Climate education and communication – Registration open to Climate University workshop in Oulu 10.-11.10.

The registration is now open to the next Climate University workshop in Oulu – you are warmly welcome to join!

In Climate University Oulu workshop the focus is on climate education and communication. Climate University is working actively on new online learning materials on climate change for high schools, as well as on a module on climate communication. You are welcome to join this work, and especially we would like to invite our school collaborators. This is also an excellent opportunity to network with other actors in Oulu region, as the University of Oulu is having a sustainability week at the same time, and there is a kick-off of a regional climate education program as well. This workshop is mainly in Finnish.

Program and registration

In Autumn 2019 we’ll also have a workshop hosted by Metropolia in Vantaa Myllypuro Campus in 19.-20.11. The theme is “Sustainable cities and communities”, and we’ll workshop the other coming Climate University new online learning materials on sustainability, systemic thinking, and climate solutions. Registration opens soon.

Online courses for changemakers

The new academic year starts with interesting online courses for change makers.


Leadership for sustainable change is a course about how to lead change towards more sustainable society. In Autumn 2019, the course runs as a 5 ECTS online course in collaboration with University of Helsinki, Tampere University as well as Open university of Helsinki. Course material is available at:

  • University of Helsinki: course code ATM373, next course 3.9.-20.10.2019, registration
  • Open university of Helsinki: course code AYATM373, next course 3.9.-20.10.2019, registration
  • Tampere University: course code HALYAS14 or KATVAS39, next course 3.9.-20.10.2019, registration is an online course about basics of circular economy. Continuous 3 ECTS online course is available 3.9. onwards in the University of Helsinki as well as Open University of Helsinki. 5 ECTS course can be done in LUT-University and University of Helsinki in spring 2020. On the website is general information about the course and a button “Start studying” which leads you to the course platform, where you can register for the course or only look at the course.

  • University of Helsinki: MAAT-051, 3 ECTS continuous, next 5 ECTS course in Spring 2020
  • Open university of Helsinki: AYMAAT-051, 3 ECTS continuous, registration
  • LUT-University: BH60A5400 Introduction to Circular Economy, Autumn 2019 is a course about basics of climate change that everyone should know. The multidisciplinary course was done in collaboration with University of Helsinki, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in 2016. Currently there are courses in seven universities in Finland. Some courses include contact teaching, some run fully online. Material is available at

  • University of Helsinki: course code ATM302, next course 28.10.-9.12.2019, registration in weboodi
  • Open university of Helsinki: course code AYATM302, next course 28.10.-9.12.2019, registration
  • University of Jyväskylä: course code BENA4036, next course 23.9.-20.12.2019, registration in Sisu
  • University of Oulu: course code 766383A, next course 30.10. -28.11.19, registration in WebOodi
  • Aalto University: next course in Spring 2020
  • University of Tampere: next course in Spring 2020
  • University of Eastern Finland: course code 3352703, next course in the autumn semester 2020
  • LUT-University & open university: course code BH60A5900 Climate Change, 5 op, next course 7.1.- 17.4.2020, registration via open university.


See also UniPID online courses, for example “Towards sustainable development goals: the nexus of water, food and energy” by University of Jyväskylä 28.10.-20.12.2019.

“Circular Economy and Renewable Energy” Workshop in Lahti 10-11.6.2019

How to integrate climate change solutions and circular economy in teaching? What climate related projects are currently going on in the Lahti region? These themes were the focus of the workshop arranged at the new Lahti campus Mukkula. The first day was organized by Lahti University of Applied Sciences LAMK and the second day by Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT.

The first day gave an overview of inspiring climate-related projects and initiatives in the Lahti Region. However, first a LAMK student took the participants on a guided tour around the new campus. Then the participants had the chance to hear about how Finland’s climate policy is put into practice in the Lahti region, as Maarit Virtanen (Päijät-Häme Regional Council) told about the Canemure project. Furthermore, Eira Rosberg-Airaksinen explained how the City of Lahti offers companies opportunities for climate partnerships with Lahti Region Development and Lahti University of Applied Sciences (called “Ilmastohaaste”, meaning the climate challenge). Then the participants got an insight into how Lahti, as the first city in the world, trial a personal carbon trading scheme (CitiCAP project) – Anna Huttunen told about what the project is all about; Ville Uusitalo about how a personal carbon trading scheme for mobility works; and Markku Sihvonen gave an introduction to how to use the CitiCAP app.

