Sustainability Certificate

Critical Sustainability - All Online Course

Analyzing the reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS_D) and democratizing them through individual and collective interventions

6 ECTS Course // highly interactive and international // free for everyone

Tuesdays + Thursdays // 16 meetings via videoconference

Winter Semester 2023 // 05 Sep > 02 Nov 2023 // 14.00 > 16.00 CET

Registration link for the learning platform/forum

Link for the video conference - Zoom Meeting ID: 989 2023 6961 - Passcode: 20202020


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 2023/24
Tuesdays + Thursdays
14.00 > 16.00 CET
05 Sep > 02 Nov 2023 - 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. No class on 03 and 05 Oct 2023.

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

Assessment - 6 ECTS
The assessment of the course comprises a wide range of individual activities through which the participants explore and change their own situation in the world. Together with others theyintervene into society on a topic of your interest.

Deutsch - Kritische Nachhaltigkeit
Der Kurs wird aktuell online angeboten. Hierdurch können auch Menschen von außerhalb Berlins ohne weiteres teilnehmen, so dass der Kurs auf Englisch angeboten wird. Als Alternative kann der Kurs Nachhaltigkeit demokratisieren belegt werden.

CritS Team the people conducting the course
We are 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.


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.

When? - 16 Meetings - Tuesdays and Thursdays  - 14.00 > 16.00 CET - 05 Sep > 26 Oct 2023

The course starts on Tuesday, 05 Sep 2023 at 14.00 CET and consists of 16 meetings of 2 hours/120 minutes each. It ends on Thursday, 02 Nov 2023. There is no class on 03 and 05 Oct 2023.

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 - Registration form for an email reminder



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.

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 through which the participants will intervene in their everyday-life. The single meetings build up strongly on each other so that the reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS_D) are continuously unveiled over the entire course.

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

The participants analyze and evaluate the present reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS_D) in a democratic process. 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.


Enrollment - free and open for everyone

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 we come together to share and question different knowledges, expertises and perspectives. Together we 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.

Can I get an email reminder with all the information and links? - Yes

Just, sign up for the email reminder through the form at bottom of this page.

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.


Kritische Nachhaltigkeit - Kurs auf Deutsch

Worum geht's im Kurs Kritische Nachhaltigkeit? - Analysieren und demokratisieren der bestehenden Verhältnisse

Die integrierte Lehrveranstaltung ist eine gemeinsamer Kurs aller Studierenden des Zertifikatsprogramms. Hier kommen sie zusammen, um gemeinsam ihr Fachwissen und ihre Fachkompetenzen, die sie in ihrem Studiengang und in den Wahlpflichtbereichen des Zertifikatsprogramms erworben haben, miteinander zu teilen, zu hinterfragen und zu vernetzen. Das 6 LP Modul greift unterschiedliche Aspekte der Nachhaltigkeit auf und setzt sie in Bezug zu den Studiengängen und Fachgebieten der TU Berlin. Hierdurch vermittelt sie die theoretischen Grundlagen des Begriffs Nachhaltigkeit sowie die Wechselverhältnisse von Technik, Natur, Individuum, Gesellschaft und Demokratie. Durch die interaktive Gestaltung hinterfragen die Teilnehmenden das vermittelte Wissen und diskutieren dieses. Zudem haben sie Gelegenheit weitere Kompetenzen einer Bildung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung zu erwerben und anzuwenden. Hierfür bringen die Teilnehmenden eigene Themen-/Problemstellungen in den Kurs ein und gestalten ihn eigenverantwortlich mit. Gleichzeitig werden die Studierenden ermutigt, dauerhaft in die Gesellschaft hinein zu wirken.

Warum wird der Kurs auf Englisch angeboten? - Er ist aktuell digital und somit kann die ganze Welt teilnehmen

In den ersten fünf Semestern wurde der Kurs Kritische Nachhaltigkeit auf deutsch angeboten. Ab dem Wintersemester 2020/21 wurde er erstmals probeweise auf Englisch unter dem Titel Critical Sustainability angeboten. In den folgenden Semestern wurde er ebenfalls auf Englisch angeboten und ermöglicht daher eine breite internationale Teilnahme. Auch mit nur mittelmäßigen englisch Kenntnissen, kann der Kurs ohne weiteres belegt werden. Neben den Inhalten und Methoden des Kurses hat man so auch noch die Chance, Englisch zu üben.

Wird der Kurs auch auf Deutsch angeboten? - Ja

Wir sind bestrebt jeweils einen Kurs auf Deutsch und auf Englisch anzubieten - sowie online, hybrid und/oder on campus.


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.

Lucía Álvarez - crossing borders easily

Lucía (she/her) is an experienced educator with a strong background in language teaching, teacher's training, and digitalization of educational processes. She holds a degree in German Studies from the Federal University of Paraná and a master's degree in Education from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the Technische Universität Berlin, Lucía's research focuses on education for sustainability in engineering careers.

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

Adriana López Ramos - making it all at once and differently

Adriana (she/her) holds a degree in English from the University of London. Originally from Barcelona, she is currently finishing her degree in Fine Arts at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Her specialisation is in documentary photography and filmmaking, and her dissertation is centered on climate communication. 

favorite technical tool - a utility knife (for bookbinding)

individual daily habit - biking along the riverbank

natural habitat - the shore of the Mediterranean

fear in society - inertia and the feeling that nothing can change

first democratic experience - joining my classmates and standing up to an authoritarian teacher