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The UvA Create a Course Challenge

Do you have a great idea for a new course? Join the UvA Create a Course Challenge! We challenge you to submit an idea for a course and to develop it together with the curriculum experts of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS). Who knows – next year, you may get to work as a student assistant in your own course!

Think along with us about the education at the UvA

The IIS challenges all UvA students to help think about how teaching should be organised, what courses should be taught, the kinds of methods that should be used and the roles students and lecturers should play. The UvA Create a Course Challenge is calling for students to explore uncharted terrain and to think about ways to make education fun, challenging and meaningful. The winning course will be launched in September the following year.

With this challenge, the IIS wants to give students a say in the way education is organised at the institute and within the university. This is your chance to make your vision on education a reality.

 

Students without borders

Crossing boundaries is what this challenge is all about: not just between students and lecturers and between faculties and disciplines, but also between academia and society.

  • How does it work?

    The UvA Create a Course Challenge consists of four rounds. In the final round, the winner is chosen by a jury. The IIS and the winner will work together to develop the course. The Challenge is open to all UvA students, Bachelor’s and Master’s alike.

    Round 1: Submit your idea

    Deadline: 10 October 2022 9 AM (CET)
    Submit the first draft of an idea for your course by filling in the form below. Or take a picture of your beer coaster if you've written it down and email it to iis@uva.nl. Be creative in both content and form!

    Round 2: Develop your idea

    Deadline: 31 October 2022 9 AM (CET)

    As soon as we receive your idea through one of the channels above, we’ll send you a form you can use to further develop your idea. Which teaching methods will be used in your course? What will the students learn? Which lecturers will be involved? What study material will the students use, and how will they be assessed?

    Round 3: Nominate your favourite idea

    Between 7 and 16 November 2022
    All UvA students and staff may vote once on their favourite course idea between 7 November 9 AM and 16 November 9 AM (Central European Time). The five ideas with the most votes will continue in the challenge and will go to round 4. 

    Round 4: Pitch your idea to a jury

    Thursday 24 November 2022 5 - 7 PM (CET)
    During the grand finale, the jury decides which idea will be rewarded with the realisation of the course. 

  • Conditions

    When developing your idea, keep in mind the following requirements and guidelines.

    Requirements

    • The course must be suited for second and third-year UvA Bachelor’s students
    • The course must be designed for a minimum of 20 participants
    • Number of credits: 6 ECTS
    • The course may be either in English or Dutch
    • The course must be interdisciplinary in nature.
       

    Your course will be assessed on the following criteria:

    • Interdisciplinarity
    • Societal relevance: the course contributes to the knowledge and skills that are necessary to make a contribution to the complex challenges our society is faced with.
    • Originality: the course is innovative.
    • Innovative teaching methods: think outside the box of lectures and tutorials.
    • Lecturers: think about which lecturers you want to be involved in your course. Keep in mind that the course should be interdisciplinary in nature, which means the lecturers must have different academic backgrounds.
    • Assessment format: learning objectives and the way these can be assessed.
  • Spring 2021 Special Edition: Sustainability

    In the spring of 2021, the IIS organised a special edition of the UvA Create a Course Challenge, focusing on sustainability. Read more about the special edition of the Challenge here.

  • The finalists of 2021

    Conflict, Peace and Me

    By Henry Kurze, Bachelor’s student in Politics, Psychology, Law & Economics

    “They are wrong, I am right, and they have to change or else!” In major conflicts, it seems normal to antagonise our opponents, highlight their wrongs and stand up for what we believe in with a “we-versus-them” mentality. Although perhaps justified, our anger, disgust or even hate poison us and threaten a peaceful solution. This course will teach you to become aware of our human motives, feelings, and beliefs that set us up for hostility based on underlying psychological and social mechanisms. Then, you will encounter and discuss a variety of approaches, philosophical and practical, to reclaim your cool and levelheadedness. You will learn how to analyse and deescalate a conflict situation, and, most importantly, reflect on how you get there in the first place. In summary, you will learn to be part of the resolution, not the conflict.

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    Corporate Autocracies & the Internet

    By Barbora Bromová, Bachelor’s student in Politics, Psychology, Law & Economics

    We spend a lot of our time online - working, shopping, playing, catching up on the news, forming our political identities, talking to our friends and foes. We feel restless when the connection is down – be it due to a global outage or a cable we misplaced. Yet how much do we actually know about the Internet? Do we understand how it works, and who makes the rules in this elusive semi-public space?  

    This course aims to enhance students’ understanding of the online spaces they occupy, complete with their politics, incentive structures, and social implications. Throughout, the proposed course will tap into technical, legal, psychological, and economic perspectives on the digital revolution, and discuss the important yet inconspicuous ways through which technological corporations structure our experiences of the Internet on the individual as well as broader social scale. 

    Decolonising our Future: Creating Solutions to Protect and Sustain the World 

    By Sara Baheta, Clara, Laura & Chris, Research Master’s students in International Development

    POV: You are scrolling on your phone, and you come across a post of an unexpected climate disaster in another city. You lay there hopeless wondering how you, an individual, can even begin to help or support an issue that seems so big and so far away. From global pandemics to wealth inequalities to climate change, our generation is struggling to understand where and how to start solving these issues. Although this course does not offer a direct answer to these questions, it equips you with the skills necessary to begin taking the initiative. Decolonisation, as a concept, questions dominant ‘Western’ bias in our understanding of the world and challenges us to destroy current hierarchies. In this course, you will be provided with an interdisciplinary introduction to the topic of decolonisation through 5 different themes: race and migration, global economics, sustainability and climate change, gender and sexuality, and digital culture and technology. Because what if you actually can solve these issues and all you need is a different foundation of learning, one that transcends western values and allows you to create the life you imagined when you were a child?

    Managing your Finances

    By Andra Huidu, pre-Master’s student in Communication Science

    “Managing your Finances” consists of a complete guide in managing one's money from the first day of starting university. It is a practical, hands-on course with a self-study rhythm on a weekly basis. The course combines Finance, Fintech, Economics, Sustainability, Ethics and History and applies these to modern times. The course teaches you how to manage your money, including short-term financial goals wanted, building a budget, establishing an emergency fund, building a credit score while avoiding debt, saving for a long-term strategy towards retirement, investing ways and property purchases, as well as looking at pension schemes and insurance. All these aspects are tackled, while understanding how the financial world works, through the Bloomberg Market Concepts course, as well as other very interesting resources that could be further used in one’s career. There are short assessments on a weekly basis and interactive sessions with university and external lecturers on a biweekly basis. 

    “Everything is some kind of plot, man”: A Critical Perspective on Conspiracy Theories

    By Leonie von Platen, Bachelor’s student in Politics, Psychology, Law & Economics

    While conspiracy theories seem to be virtually omnipresent in the age of social media, history is witness to the potential breadth and impact of classic examples such as the moon landing hoax, water-gate, 9/11. For as long as they’ve existed, conspiracy theories have been laughed off by mainstream media; yet their story-telling power and psychological underpinnings are not to be underestimated. This course seeks to investigate the complex nature of conspiracies by asking: Who believes in conspiracy theories? How is a certain narrative maintained across people and contexts? What role does fear play? The aim is to approach the phenomenon with respect and without making normative judgements while feeding a curiosity for uncovering the inner mechanisms and functions of conspiracy theories. Will you fall down the rabbit hole?