The participants also got an insight into how a changing climate affects the ecotoxicity of micro plastics. Professor Stephan Pflugmacher Lima guided the participants through a screw cap experiment where Lahti was compared with Singapore. The seminar day was concluded by Juhani Järveläinen who put the spotlight on urban effects of climate change – increased amounts of rain and snowmelt and the challenges of handling it in constructed areas (also called stormwaters). Järveläinen went through stormwater research and objectives at the City of Lahti.

After this, the participants had a buffet dinner at the campus.

The focus of the second day was going out in the field, as well as connecting circular economy and renewable energy to teaching. The day started with an excursion hosted by Ville Uusitalo (LUT) who told how excursions and visits are used as part of teaching. The first stop were the Kymijärvi power plants owned by the City of Lahti, which produce electricity and district heating. Here, many steps have already been taken towards sustainable energy systems, the guide Olli Talvitie told us. A new bioenergy plant, Kymijärvi III, is currently being built to replace the old coal-fired power plant Kymijärvi I. Power plant II uses a unique process where, first, the fuel is gasified, secondly, the gas is cooled down and cleaned and finally it is burned.

The next stop of the excursion was Kujala waste- and recycling centre, which provides fuel for Kymijärvi power plants. Päivi Oksanen gave an insight in the processes that are taking place in the area, first gathering the participants in a meeting room for a presentation and discussion. Then it was time for a bus tour, which took the participants between mountains of plastic, piles of recycled wood, containers for e.g. different metals where inhabitants were sorting their waste, piles of mattresses, and passing by the final disposal site.

Rich on impressions the participants returned to the campus. After lunch, Anni Wärri spoke about developing working life skills as part of teaching. It turned out that practices in biomedicine studies and the Jobitti project can be applicable also in a climate and sustainability studies context, and vice versa. After this Sanni Väisänen (LUT) introduced the participants to teaching circular economy using the digital platform.

The day was wrapped up by small group discussions around the themes of the day: teaching circular economy; brainstorming about connecting to working life as part of teaching; as well as a workshop for teachers.

Blog by Tina Nyfors, LUT

Photos: Anne-Marie Tuomala, Tina Nyfors, Laura Riuttanen

Coordinator greetings

Spring has been busy time in the Climate University community. We had awesome and inspiring workshops in Turku (Innovations in education for sustainable future, 7.-8.5.) and in Lahti (Circular economy and renewable energy solutions, 10.-11.6.).  Huge thanks to the local organizers! Climate University has also been presented in many forums, at least in World Summit of Students for Climate, Universities and Climate Change, OKM kehittämishankkeiden kevätseminaari, Pedaforum, EuroFlux, Nordplus ABS Nordic Teachers network, MODEST teacher network, Physics days, Helsinki Sustainability Science Days, and Helsinki Think Corner.

Figure 1: Coordinator Laura Riuttanen presenting Climate University at Pedaforum 6.6.2019. Photo by Taina Ruuskanen. 

In the beginning of the year, Climate University asked the partners about what is needed in the society to be able to tackle the huge challenges of climate change and sustainability. Assessment of Needs was accepted by the steering group 17.5. and can be read here. A revised version of the new course plans has been prepared by the working group, and was accepted by the steering group 17.6. By the end of 2020, Climate University will do the following free online course materials available for everyone:

  • – piecing together climate change and sustainability
    • Collaborators: LUT-University, University of Turku, University of Oulu and University of Helsinki
  • – systems thinking in managing climate change
    • Collaborators: Aalto University, Univeristy of Turku, University of Helsinki and University of Tampere
  • – a project course in collaboration with working life
    • Collaborators: Turku University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Lahti University of Applied Sciences and University of Helsinki
  • Statistical tools for climate and atmospheric science
    • Collaborators: University of Eastern Finland, University of Helsinki
  • Climate communication
    • Collaborators: University of Oulu, University of Helsinki
  • for schools
    • Collaborators: University of Oulu, University of Tampere, University of Helsinki

Figure 2: Climate University courses by the end of 2020. 

