G. Shepherd


  • Importance of Course: After completing the course you will understand why soil is so important, how it’s being threatened and what we can do to protect this natural resource so vital to our lives.
  • Importance of Certificate: By the Certificate of Achievement you will be able to prove your success when applying for jobs or courses. You can display it on your LinkedIn or CV.

Detailed Information

For more information about the course, you may visit the given link:!

Apply Now


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