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Annika Iselhorst (Bachelor student Political Science) has won the special Future Change edition of the Create a Course Challenge 2023. Her course, titled "Decoding our Future: Opportunities and Threats of the Digital Revolution," stood out for its interdisciplinary nature and the involvement of tech companies.

The Final

The five finalists of the Create a Course Challenge presented their ideas to the jury and the audience on the Room for Discussion stage at the Roeterseiland campus. Teacher Merel Talbi was the host for the evening, who managed to calm the nerves of those present and create an enthusiastic and pleasant atmosphere.

Four of the five course ideas had a connection to the technological revolution characterizing this era. Linda de Greef, innovation lead at the IIS and one of the jury members, mentioned that they had expected the theme "Future Change" to also generate many ideas related to sustainability. "The digital world probably resonates well with this generation of students."

Apart from Linda de Greef the jury consisted of John Grin, professor of Governance and Policy at the UvA, and Debby Gerritsen, teacher and education developer at the Education Lab of the IIS. She replaced Noah Pellikaan, chairman of the Central Student Council of the UvA, who had to cancel due to illness. In their jury report, they praised all participants for their passion for the topics and their visible personal interest. Nevertheless, only one course could win.

Merel talks to the audience

The course "Decoding our Future"

The idea "Decoding our Future: Opportunities and Threats of the Digital Revolution" goes beyond the usual. The course will address not only AI and Big Data but also other, less known, types of technology. In addition, students will work on their own research and receive lectures from tech professionals.

With all these different aspects, students are challenged to look at technology from both the technological and the social side. The risks of technology will be discussed, but the course is future-oriented and challenges students to seek solutions at a governance level. As Annika puts it: "Participants will learn to bridge the gap between technological development and ethical governance and to bridge the divide between private tech enterprises and society. The goal is to create a path towards a more informed and responsible digital future.

The audience at room for discussion

The development of the course

Annika Iselhorst will work with education developers from the IIS to develop her elective course, so it can be offered in the first semester of the upcoming academic year. The jury mentioned that there is more potential in involving external tech companies. Not only could they teach lectures but they could also be involved more actively by coaching students or by making them co-learners.

When Linda de Greef announced the winner, Annika particularly acknowledged the other finalists: "I would have loved to take all these courses!"

More information

Every year, the IIS organizes the Create a Course Challenge, challenging students to come up with a new UvA-wide elective course. Students can play an active role in influencing the topics covered and the way education is conducted at the UvA. With the Create a Course Challenge, education remains current, socially relevant, and meaningful."