Working groups of these new materials have started and will work intensively next Autumn. In the coming Climate University workshops, the community and collaborators have an opportunity to comment and contribute to the new materials. In October we will meet in Oulu 10.-11.10.2019 in the Climate University workshop ‘Climate education and communication‘. Especially our school collaborators are invited to that workshop to discuss the topic and the coming climate online course for schools. In November 19-20 Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is hosting a Climate University workshop on ‘Sustainable Communities‘, in which you have the opportunity to comment the other course plans, and to which especially our working life collaborators are invited to. Registration to these workshops will open early Autumn.

Figure 3: University of Helsinki organized a workshop on digital pedagogy ABC in Helsinki 13.6.2019 for the Climate University new working groups, together with the Digital Leap of the Masters’ Programme in Atmospheric Sciences.   

In the beginning of September starts the online course ‘Leadership for sustainable change‘ in collaboration with University of Helsinki and University of Tampere. You are warmly welcome to the course, via either of these universities, or via the Open University of Helsinki!

In October starts also course in University of Oulu, University of Jyväskylä and University of Helsinki. The University of Helsinki course will also be available via Open University.

Now it is time to rest a bit, so that in the Autumn we are ready to change the world! Have a lovely summer everyone!


Opiskelija (ja opettaja!) oppii innovoimaan vain tekemällä

Saimme viettää innostavan päivän Turun Kakskerran saarella toukokuun 8. päivänä parin kymmenen opettajan ja kolmen yritysedustajan kanssa. Päivän tarkoituksena oli esitellä Turun ammattikorkeakoulussa käytettyä innovaatioleirin menetelmää Climate University –verkoston opettajille. Totesimme jo päivän alussa, että halusimme tuoda opettajat itse kokeilemaan innovaatioleiriä sen sijaan, että olisimme vain pitäneet menetelmästämme kalvosulkeiset. Tällä tavoin opettaja saa itse kokea miltä eri innovointivaiheet tuntuvat opiskelijan näkökulmasta ja pystyy suunnittelemaan paremman innovaatioleirin omille opiskelijaryhmilleen.

Innovaatioleirin ideana on koota monialainen opiskelijaryhmä yleensä 24 tunniksi samaan paikkaan ideoimaan uusia ratkaisuja yhden tai useamman yrityksen tarjoamiin kestävyyshaasteisiin. Yritykset ovat tiiviisti mukana leirillä ja työtä ohjaa kokenut fasilitaattori, joka rytmittää ideoinnin ja kehittämisen vaiheet kyseiselle ryhmälle sopivalla tavalla.

Tällä kertaa olimme saaneet fasilitaattoriksi innovoinnin ammattilaisen, Jens Gijbelsin Alankomaista asti.  Yleensä olemme hyödyntäneet omasta organisaatiostamme tai alueeltamme löytyvää osaamista, mutta nyt halusimme itsekin saada uusia näkökulmia innovaatioleirin järjestämiseen pyytämällä mukaan alansa huipun. Meillä oli haasteen antajina kolme hyvin erilaista yritystä eri puolilta Suomea mukana leirillä – yksi kansainvälinen suuryritys, yksi keskikokoinen yritys ja yksi startup.

Olemme Turun ammattikorkeakoulussa julkaisseet uuden oppaan innovaatioleirin järjestäjille, mutta tässä yhteydessä haluan nostaa esille muutaman ahaa-elämyksen, joita sain itse tämän toukokuisen leirin aikana.


Aina kun ratkaistaan yrityksiltä tulleita haasteita, on olennaisen tärkeää todella ymmärtää mistä haasteessa on kyse. Parhaimmat ratkaisut löytyvät vain, jos leirin osallistujat todella ymmärtävät mihin ongelmaan pyritään löytämään ratkaisu. Usein sekään ei riitä, että haaste on huolellisesti ja asiantuntevasti muotoiltu yhdessä yrityksen kanssa ennen leiriä. Tällä leirillä kokeilimme ensimmäistä kertaa haasteen uudelleenmuotoilemista yhdessä osallistujien ja yritysten kanssa. Tämä tuntui toimivan hyvin, sillä näin haasteet saatiin muotoiltua sopivaksi juuri tämän porukan osaamisen pohjalta. Samalla haaste tuli palasteltua sana sanalta niin, että jokainen osallistuja varmasti ymmärsi mitä päivän aikana oli tarkoitus ratkaista.

