Higher Education Institutions created an Open Course to tackle the Basics of Climate Change

12.09.2016

Finland needs a new generation of climate change experts. We are facing such enormous social change that climate change will not be solved by technology alone; instead, each and every field and expert must have a clear understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships involved. This requires a whole new kind of broad-ranging expertise. In response to this, Sitra and teachers, experts and students from higher education institutions created an open course on the basics of climate change – Climate.now. Metropolia was responsible for the project’s graphic design and video production.

The Climate.now course meets a clear need to educate a new generation of climate experts for all fields, one that understands the fundamentals of climate change and can apply this knowledge within their respective fields. The report "lmastoalan yliopisto-opetuksen nykytila Suomessa” (“The current state of climate change education in Finnish universities” – available in Finnish only)” showed that the basics of climate change are not being studied comprehensively enough in higher education institutions with regard to different subjects, even though there is a need to understand the phenomenon in all fields.

"This is a multidisciplinary module open to everyone. It offers a new kind of course concept for use in higher education institutions. The goal is to get the course into every university and university of applied sciences in Finland. At the same time, we'll be able to take full advantage of the synergies between universities and share resources needed for teaching," explains Professor Markku Kulmala of the University of Helsinki.

Although Climate.now was set up as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), it differs from conventional MOOCs in that the course schedule also includes contact teaching.

"The goal is that each student taking the course will gain an understanding of what the phenomenon is all about and be inspired to tackle climate change with their own expertise," says researcher Laura Riuttanen of University of Helsinki. Riuttanen was responsible for co-ordinating the creation of the course.

Built and tested through co-creation

The course was jointly developed by the University of Helsinki (project co-ordinator), Lappeenranta University of Technology, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Sitra. The University of the Arts Helsinki, Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Ministry of Education and Culture are also involved.

Metropolia’s multi-disciplinary Centre of Expertise Valovirta has implemented the visual identity, web sites and video materials for the course, as well as participated in the implementation and photography of the MOOC -solution.

From Valovirta Digital Media, engineering students Olli-Pekka Kirvesoja, Siiri-Maria Valli, Pekka Virtanen, Hannes Nachtigall and Joose Zanasi worked in the project as well as Senior Lecturer Erkki Rämö. From Valovirta Design, graphic design students Roberto Aarnio, Timo Kallio and Daniel Leiviskä, as well as digital communications student Janne Nurmi and lecturer Tuomas Aatola took part in the project.

"This is so far the biggest Valovirta co-operation project in which students showed an unprecedented capacity for resilience and cooperation attitude. Working in a multidisciplinary team will certainly stay in mind as a great experience. The project also produced three theses," says Erkki Rämö.

The course material has been tested by some 30 university, university of applied sciences and organisation representatives working in different fields.

According to a Sitra report, annual markets valued at over 6,000 billion euros will be opening for smart, green solutions by the year 2050, in a world adapting to climate change. The Climate.now course provides students with invaluable tools to take advantage of this business opportunity.

Course material is accessible in both Finnish and English:
www.ilmastonyt.fi
www.climatenow.fi

Sitra's release


Additional information

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences:
Erkki Rämö, Senior Lecturer, tel. 040 522 3223, firstname.lastname@metropolia.fi
Tuomas Aatola, Lecturer, tel. 040 065 9465, firstname.lastname@metropolia.fi

Sitra: Liisa Lahti, Specialist, tel. +358 (0)40 849 6919, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi
University of Helsinki, Laura Riuttanen, Researcher, tel. +358 (0)50 415 4746, firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi


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