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In progress at the IIS

Room for experimentation

On this page, you can find the new educational concepts that the IIS is working on. The IIS offers an open atmosphere with an ambitious thinking and working climate where implementation and development are intertwined. The IIS works in close collaboration with the faculties of the UvA. It is important that within the development of interdisciplinary education projects, there is room for experimentation and knowledge sharing.

  • Building Bridges for Local-Global Challenges

    There are many issues at a global scale that have local implications, and vice versa. Think, for example, of overfishing, the spread of infectious diseases and inequality through digitalisation. How can local interventions give direction to global solutions? In the course Building Bridges for Local-Global Challenges, UvA students together with students from three or four partner universities around the world address global issues taking into account both local and international context(s). 

    This project aims to strengthen the following skills of students: intercultural communication and collaboration, shaping transitions, and developing project and co-creation skills at the international level. In international project groups, students work together online and offline to connect diverse perspectives. The challenge is to learn to look at the issue at an overarching level while learning from the various concrete local interventions.

    Dr P.K.I. (Ilja) Boor

    For questions about Building Bridges for Local-Global Challenges, please contact Ilja

  • Shaping Transitions Learning Trajectory

    Thinking about, dealing with and shaping societal transitions requires vision, leadership and the ability to guide and direct change processes. It requires you to connect perspectives and build bridges, to have the courage to experiment and to be able to adjust quickly if things need to change. It requires certain skills in the area of cooperation and reflection, and you must dare to go 'against the flow' if necessary. Design-oriented process approaches (such as design thinking or reflective interactive design) stimulate these skills.

    This project focuses on the development of a Shaping Transitions Learning trajectory, in which these skills are central. This generic learning trajectory will consist of several modules (including learning objectives, activities and assessment) covering the main themes of shaping transitions.

    The ultimate goal of this project is to guide and support courses in the implementation of a learning trajectory on Shaping Transitions within a curriculum and, if desired, to integrate modules on Transitions in the existing curriculum of the course.

    Dr. D. (Debby) Gerritsen

    For questions about the Shaping Societal Transitions learning line, contact Debby

  • Toolbox for Transition Makers

    We live in a complex world in which many major social changes are underway. To be able to contribute to this, attitudes and skills are needed that we will summarise here as shaping societal transitions. The changing world calls for innovative education that teaches students to acquire these attitudes and skills. 

    Shaping transitions requires, in addition to knowledge about change processes, vision, leadership and skills to initiate and direct change processes. It requires, for example, that you collaborate and reflect, connect perspectives and build bridges (between people and ideas), dare to experiment, make adjustments when things have to be different and dare to go against the flow and have resilience. 

    The IIS is working on a dynamic toolbox in the field of learning to shape transitions. The toolbox is a place to:

    • get informed or inspired (knowledge about designing transitions);
    • find ready-to-go teaching materials that you can use in your courses (from learning objectives to test forms);
    • learn from and with each other (good practices and training courses);
    • find the route to a tailored approach and ask for help with educational development related to shaping transitions.

    This toolbox is being developed in co-creation with instructors, educational developers, students, external parties, and other stakeholders to ensure that the form and content meet the need and that the toolbox is embedded in educational practice.

    Dr P.K.I. (Ilja) Boor

    If you are interested, or if you have other questions or comments, please contact Ilja

  • New Honours module: The Next Great/Small Transformation

    Society is facing urgent and complex challenges, such as climate change, inequality, pandemics and digitisation. Because these issues are firmly rooted in existing societal structures and institutions, shaping societal transitions requires radical changes in the current way of thinking and acting. We must fundamentally change the way we deal with these pressing issues, but we don't know how. There is a high degree of uncertainty about the direction of the transitions and, moreover, there is often resistance to change. How to move forward?

    In the honours course The Next Great/Small Transformation, we critically and constructively introduce students to conceptual and operational tools for shaping transitions. Using these tools, interdisciplinary teams of students will identify a societal transition challenge and develop a strategy to address it. At the same time, students are encouraged to critically evaluate the tools and suggest improvements.

    The process central to this course consists of four iterative phases:

    • Imagine: Identifying a transition challenge and identifying a vision that can address it;
    • Connecting: Learning to understand the challenge at the system level;
    • Acting: devising and implementing a simple intervention to realize the vision;
    • Assessing: monitoring and evaluating the impact of the intervention (both of the intervention itself and the system-level impact).
    Drs. K. (Katusha) Sol

    For questions about the new Honours module The next great/small transformation, please contact Katusha

  • New Bachelor's programme: Computational Social Science

    In the past academic year, major steps have been taken in the development of the new interdisciplinary Bachelor's programme in Computational Social Science. For example, the Macro-Efficiency Test has been approved, education has been further thought-out and developed and TNO is almost ready to offer it to NVAO. Together with lecturers from the Faculty of Humanities,  the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, we have worked hard to be able to offer the Bachelor's programme from September 2022 onwards. The IIS has been actively involved in advisory, executive and facilitating roles.

    The programme follows the didactic concept HILL (High Impact Learning that Lasts). Starting in year one, students start working on semester-long projects consisting of workshops, lectures and tutorials. The projects concern digital innovations related to sustainability, health, mobility or equality, for example. Graduates of this programme specialise in the development of sustainable digital technologies and have an understanding of the social, political, cultural and technological dimensions of digital transformations.

    Drs. S.M. (Silke) van Beekum

    For questions about Computational Social Science, please contact Silke

  • New Bachelor's programme: Science and Design

    The Faculty of Science (FNWI) strives to develop an interdisciplinary degree programme, bringing together knowledge from both natural sciences and research as well as skills in modelling, design, experimentation, use of advanced technology and project-based work, to contribute to the societal transitions of the 21st century. Unlike existing UvA Bachelor's programmes, in the first year of this programme students will already work on tangible, innovative designs that can tackle complex technological challenges within four main themes:

    1) high-tech design materials,
    2) renewable energy and raw materials,
    3) design with living building blocks,
    4) digital modelling and simulation. 

    To ensure that students can immediately put into practice the academic knowledge they have gained, they will spend a significant portion of their learning hours in an interdisciplinary, technologically advanced workshop (Makerspace), where their own initiative and experimentation is encouraged through project-based teaching, using Design Thinking methods. A Makerspace provides students with the necessary equipment and facilities to design, build and test digital models, advanced design processes and tangible prototypes. 

    Upon completion of their Bachelor's degree in Science and Design, in addition to sound basic knowledge of the natural sciences, students will have developed practical and technical skills that will enable them to thrive in any technologically advanced field where science and design meet. In addition to a career as a scientist, this will prepare them for a career outside academia, in a job market where a developed intuition for practical application and valorisation will be an advantage.

    M.H. (Morten) Strømme MSc

    For questions about 'Science and Design', please contact Morten

  • New Bachelor's programme: Humanities in Context

    Societal changes such as globalisation, digitisation and climate change are deeply intertwined with our culture. The new interdisciplinary Bachelor's programme in Humanities in Context teaches students to conduct research on these changes and problems, in which the humanities have a crucial role. The programme consists of a propaedeutic year and (for now) three majors with the themes of Digital Transformation, Humanities for a Sustainable Future, and Global Cultures. The programme will be embedded in the Faculty of Humanities in education portfolio under the existing CROHO label Cultural Studies. The IIS contributes to the development of this programme through participation in a think tank and providing didactic training to the intended teaching teams. 

    Drs. L. (Linda) de Greef

    For questions about 'Humanities in Context', please contact Linda