Social ritual

Leirillä toimitaan aina monialaisissa ryhmissä, jotka koostuvat toiselleen ennalta tuntemattomista ihmisistä. Jotta ryhmä yltää täyteen potentiaaliinsa, tulee sieltä löytyä hyvää yhteishenkeä. Tällä leirillä Jens ohjeisti ryhmiä keksimään itselleen lounaan ajaksi jonkin sosiaalisen rituaalin. Jotkut ryhmät tekivät metsäretken, toiset keskustelivat ilmastosynneistään ja eräät esittelivät suosikki Netlifx-sarjojaan. Oli hienoa seurata sivusta, kuinka tällainen pieni ele sai ryhmissä aikaan suuren eron ja toisilleen tuntemattomista ryhmänjäsenistä syntyi eräänlainen kokonaisuus.


Usein innovaatioleirillä kehitetyt ratkaisut saattavat jäädä vailla konkretiaa tai ylipäänsä tietoa siitä ovatko ne edes varteenotettavia ratkaisuja. Se mikä kuulostaa loppuesitysten myyntipuheessa hyvältä idealta, ei välttämättä käänny todelliseksi ratkaisuksi. Tämän ongelman voi ehkäistä pyytämällä kaikkia ryhmiä tekemään ideastaan testattavan ja muille esiteltävän prototyypin. Leirillä prototyyppien rakentamiseen sai käyttää mitä vain tilasta löytyvää: tuoleja, papereita, kasveja… Oli hauskaa nähdä, kuinka abstraktimmatkin ideat realisoituivat ryhmien prototyypeiksi luovin keinoin vajaassa puolessa tunnissa. Sitten ryhmät saivat kiertää testaamassa toistensa prototyyppejä, antamassa palautetta ja kysymässä niitä tarpeellisia, mutta vaikeita kysymyksiä.


Jotta innovaatioleiri saa arvoisensa lopun ja osallistujille jää innostava fiilis, on hyvä juhlistaa yhteisen matkan päättymistä jollain tavalla. En ollut itse aiemmin tullut ajatelleeksi, kuinka tärkeää hyvä lopetus on. Jos jokainen osallistuja vain ryntää omiin menoihinsa heti loppuesitysten jälkeen, jää arvokas loppupuinti ja yhteisistä saavutuksista iloitseminen välistä. Me olimme varanneet leirin loppuun saunan ja juhlapäivällisen osallistujia varten ja vasta jälkikäteen ymmärsin, kuinka tärkeä osa leirin kokonaisuutta se on.


Leirin lopussa usean opettajan silmät hohtivat uutta innostusta sekä halua päästä kokeilemaan innovaatioleirin ja luovan yhteiskehittämisen menetelmiä omassa korkeakoulussaan. Epäilen, että samaan lopputulokseen ei olisi päästy vain pitämällä esitys tai jakamalla innovaatioleirin opas heille. Innovaatioleiri ei sovi kaikkiin opetuskokonaisuuksiin ja se on vain yksi yritysten kanssa tehtävän yhteiskehittämisen muoto. Siitä huolimatta intensiivinen leiri voi opettaa opiskelijoille paljon luovan yhteiskehittämisen taitoja ja tuoda uusia näkökulmia kestävyyshaasteiden ratkaisemiseksi työelämään soveltuvalla tavalla. Se pakottaa opiskelijat (ja toisinaan myös opettajat) astumaan ulos mukavuusalueeltaan uudelle ja tuntemattomalle maaperälle.


Teksti ja kuvat: Sara Malve-Ahlroth

 “Innovations in education for sustainable future” in Turku 7.5.2019

Climate University researchers and teachers met in Turku on 7-8 May with the intention of getting a practical touch on how phenomenon based learning works in the context of sustainability challenges. The first day was organized by the University of Turku (and the second by the Turku University of Applied Sciences.)

The first day was divided into two parts, which were, however, seamlessly linked together. During the morning, we introduced the KEKO concept, the learning method of the University of Turku’s Sustainable Development Studies Program. In the afternoon, participants were given the opportunity to experiment with the methodology of futures studies. The idea was also to link the events of the day to the planning of the content of future “” and “” –courses.

