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Leuphana “Digital School“ launches in 91 countries

Students from all over the world design models for life in the city – credit points against degree earned – architect Daniel Libeskind leads pilot course

Leuphana University’s Digital School has entered into the age of collaborative online learning. Less than one week after the start of registration, participants from 91 countries have signed up for its first course “ThinkTank Cities“.

The topic is the future of life in cities, and the course is taught by the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, who holds a professorship at Leuphana University. Registration is open until January 21, and the program commences on January 23, 2013, finishing three months later in April. There are no preconditions and no tuition fee. A special feature is the awarding of credits. Depending on their home university, these credits may be applied towards the participating students‘ degree program.

The opportunity to address the topic of urbanization in a globally accessible online course is an important step for the proliferation of new ideas and developing concrete frameworks for shaping the megatrend city. Representatives from leading Universities are supporting Leuphana’s project, including Columbia University’s Saskia Sassen from New York. Sassen is internationally considered to be one of the leading experts on the sociology of the city. In addition to Leuphana University’s professors, distinguished academics from all over the world will participate in the teaching team, joining the course from London School of Economics, Goldsmiths University of London, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ETH and University of Zürich, Collegium Helveticum, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou and Hong Kong’s City University. Also included as teachers and lecturers for the course will be leading experts from politics, media and economics.
The Digital School at the Leuphana University Lüneburg wants to set benchmarks for social learning. “It is the ideal way to democratize academic education“, says Holm Keller, Executive Vice President of Leuphana and responsible for the project. For Keller, the linking of social media such as YouTube or Facebook with traditional correspondence courses leads to a new form of university education. “Online courses modularize the contents of teaching and make them available for anyone, any place and any time – without fixed timetables, money or admission requirements,“ according to Keller. The aim is globally standardized education platforms, which are flexible and can be adapted to the needs of the students while ideally, offering recognized academic degrees. Leuphana Digital School can be found at

Participants in the Leuphana online course “ThinkTank Cities“ will be working in teams of five. They will solve theoretical and practical assignments and observe accompany the work of the other groups through commentary and evaluation. At the conclusion of the course they will visualize their ideas of the city of the future.
The education platform used by Leuphana for its Digital School is called Candena Scholar and was developed by Candena, a Digital Media startup of the EU Lüneburg Innovation Incubator, which specializes in conceptual design of educational platforms, making them available for global online courses. Partnered with Leuphana University on this project is Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest organization for applied research in Europe. The course is supported by the campus management systems designer Datenlotsen, Tipp24 SE and the business and career network Xing.

Daniel Libeskind is an international architect and designer. He has designed world-renowned projects including: the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Denver Art Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Military History Museum in Dresden, and the masterplan for Ground Zero among others. Starting in summer 2007, he assumed a vocational professorship at Leuphana University. Through his seminars at the Leuphana University, he designed the new central building in co-operation with students. Construction on the building commenced last year.

The Leuphana University sees itself as a public university for the civil society of the 21st century. Its unique study model, the first of its kind in Germany, has received numerous awards. There are more than 8000 young people studying at Leuphana.

Henning Zuehlsdorff | idw
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