Learning by Doing: An Open University MOOC on Sustainable Consumption

In November, 2022, the University of Helsinki launched a MOOC (massive open online course) on Sustainable Consumption. The course will be held again from 1/9–17/12/2023.

The course was developed by Global Politics and Communications Programme Director S.M. Amadae and was launched in November, 2022, at the Open University. After a successful first run, it will be held again from January 23 to March 5, 2023.  People from all stages of their educational journey are welcome to join this 2-credit course to participate and reflect on sustainable choices.

The approach of the course is highly innovative and provides thought-provoking theory and data. It goes beyond illustrating the problems that we face and, instead, focuses on finding solutions and filling in the gap between intent and action. The course introduces an approach in which learning is achieved by doing and by using technological innovations to decrease food waste and by taking concrete action to protect the scarce resources of our planet.

The course is part of a novel collaboration between the international master’s programme Global Politics and Communication at the University of Helsinki, and the Horizon 2020 research grant ATARCA hosted by the Department of Communications and Networking at Aalto University. This joint effort between students and faculty from different disciplines and institutions has enabled the creation of an innovative practise-based learning experience.  

The course also introduces the Food Futures app and introduces students to blockchain Foodprint tokens.

The Food Futures app is designed to facilitate sustainable collective action today, and it provides a sustainable approach to the environmental commons that we all depend on. It illustrates data on your meal’s carbon footprint, and other sustainability values, in an easy-to-digest and engaging way, thus encouraging more informed choices. It also visualises the cumulative and collective environmental impact of individual and collective choices.  The Food Futures app introduces a community cryptocurrency to measure, record, and recognise individuals’ sustainable meal choices.

To learn more about these innovations, the tragedy of the commons and governance of the commons, we invite you to watch our video Learning by Doing: Solving the Tragedy of the Commons one Meal at a time by Aalto University, University of Helsinki, ATARCA and Futures Index.

This video was a finalist in the international competition held by the International Association for the Study of the Commons.