Sustainable Development Training Program KEKO is a prospective Minor for all students at the University of Turku. It consists of a year-long core course (10 credits) as well as optional, sustainable development courses (minimum 15 credits) organized by different faculties and other universities and organizations. KEKO has been literally a phenomenon since birth. Since 2008, a multidisciplinary, long-term group-based and phenomenon learning- based course has brought together 40 students each year to reflect on the different dimensions and challenges of sustainable development. The year-long KEKO core course is long enough to look at complex phenomena and the student’s commitment to both sustainable development and teamwork. The KEKO year has been described by many students as a life-changing experience. “It’s probably the best course I have completed at the university” a former student recently described in his letter.

One of the key elements of KEKO is that most of the learning takes place in multidisciplinary teams, into which students are divided in the beginning of the year. Each team receives a theme, which is studied from the perspectives of the different dimensions of sustainable development. As an example, during this year, one of the themes was “Domestic use of fire-wood” and another one “Fashion”. During the year, students will gain an in-depth view of both their theme and the various dimensions of sustainable development: ecological, social, economic and cultural. Students learn that dimensions cannot be viewed in isolation, but they are all connected.

Above all, KEKO’s strength lies in the fact that students learn working life competence, dialogue, and what collective expertise and group intelligence mean in practice. During the KEKO course, students leave prejudices and learn to work in a team. Respect for other disciplines will increase. In  multidisciplinary teams, students learn to understand what they know and how their skills are related to the nature of the disciplines they study. It is also important that KEKO is a safe context for experimenting with co-operation and , sometimes, failure. KEKO offers a safe way to understand that no one in the world can change it alone. Things happen only by influencing and co-operating with others. Contradictions and their solutions are part of life.

During the Turku Workshop 7.5.2019, the perspective was in the afternoon changed to futures thinking and systems thinking as tools for making the sustainable futures: How could we strengthen the power of the co-learning and co-creating by using the idea of alternative futures as tools to dispose the possibilities that may exist at any (given) time and place? How could we start identifying the future images of various forms of sustainabilities as well as the relations and dynamics between them? Instead of pretending to “predict the future[i]“, a very classic method, a form of a futures table learns how to envision futures as an open and complex process with an endless flow of alternative images. It shows the power of narrating and innovating new paths for the future, and how multiple perspectives and even conflicting images must be taken into consideration as a basis for actions in the present.

[i] “The future” cannot be “predicted,” but “preferred futures” can and should be envisioned, invented, implemented, continuously evaluated, revised, and re-envisioned.” Jim Dator, Advancing Futures: Futures Studies in Higher Education. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2002)

Blog by Sari Puustinen and Anna Kirveennummi, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku

Photos: Laura Riuttanen

Welcome to Climate University workshop ‘Circular Economy and Renewable Energy’ in Lahti 10.-11.6.2019!

How to integrate climate change solutions and circular economy in teaching? What climate related projects are currently going on in the Lahti region? Warmly welcome to the workshop that is arranged as part of the Climate University project! The venue is the new Lahti campus Mukkula.

On Monday focus is e.g. on how Finland’s climate policy is put into practice in the Lahti region (Canemure project); how the City of Lahti offers companies opportunities for climate partnerships with Lahti Region Development and Lahti University of Applied Sciences (“Ilmastohaaste”); and how Lahti, as the first city in the world, trial a personal carbon trading scheme (CitiCAP project).

Tuesday starts with an excursion to renewable energy and waste/recycling facilities in the region. We visit Kymijärvi power plant, where a new bioenergy plant is being built in order to replace use of coal in 2020, and Kujala waste and recycling centre. The afternoon continues with how to integrate the digital learning material in teaching, and how to strengthen the connections to working life.

Please find the program here. The two-day workshop is held in English.

Sign up for the workshop here (until 3.6.):

Please feel free to forward the invitation.


What kind of new educational materials do we need?

In this post we’ll an update on the Climate University needs assessment

Starting point: what are the skills needed to solve the grand challenges of climate change and sustainability?

One of the main aims of the Climate University project is to produce new educational materials based on the needs of the Finnish higher education field. The selection of materials is based on what materials are most needed in climate and sustainability education in Finnish universities.  In addition to wholly new materials we will produce smaller additions to the popular ( ) To support the decisions on selection of materials, a needs assessment was conducted earlier this year.

In November 2018, we held the first kick-off workshop in Tiedekulma, at the University of Helsinki. The opening theme in the kick-off workshop was to examine the question of

“What kind of expertise (education) is needed in the near future, in order to answer the challenges of climate change and sustainability?”

