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Blue Engineering Summer University 2017

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This is the official information portal for the Blue Engineering Summer University in 2017 at TU Berlin.

The course will be four weeks long from July 24th till August 17th 2017. It is rewarded with 5 ECTS points and consists of 18 teaching hours per week. Further information on the Summer University Programme of TU Berlin.



+49 030 314 - 75667

Room W 303 - Straße des 17. Berlin 144 - 10623 Berlin

Course Describtion and Key Facts.


The effects of technology on individuals, society and nature and what people can do to create a responsible technology that addresses the needs of everyone while considering possible risks and harms caused by technology.

Target Group

Engineering students and students of the humanities with an interest in the workings of technology on individuals, society and nature.

Learning Objectives

  1. The prospective engineers analyze and evaluate the present reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature and society by taking different perspectives. Based on this analysis and evaluation, they are able to state their personal perspective and values of the reciprocal relations and act accordingly.
  2. The prospective engineers cooperate with others to analyze and evaluate in a democratic process the present reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature and society. Based on their analysis and evaluation, they are able to work out a collective understanding with regard to their collective values and democratise the reciprocal relations.

Course Components

The course will consist of a few regular lectures and mostly of building blocks which will be conducted by the lectures and the student’s themselves and one excursion per week (e.g. waste/drinking water treatment, recycling, lignite pit and lignite power plant, industrial food production). In addition, the students will create, conduct and finally document their own building block for further use.

Building blocks, i.e., self-contained study-elements, are at the core of the Blue Engineering course. They provide clear didactical instructions to facilitate a 90 minutes course as well as compact, yet multiple perspectives on a complex topic, e.g., ethical codes, recycling, pre-implementation diagnostics, social businesses and cooperatives. Some of these study elements help to thoroughly analyse single technologies, e.g., energy saving light bulbs, in respect to the ecological, social, economical, political and gender related impacts of these technologies. In other study elements, engineering students learn to shift away from the general paradigm of engineers as problem solvers. They are encouraged to become problem definers in all areas of engineering, including their own proper working conditions. Along with the wide variety of topics, every single building block uses a specific set of wide-spread teaching formats such as case studies, story-telling and station learning. Most building-blocks, however, rely on a specific adaption and new combination of known methods, e.g. learning cascades, advocatus diaboli, triangular method, evaluation sculpture, crime scene investgations and court trials, educational games and challenges. On top, several building blocks make use of newly created methods or are build according to specific forms of pedagogy.

Short Description

Sustainability in the curriculum of engineering students is either ignored or solely focuses on technological solutions. As the UN Rio+20 debate and its focus on Green Economy shows, there is a strong demand for technological innovations as a remedy for ecological destruction and as pathway to poverty eradication. Consequently, the predominant belief in technological progress is held up through technicians as well as a society wishing for easy technological solutions for complex ecological and social problems.

Taking this into account, this course promotes socially and ecologically responsible engineering through a variety of alternative teaching methods. Engineering students 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. This method is applied in order to adequately respond to the specific needs of users and to cooperatively develop technologies which are socially useful, locally adapted, durable, repairable and recyclable.


The general prerequisites of the TU Berlin Summer University are: at least one year of university experience + English level B2 or equivalent.

An interest in the reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy.

Further Information and Registration

The Blue Engineering Summer University is part of the Summer University of TU Berlin. Further information and registration are made through their website: http://www.tu-berlin.de/menue/summer_university/summer_university_block_3/blue_engineering_engineers_with_social_and_ecological_responsibility/

Preliminary Course Schedule

Plenary Sessions will be held on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Individual Work Sessions and Group Work Sessions will be held on Wednesdays. Fridays are reserved for cultural events offered by the Summer University Team of TU Berlin.

24. July 2017 - Day 1 - Introduction

Responsibility - Blue Engineering as a Student-Driven Project - Oval of Commonalities - Conversion - Cat Video - Course Requirements

Download the Slides of Day 1.

25. July 2017 - Day 2 - Technology as Problem Solver and TINS-D

Technology as Problem Solver - TINS-D Constellation - Blue Engineering Course at TU Berlin - Course Requirements - Sustainability in Engineering and Agricultural Technology

Download the Slides of Day 2.

27. July 2017 - Day 3 - Water Treatment Plant and Topic/Group for Term Project

Water Treatment in Berlin - Excursion - 25 Questions by Max Frisch - Topic and Group for Term Project - The Necessity of a Treaty

Water Treatment Excursion

Meeting Point U-Bahnstation Ruhleben - it is the End-Station of U-Bahn-Line U2 - we will meet right on the platform. Please schedule your travel so, that you will arrive latest with the U-Bahn that arrives at 09.19 am.

From the platform we will walk together to the Water Treatment Plant Ruhleben, which is one of the central waster water treatment plants in Berlin. There is some further information online in German including a video and some sparse information in English.

This is the exact location of the water treatment plant.

31. July 2017 - Nature, Pesticides, Technology and Energy Transition

What is Nature? - History of Technology: Pesticides - Brave Green World - Green Economy - Energy Transition in Germany

01. August 2017 - Day 5 - Lignite Mine and Power Plant

Excursion to a Lignite Mine and Lignite Power Plant

Meeting at 06.30 am at "Halle" opposite of TU Berlin Hauptgebäude. From there we will take small busses directly to the open cast mine Welzow Süd where we will have a tour at 9 am. This is the biggest open cast lignite mine close to Berlin. And from there we will go to the lignite powered plant Schwarze Pumpe. Further information on the mining process and and on the power generation can be found at the company's website.

03. August 2017 - Day 6 - EUREF-Campus and City Tour

Excursion to EUREF Campus - Start Up Scene in Berlin - Gasometer - History of Berlin - Gentrification of Berlin

07. August 2017 - Day 7 - Science and Politics

Science and Politics - Science outside the Lab Programme

08. August 2017 - Day 8 - Recycling Plant and Gender, Diversity&Technology

Excursion to the central Recycling Plant of Berlin - Gender, Divestiy and Technology - Hierarchies

10. August 2017 - Day 9 - Water Supply and Labour Union

Excursion to Water Supply Plant in Berlin - Excursion to German Labour Union - Work/Life-Balance

14. August 2017 - Day 10 - Responsibility and Ethical Codes

Responsibility and Ethical Codes - To Fly or Not to Fly - Rural/Urban Relations

15. August 2017 - Day 11 - Project Presentations - Engineering Design Principles

Project Presentations - Engineering Design Principles

17. August 2017 - Day 12 - Project Presentations and farewell

Project Presentations and farewell

Open Points

The World is Fine!? - Grouping Groups - Power Relations

Creation and Documentation of New Building Blocks

Cloud to Share Documents

The password will be sent out in an email.