Open Online Course on Transdisciplinary Research

Questions about the course, the team and the possible use in education and curriculum design?

Tobias Buser, project leader or Theres Paulsen, head of td-net
Read also Tobias Buser's text about the MOOC on LinkedIn.

Swiss-made innovative co-produced open online course starts 30. March

How can we address societal challenges with research? Investigate principles, processes, and applications of transdisciplinarity

Partnering for Change: Link Research to Societal Challenges
Join this course - first run starts 30 March 2020

About the course
The course presents transdisciplinary research as a living experience. With a basis on sound theoretical and methodological background, five outstanding projects illustrate promising different ways of dealing with complex societal challenges. The projects address a) health care for mobile pastoralists, b) water scarcity in the Alps, c) coping with decline in a mountain village, d) labour migration, and e) governance of antimicrobial resistance. Starting from these challenges, the course will take learners on a journey through the main phases and steps of transdisciplinary research projects.

The inscription for this free online course is open now. The course consists of six weeks totalling 30 hours’ workload for learners. Each week consists of a mix of formats, including videos, articles, discussions and quizzes. After the first course run, all material, except the interactive parts, will be available year-round and can be integrated in lectures, courses, and self-studies.

The course will be mentored from 30 March to 10 May 2020. It is, however, possible to inscribe for the course until 21 June 2021.

Who is the course for?
Students and researchers from all backgrounds, policy makers and practitioners involved in searching solutions for complex societal challenges.

The course - as a whole or in parts -  can nicely be integrated into seminars, courses, lectures, inversed classrooms and other formats. We are convinced, that students, researchers and practitioners from all backgrounds should have the opportunity to learn how to do research that helps to overcome societal challenges.

What topics will you cover?
  • Research skills needed in order to produce relevant outcomes for society and academia
  • Transdisciplinarity: principles, research processes, and application
  • Guiding questions, phases, and steps in transdisciplinary projects
  • Pitfalls and opportunities in transdisciplinary projects
  • Ethical implications of co-production processes
  • Examples of transdisciplinary projects on sustainable development, migration, and health topics

What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you'll be able to...
  • Develop your research skills as you investigate how to co-produce knowledge for society and academia.
  • Reflect transdisciplinarity – its principles, its research processes and the context in which it is promising.
  • Apply transdisciplinary approaches to societally relevant questions.
  • Identify guiding questions, phases and steps of transdisciplinary project.
  • Apply the principles and steps of transdisciplinary research to examples in order to reflect the implication for your own projects.
  • Reflect the role of scientists and stakeholders in society and consider the ethical implications of co-producing processes.


Co-producing the course

A partnership brought together the Network for Transdisciplinary Research td-net, the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Swiss Universities of Basel, Bern and Geneva, Universities of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland and Luzern, ETH Zurich, University for Teacher Education Zug, to produce this Massive Open Online Course. The concept and its content were designed through intense co-production processes by experts of the above-mentioned institutes.

The MOOC was also supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


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