After an interactive urban orienteering –themed interview of experts from various branches of the Finnish society, the workshop participants had a lively discussion on what the relevant skills and areas of expertise would be. Summarised, the main areas considered crucial for future education in the discussion were:

  • Multi-disciplinarity – crossing the traditional borders of natural (or technical, engineering) vs human (sociological) sciences is necessary
  • Holistic understanding of the challenges is required and systems thinking is important. It is important to try to see the bigger picture and not look at the challenges from a single, narrow angle
  • Impactful decisions are based on data and statistics, to but it is equally important to keep in mind the personal, human perspective (choices, values, ethics, principles) and create an emotional connection to the challenges, to bring about change in the society
  • Values and ethics should be included in the discussion of climate change and sustainability.
  • Science communication is key. Academic knowledge needs to be communicated to the decision makers, but academics equally need to understand political decision-making
  • Including the private sector and markets in answering the challenges and considering finances and the economics is needed, and (green technology) business opportunities and innovations need to be recognized. However, focusing too much on innovations and technical solutions may hinder grasping the bigger picture of the challenges.
  • Consumer perspective is important to consider – green choices need to be made easy. Sustainability education (in e.g. circular economy) in schools is necessary, to educate responsible citizens and customers of the future.

Specifically, we were urged by the participants not to fall for “silo mentality” or to classify materials of questionnaire themes by typical topical classifications. Therefore, the above listed themes were adopted as the basis for themes charted in the needs assessment questionnaire. Based on the project plan and the kick-off workshop feedback, both described above, a survey form was drafted. The survey was implemented using an online questionnaire and was answers were collected from January to March 2019.

The needs assessment survey: what did we as a community find important?

The survey received in total 49 responses. Most of the responses were from University personnel, which is the largest group of people forming the Climate University community. The respondents backgrounds were distributed rather evenly among the Finnish universities and the respondents generally represented more than one faculty or department at each university. Additionally to the universities’ representatives, we received multiple answers from other sections of the society such as schools, NGO’s and government institutes.


In the “Materials” section of the questionnaire we asked the respondents to evaluate (i) the levels of need for materials and (ii) the respective expertise in their potential production in their organisation. The question included a numeric answer on a scale of 1 to 5 to each of the seven themes selected as well as a freeform additional comment (optional). The distribution of answers by the themes is shown below:

In addition to the averages and standard deviations of the numerical answers, we additionally calculated the difference between the need and expertise reported by the participants. This difference, which we here labeled “skill gap” can be taken to represent the need of outside expertise (or similarly the capability to offer expertise to others, if expertise > need; i.e. skill gap is negative). Please note this calculation is not a robust scientific one, but rather arbitrary metric we derived to have at least some measure for the overall balance of needs and expertise, as well as a measure of need for collaboration between the various universities.

From the statistics, we proposed three conclusions can be drawn:

  • The overall demand is highest (mean of ‘need’) for the two themes as of multi-disciplinarity and holistic understanding.
  • For the themes of ethics and values and consumer perspective, the discrepancy between estimated need and expertise (mean skill gap) is the highest, indicating an overall lack of expertise on these topics among the participating organisations.
  • The consumer perspective and private sector and markets themes feature the widest distributions (highest standard deviation) of ‘skill gap’, which we propose could be taken as a sign that co-operation between the organisations would be especially beneficial in these topics.

Freeform comments

Of the themes offered, multi-disciplinarity and holistic understanding  gathered the largest amount of supporting comments and propositions, e.g.:

“Especially in the technical areas, we need to be exposed to a view of the whole and how our endeavours fit in to healing the human condition and the planet!”

“I think we could make use of more material/cases on the holistic understanding of reasons behind climate change”

“Ilmastonmuutos systeemiajattelun valossa”

“Risk assessment, perception and communication”

The themes of consumer perspective, science communication private sector and markets also well represented among the comments:

“How to cooperate with companies and other organizations on climate issues: project work module” (Private sector and markets)

“New technological innovations emerging from the need to cut down carbon emissions – dealing with energy production, mobility solutions and businesses” (Private sector and markets)

“Not very much integrated to present  curriculum? Is of great importance.” (Science communication)

