Big History as a scaffold for Futures education


Voros, Joseph

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This paper does several things. First, it reports on some of the history of the Master of Strategic Foresight (MSF) at Swinburne (2001–2018) to provide some background information that, it is hoped, may be useful for others seeking to create or develop under- and postgraduate foresight courses in the future. Second, it also describes some observations made during the early years of the MSF regarding some of the characteristics of the students undertaking it—as compared with other nonforesight students also undertaking comparable-level postgraduate studies—which had a bearing on how we designed and revised the MSF over several iterations, and which, it is similarly hoped, may also be useful for foresight course designers of the future. Third, it notes that the introduction of “Big History” in 2015 at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels seems to have engendered a somewhat easier “uptake” of futures/foresight thinking by those students who were introduced to it, in contrast to cohorts of comparable students in previous years who were not. It is speculated that the Big History perspective was an important factor in this, and some related writings by other academics supporting this conjecture are sketched. It is then argued that, in particular, Big History seems to be especially well-suited to the framing of global-scale/civilizational futures. Finally, a number of remarks are made about how and why I believe Big History provides an ideal basis for engendering futures/foresight thinking, especially with regard to global/civilizational futures, as noted, as well as for framing The Anthropocene.

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Journal article


World Futures Review Special Issue: Foresight Education-II, Vol. 10, no. 4 (Jul 2018), pp. 263-278




Sage Publications, Inc.


Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). The accepted manuscript is reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.