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Nachhaltigkeitszertifikat // Sustainability CertificateKritische Nachhaltigkeit / Critical Sustainability

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Critical Sustainability / Kritische Nachhaltigkeit

Join the next course in the upcoming winter semester.

6 ECTS course offered for free // 16 meetings via videoconference

Mondays + Wednesdays // 17 Oct > 07 Dec 2022 // 14.00 > 16.00 CET


Critical Sustainability in a Nutshell – The course "Critical Sustainability" provides a digital space to learn, reflect, discuss and take action together. The participants will jointly analyze existing power relations as well as society-nature relations and democratize them. The course is the compulsory module of the Sustainability Certificate for Students issued by TU Berlin.


Educational Concept – Content and Methods – The participants will broaden their understanding of sustainability through various interactive, artistic and group-dynamic formats. For this they engage in individual work as well as group work to jointly reflect and analyze the reciprocal relations between technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy. This will be the basis for their contribution to a socio-ecological transformation of society through individual and collective action.


Hard Facts – Winter Semester 2022 – Mondays + Wednesdays – 14.00 > 16.00 CET
17 Oct > 07 Dec 2022 – 16 meetings – This condensed format allows an intensive and focused work within the course. The link for the videoconference will be published here one day before the start. You can subscribe to an email reminder at the bottom of the page.


Enrollment – Free and open for everyone and from everywhere – Students of all study programs from all universities are cordially invited. Non-Students are also warmly welcomed.


Assessment – 6 ECTS – Individual and Collective Action – The assessment of the course comprises a wide range of individual activities through which you explore and change your situation in the world. Together with others you intervene into society on a topic of your interest.


Deutsch – der Kurs Kritische Nachhaltigkeit – Der Kurs wird auf Grund von Corona aktuell online angeboten. Hierdurch können auch Menschen von außerhalb Berlins ohne weiteres teilnehmen, so dass der Kurs auf englisch angeboten wird. Sobald es die Pandemielage zulässt, wird auch wieder ein Kurs auf Deutsch und in Präsenz angeboten.


CritS Team – the people conducting the Critical Sustainability course – a diverse team with a broad background and a dedication to democratize society as well as to offer an education that calls people to intervene into society


Email Reminder and Contact Form – Sign up so that you will get an email with all necessary information, the link to the video conference etc. one day before the course starts.



Link to Video Conference and Forum

Hard Facts – Language, Dates, Place

Which language is used? – English

The course will be conducted in English. Most participants will not be native speakers, so don’t worry - enjoy the ride of and improve your English as well. If you prefer that the course would be held in German, please let us know.


When? – 16 Meetings – Mondays and Wednesdays  – 14.00 > 16.00 CET – 17 Oct > 07 Dec 2022

The course starts on Monday, 17 Oct 2022 14.00 and consists of 16 meetings for 2 hours/120 minutes each. It finishes on Wednesday, 07 December 2022.


Where? – Video Conference and Learning Platform/Forum

The course will take place through a video conference based on Zoom. Therefore, please make sure that you are willing and able to participate with video/audio as the course is highly interactive and you must be ready to exchange with your fellow participants. The link to the video conference and the forum will be provided here one day before the course starts. You can also sign up for an email reminder below -  so that you receive all necessary information per email one day ahead.



Educational Concept – Content and Methods

What is the Critical Sustainability course about? – power relations – society-nature relations – Critical Theory – merging arts and science – intervention research – democratization – social-ecological transformation

The participants expand their understanding of sustainability, especially with regard to social aspects such as power relations as well as society-nature relations and political ecology. The theoretical foundation for this is Critical Theory and theories of radical democracy. The pedagogical foundation of the course lies in the realm of critical pedagogy and pedagogies of democracy. During the course, the participants work on societal challenges from different interdisciplinary and artistic perspectives and engage in corresponding practices. They conduct an intervention research project through which they contribute to a democratization of society and its social-ecological transformation.


What learning outcomes are reached? – analyzing and democratizing the reciprocal relations of technology – nature – individuals – Society – democracy (TINS_D)

The participants analyze and evaluate in a democratic process the present reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS_D). Based on this analysis and evaluation, they learn to democratize these reciprocal relations.

The participants acquire the competence to unveil the complex interdependency of their social, political, ecological and economic surroundings. This includes the consideration of different values, interests and needs within a global perspective as well as within one class(room). The course design encourages democratic decision-making not only to solve but also to define problems within the course itself and moreover outside of the classroom. In addition, the participants deal with artistic positions and practice artistic actions, for example by doing performances, and integrate these practices in their intervention research project.