“Miten nostaa ilmastoaihe vakavaan keskusteluun monialaisessa ja kiireen vaivaamassa organisaatiossa? Miten puhutellaan johtoa tehokkaasti? Miten saadaan organisaatiosta irti parhaat tehot ilmastokysymyksessä?” (Science communication)

“reasoned discussion on how encouraging individual choices might spill over into demands on better regulation – instead of mutual stand-still & wait” (Consumer perspective)

“Yes, this is important  but why do we still want to talk about customers and consumers? People are becoming producers, and individuals’ role should be rethought.” (Consumer perspective)

Outside of the pre-selected themes, multiple respondents suggested in the freeform comments that a basic course on sustainability would be needed:

“Basics of sustainability e.g. based on planetary boundary and donut approaches. Explanations on each of the themes presented in both approaches.”

“Introduction to Sustainability: We propose a on-line course “Introduction to Sustainability” to provide  comprehensive basic/starting knowledge and skills for master students with various backgrounds.”

“On behalf of research group LUT/School of Energy Systems/Sustainability Science: Digital course “Introduction to Sustainability” to provide an overview of the variety of sustainability issues related to natural resources, technologies, sustainable and profitable business models, climate changes, food and water, systemic thinking etc.”


Summarising the survey results – the main conclusions:

  • – Themes considered most important: inter-disciplinarity and holistic understanding
  • – Sustainability (introductionary) course was mentioned and wished for many times!
  • – Topics that got several mentions, and align well with project goals: Industry / business collaboration and school collaboration
  • – Science communication raised many positive comments and was seen as important
  • – Other possible topics for smaller materials include for example
  • Climate change in Arctic/ Nordic areas, Ethics & values, Consumer perspective & active citizenship, Climate Law and
  • Data basis

Further developing the ideas

In the second Climate University workshop, held at the University of Jyväskylä 28.-29. March 2019, the results so far from the questionnaire were presented to the wider Climate University community.

From the basis of the survey result and discussion in the workshop, we decided to go forward with two main themes: (1) Introduction course to sustainability and (2) an ambitious, advanced course of systems thinking for unde4rstanding global change. We also decided to pursue smaller courses / materials for school and private sector co-operation, namely (3) a high school level online course based on and (4) a project course based on working life challenges from industry and other collaborating partner organisations. There were also several ideas for smaller materials, the ideas of which we decided to refine.

The preliminary concepts for the four primary materials were discussed in small working groups in a session of the Jyväskylä workshop. Based on the survey results and preceding discussion, the groups discussed the concepts and summarized their ideas in form of quick posters. These ideas will add to the material available for further refinement of the course and material concepts.

To be continued…

Working groups have now been assigned for preliminary planning and refining of the ideas, and we will give an update of the progress at the next workshop in Turku, in May 7 to 8th. You are most welcome to discuss these materials and interesting themes with us!

The final needs assessment report, 14 May 2019.

Innovations in education for sustainable future 7.-8.5. – register now!

Climate University goes Turku 7.-8.5.: Innovations in education for sustainable future

During the first day of the Turku workshop, Tuesday 7.5., we will demonstrate how phenomenon based learning works in the context of sustainability challenges. By showing the many interlinkages between the different dimensions of sustainable development we will learn how to utilize holistic and systemic thinking for sustainable futures. The proposals for the new Climate University materials will be presented and the future plans discussed further by utilizing futures methods. The first day is hosted by the University of Turku, and it will be in Finnish.
The second day,  Wednesday 8.5., demonstrates how innovation pedagogy tools can tackle the sustainability challenges from the Climate University work-life collaborators. We hear the challenges by the company representatives and will workshop them together with educator Jens Gijbels form Fundamentals Academy. The second day is hosted by the Turku University of Applied Sciences, and it will be in English.

Program and registration:


Also registration to the next Climate University workshop is now open! Workshop on Circular economy and renewable energy solutions will be hold in Lahti 10.-11.6.2019.

Check the coming workshops, as well as greetings from the past two workshops, from the Climate University blog:

Summary of the Jyväskylä workshop 29.3.2019

“Climate University goes Jyväskylä – teaching and learning for sustainable future” workshop was held in Jyväskylä on 29 March 2019

Vice rector of the Univeristy of Jyväskylä, Professor Marja-Leena Laakso opening the Climate University goes Jyväskylä workshop. Photo by Laura Riuttanen.

