The International Class

The International Class provides the opportunity to apply and combine the knowledge and competencies, gained so far during the course of studies, in a real life situation. It is organised in close co-operation with partner organisations abroad. While the preparation class is organised at the university, the practical exercise takes place abroad, preferably in a rural community development situation. The module follows the typical phases of the project based learning approach.

The first two steps take place in the preparation seminar during the winter term:

1. Defining the project:

The framework and scope of the project is outlined by the partner organisation in co-operation with the University of Flensburg. The project has then to be defined more in detail and narrowed down by the students during the preparation class.

2. Preparing the project:

During the preparation class the students have to obtain first information about the project site and the research topic. They develop a research plan, select appropriate methodologies and work out research instruments.

The project exercise itself is carried out abroad:

3. Accomplishment:

The students travel to the project site abroad. After a first introduction by the partner organisations the students split into smaller groups (if the students group comprises more than 12 students), which are accompanied by a lecturer. They improve and finalise their planning and the research instruments and thereafter collect information at their research sites, applying different social and technical research methods.

This phase usually takes two weeks. Within another two weeks the students have to analyse the information, draw conclusions, elaborate suggestions and write up a report.

4. Presentation and Evaluation:

Within a public meeting the report is presented and handed over to the communities and the partner organisation.

For the past 10 years the International class has been carried out in Scotland in co-operation with the Community Energy Scotland (former Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise).

Topics of the past eight International Classes were:

Affordable heating from wind and hydro recourses in Durness (2017)

The assessment of renewable energy projects for community benefit in West Harris (2016)

Community energy options under grid constrains – the case of Achiltibuie (2015)

Towards a Greener Applecross (2014)

Assessment and Future Scenarios of Knoydart?s Electricity System (2013)

Assessment of renewable energy technologies for the sustainable development of the isle of Jura (2012)

An Evaluation of the Clean Sleat Project (2011)

The Transport Sector in Rousay and Eday: Energy, Cost and Emissions compared to Kirkwall (2010)

Community development projects for the supply of heat and electricity from renewables in the Isles of Barra and Vatersay (2009)

Present Situation & Sustainable Energy Scenario of Lochboisdale up to 2014 (2009)

The Ecological Footprint of the Sleat Peninsula (2008)

Options for Development of Community Wind Energy Projects in the North Isles of Shetland (2007)

Potential of Renewable Energy in the North Harris Trust area (2005)

Other local partner organisations in Scotland included: