Green Gown Awards 2016 Learning and Skills University of Edinburgh Finalist

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Our changing world – Addressing global challenges through academic research

‘Our Changing World’ an annual high-profile public lecture series which addresses global challenges facing society, and explores the role of science and academia in meeting them. Running since 2010, the lectures are delivered by eminent academics on topics ranging from population, environment and resources, climate change, global health, climate justice and human rights.

So far over 15,000 people have attended, including members of the public, University staff, students and alumni, and colleagues from other HE institutions. Each lecture is available free on YouTube and iTunes U, so far attracting over 600,000 downloads and ~64,000 YouTube views. 

First-year undergraduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to enrol on the ‘Our Changing World’ course, where they attend the lectures, and participate in related teaching activities including group discussions, research and project work. Students thus engage with global challenges, while developing their researching and critical thinking skills, in their first semester at University.

Top 3 learnings

1. Impact of having inclusive event series: The lectures are free to attend and open to all. As a result each event attracts such a wider range of people from both within the University and the general public. Our Changing World helps the University of Edinburgh build connections with our local community, and bring staff, students and members of the public together.

2. Wider impact of resources: The videos and podcasts produced help us reach those who cannot attend the event in person. They have also been of great value to learning and teaching, as the recordings are used in tutorials/lectures around the University. They have also led to other exciting opportunities, such a Summer School programme.

3. Benefits of collaboration: The ‘Our Changing World’ course is open to students from all disciplines.