A MOOC for people devoted to digital social equality
“We are living a digital life, and the covid-19 pandemic has taken the developments to a completely new level. In the production of digital services, we must look at the bigger picture: how can these services be produced sustainably?” says Professor of Interactive Technology Markku Turunen.
We are used to talking about sustainability especially in connection to the consumption of natural resources, but social sustainability is a newer concept.
“Considering the huge diversity of people is important in social sustainability including, for example, accessibility issues,” Turunen says.
Social sustainability is the topic of Tampere University’s new international Master’s Degree Programme in Sustainable Digital Life where Turunen is the head professor. In the autumn of 2021, the first students will begin in the multidisciplinary Master’s programme which combines social sciences with the study of technologies.
“Because the Master’s programme is completely new, we wanted to give interested students an opportunity to get acquainted with the topic via a five-credit MOOC. The Introduction to Sustainable Digital Life virtual course combines different themes, such as accessibility, ethics, visual culture, sound design, gaming, and service design,” Turunen explains.
MOOC is short for Massive Open Online Course. They are increasingly organised by universities around the world and free for anyone to view and study virtually. The Introduction to Sustainable Digital Life is the first English-language MOOC of the Tampere universities community. University students can log in to the course with their Haka user account and others with their Google account. The course is suitable for anyone with good basic knowledge, but Turunen recommends it especially for those who are interested in the new Master’s programme.
“Because the new Master’s programme is suitable for students from diverse educational backgrounds, the MOOC can help create a common understanding and level of knowledge for everyone even in unfamiliar fields,” Turunen points out. The course includes introductory videos, text materials, and a variety of assignments from essays to design tasks. Among other things, students can evaluate existing services from the perspective of accessibility. The credits earned in the MOOC will be included in the Master’s programme.
The organisers of the MOOC and the new Master’s programme hope that students around the world will be enthusiastic about this current topic and the innovative approach to the present and future digital world.
“We aim to reach a wide range of Finnish and international students who are passionate about these topics,” Turunen says.
Text: Sanna Kähkönen
Photo: Dimitra Panopoulou-Huovila