Opening words by Marja-Leena Laakso, Vice Rector of the University of Jyväskylä

Vice rector Marja-Leena Laakso warmly welcomed nearly 50 participants across disciplines and institutes to the second Climate University workshop. In her opening words, she addressed the need for education in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to stop global warming. As a Professor of Early Childhood Education, she brought up the worry of children and the young on their future environment. However, at the end of her speech the vice rector said: “There is hope”. The timely role of Climate University project as a producer of high-quality digital education material was appreciated and acknowledged by the vice rector. For us members of the established Climate University network, her opening words were of great worth.

Video recording of the opening can be viewed here.

Aims of the Climate University

Project coordinator Laura Riuttanen outlined the aims of the Climate University project for the next two years: to make two new moocs (massive open online courses) and smaller additional material to existing course. Laura Riuttanen’s presentation can be viewed in the link above, directly after Professor Marja-Leena Laakso’s presentation. Mikko Äijälä presented results of the online questionnaire sent for participants prior to the workshop. The message was that a holistic, interdisciplinary approach in education material is called for, with new focus areas on consumerism and ethics.

Commentary from working life

After Laura Riuttanen’s and Mikko Äijälä’s floors, we heard views of Development Manager Hannu Kapanen from Regional Council in Central Finland, Environmental Education Specialist Tanja Tuulinen from ELY centre and Environmental Specialist Minna Salonen from Cental Finland Health Care District. The need of communication skills in working life was emphasized, and the reliable, timely information for stakeholders, politicians and health care personnel called for.

After these floors a vigorous and excited conversation broke out. Comments on the need for popularization of science were thrown by several participants. The need of good communication and pedagogic skills were recognized by the audience, too. Student delegates were concerned about co-operating with emotion-based actions and unwillingness to contemplate new environmental information.

Holistic and nexus approaches

You may leave the village but the village never leaves you” crystallized Professor Tuula Tuhkanen, the local host, in her presentation referring to her work on sanitation in developing countries. Professor Tuhkanen initialized a nexus approach to the Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations to be implemented as a part of the new mooc. There will be a Jyväskylä Summer school short course in 5-8.8.2019.

Professor Janne Kotiaho introduced the recently established School of Resource Wisdom. The Wisdom is a University of Jyväskylä’s network for scientists pursuing well-being for all the species inhabiting the Earth. Professor Kotiaho’s presentation opened the dialog between Climate University and the Wisdom network.

In the end of this session, Lecturer Vesa Lappalainen brought regards from the Faculty of Information Technology by presenting the online-learning open technology that his team has been developing and that could contribute to the aims of the seminar participants.

Past, present and future of online education

As a concluding presentation of the day, we had a live stream by Professor Thomas Hatfield from the State University of California. Professor Hatfield overviewed the past, present and future of online education. Compared to the situation a couple of decades ago, the communication has improved – not only in terms of hardware and software, but also in terms of interaction. Online platforms enable immediate answers to student’s questions. The important future aspects according to Professor Hatfield were incorporating artificial intelligence to assist in online courses and feasible transfer of credits across institutes. He stressed that “the real meaning of online learning, however, does not come from the computers and programs. It comes from the professor-student interaction”. He emphasized co-operation and building of trust, which suited well in the context of Climate University workshop. Recorded presentation by prof. Hatfield can be viewed here.

Working in small groups

In the end of the seminar day, the participants formed five small groups and discussed about each of their own topics regarding the material that the Climate Univeristy will produce. The two courses and thus two groups took working names of and following the previously established nomenclature of Third group started outlining the possible plug-ins to the -course based on the experiences on using the material on bachelor level courses. Fourth group discussed about the climate education in primary schools. The fifth group was planning how the concrete working-life related innovations will be implemented as a part of the Climate University project.  In the near future, the more precise contents of the actions of the Climate University will be established, and these discussions were a good basis for that.

The Climate University goes Jyväskylä was a successful event, incorporating experts to exchange information horizontally and prepare educational plans in a constructive atmosphere. Jyväskylä warmly thanks the Climate University project management (Laura Riuttanen and Mikko Äijälä), the seminar speakers and participants for accepting the invitation to visit us. See you next time in Turku!

Text by: Pauliina Salmi, University of Jyväskylä 

Workshop was held at the University of Jyväskylä Mattilanniemi campus, aside the beautiful lake Jyväsjärvi. Photo by Laura Riuttanen.