Background

The course was created as a response to the need for interdisciplinary sustainability education. The idea for the course came from discussions between the collaborators of this project when the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra put out an open call for projects focusing on education on the circular economy.

The decision to utilise the massive open online course (MOOC) platform and the English language was based on the accessibility and wider reach of the course’s important topics and in support of the Finnish goal to be a leading nation in the circular economy. The design was based on the previous expertise from Climate.now, an open online course on the basics of climate change.

The plan for the course – which topics to include and how to teach them – came from a collaboration between the contributors of different field of expertise. The aim was to see what kind of knowledge, skills and attitudes are needed in leading sustainability transition and how to best learn them through practicing the needed competencies in a real-world group project.

The funding call and collaboration with Sitra brought the theme of the circular economy to the course. The circular economy offers a concrete and suitable angle from which to lead and solve the sustainability issues of transforming different societal sectors and processes on multiple levels.

The project took place from autumn 2017 to the end of 2018. In September 2018, for the first time the course will run on the University of Helsinki MOOC platform for students to enrol onto. After the first run, the project team will further develop the course and reopen it to students, teachers and to the whole of the general public in early 2019.