How is it taught? – high engagement and interaction between the participants

The course promotes exchange and joint actions in digital as well as real life. This is why all participants are actively involved in the course again and again. Unlike many digital courses, this course lives from interactivity - dare to show yourself and contribute to the conduction of the entire course through individual, small and large group work as well as group-dynamic activities - only few lectures will be given. In order to achieve this high degree of interactivity, participants need to be able and willing to participate in the video conference of the course with audio and video. In addition,  all meetings are intensely prepared and followed up with exercises by the participants through which they will intervene in their everyday-life. The single meetings build strongly up on each other so that the reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS_D) are continuously unveiled over the entire course.



Enrollment – free and open to all students and non-students

Who can attend? – all those who are there : ) 

No matter if you are still studying or already working or doing something completely different, no matter if you are in Berlin or elsewhere - every person is invited to participate. Thanks to video conferencing we can offer the course almost without limits and borders - so please let your friends from everywhere know. In this course they come together to share and question their different knowledges, expertises and perspectives. Together they will explore societal problems across any borders between humans and mutually work on them.


How do I sign up? – just show up in the first lesson
The course is offered by Technische Universität Berlin and it is free of costs. To participate in the course you must attend the first meeting. After the second meeting registration is closed and no newcomers will be accepted. The link for the video conference and the learning platform will be provided on this website one day before the course starts.


I am a student at TU Berlin. What is there to know? – elective course – maybe compulsory elective

The Critical Sustainability Course is credited as a 6 ECTS elective course at TU Berlin. You register with the examination office with a special form which we will provide once the course has started. In some cases, students were successful in getting the course credited as a compulsory elective (Wahlpflichtfach) in their respective study program. You have to discuss this with your examination board (Prüfungsausschuss / Prüfungsobfrau/-mann).


I am a student at another university. What is there to know? – registration within the course

Welcome! We are happy that you want to partake in the course at TU Berlin. The course is offered free of costs to students enrolled at other universities. You will have to register within the course and upon successful completion of the course we will issue a certificate of performance. There are many reports that other universities will credit the course within your own study program. For this, you must clarify the details with your university.


I am not a student. What is there to know? – Welcome! Whether you are in school, work, unemployed or retirement.

Welcome! We are happy to accept people that are not enrolled in a university – whatever their current official status is. There are no special requirements or knowledge needed to attend the course. Please, contact us beforehand for details. You will receive a certificate of attendance from TU Berlin after successful participation in the course.



Assessment – Attendance, Registration, Examination

How is it assessed? – 6 ECTS points – portfolio assessment

The course is credited with 6 ECTS points. The portfolio assessment totals 100 points: 75 points in total for the written activities in the meetings, written preparation and/or written follow-up activities (5 points per meeting), 25 points for intervention research conducted in a small group.


What about attendance? – up to two missed meetings

The course is based on the interaction of the participants and the mutual learning from each other. Therefore, only two meetings can be missed. Please write an email beforehand.


How can I integrate the course in my own study program? – performance record

A performance record (Leistungsnachweis) will be issued upon successful examination at the end of the course. This certificate can be used to credit the course in your own study program - for instance as an elective or with some justification/paperwork/luck as a compulsory elective. In this case you must clarify the details with your university.



CritS Team – the people conducting the Critical Sustainability course

Who is offering the course? – sustainability certificate for students – TU Berlin

The Critical Sustainability course is the compulsory module of the sustainability certificate for students issued by TU Berlin.

Dr.-Ing. André Baier – philosopher and demoracy educator


André (he/him) has a Master Degree in Philosophy of TU Berlin as well as of Université Rennes 1. His dissertation is on Education for Sustainable Development within the Engineering Sciences. He currently holds a postdoc position at TU Berlin where he coordinates the Sustainability Certificate for Students and is vice chairman of the Sustainability Council at TU Berlin. He co-founded the study reform project Blue Engineering - Engineers with Social and Ecological Responsibility.

  • favorite technical tool – mechanical pencil – it actually is my brain
  • individual daily habit – folding my blanket neatly every morning
  • natural habitat – the hilltops of the Rhön
  • fear in society – withdrawing to myself instead of joining in with others
  • first democratic experience – as a kindergarten child going into the voting cabin with my father

Lucía Alvarez – crossing borders easily


Lucía (she/her) is an educator, an administrator and a philosophy and architecture enthusiast. She also studies sustainable management at TU Berlin and is now one of the tutors of the CritS course. She believes digitalisation is key for contemporary education but thinks that interventions should be rooted in reality.

  • favorite technical tool – pliers
  • individual daily habit – having a nap on the couch with my cat friend Charlie
  • natural habitat – downtown São Paulo
  • fear in society – people (myself included) forgetting that they have a voice that should be used
  • first democratic experience – mobilizing my colleagues in 5th grade to write a letter of complaint about our History classes being too teacher centered


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