CliSAP successfully finished in 2018. Climate research continues in the Cluster of Excellence "CLICCS".

Shaping contents for the Hamburg Open Online University—sustainability project wins bid


Internet portals across the world provide myriad learning materials hence complementing classical university courses and lectures. This enables students to get a higher education, sometimes without ever coming to campus. But effective online learning requires more than video lectures. Thus, Universität Hamburg promotes scientific initiatives aiming for innovative digital content and learning formats such as the project developed by CliSAP researcher Arnd Holdschlag and his team.

The project team left to right: Ivo van den Berk, Arnd Holdschlag, Mirjam Braßler

At the beginning of 2015, Hamburg’s universities and City Senate jointly founded the Hamburg Open Online University, aka HOOU. Universität Hamburg has provided funding for nine projects in order to add scientific content to the portal.

One of the projects focuses on sustainability and climate change from a transdisciplinary perspective. Arnd Holdschlag, a CliSAP scientist from the Institute of Geography at Universität Hamburg, is delighted that his project “Sustainable Futures in Times of Climate and Socioeconomic Change—Transdisciplinary Approaches and Educational Potentials” got the go-ahead for the upcoming winter semester. Holdschlag has developed the concept together with economist and psychologist Mirjam Braßler and educator Ivo van den Berk as well as students; they will receive around €20,000 in funding.

The project is special: it targets students, but also particularly invites interested citizens of Hamburg to join. The latter will probably have no use for the credit points (CPs) students are to receive for completing this course. Nonetheless, citizen scientists will be treated equally and learn to create graphic, text, and video contents. Participation is free of charge. The e-learning project will be supplemented with three on-campus events.

Our launch session in October will introduce various complex issues, e.g., sea level, global change, refugees, social sustainability, or the Anthropocene. “What contents our participants will produce is completely unknowable,” says geographer Holdschlag. “My colleagues will contribute their didactic, economic, and psychological expertise and perspectives—altogether a terrific interdisciplinary blend.” The newly created contents will become free learning resources, so-called Open Educational Resources, accessible for use and further processing via the HOOU portal.


Get involved!