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Students will examine the local effects of covid-19


Two old men crossing a streetWhat will the social consequences be in a time of crisis and fear among the population? This could be one of the focuses the students can choose.

This year’s case study course in sustainable development has a new focus. The students will study what the local and regional effects are of the authorities’ strategies for reducing the spread of covid-19, with a special eye on sustainability issues in this regard.

- The course is highly relevant and up-to-date. We see a great opportunity for students to contribute with information and critical analysis, and to draw important conclusions in a situation, where society needs multiple perspectives on the development, says Andreas S. Hansen, researcher in Human Geography and course coordinator.

Changed conditions gave a new idea

Each spring the University of Gothenburg offers a case study based course in sustainable development. The course is anchored at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences in collaboration with the Unit for Human Geography at the Department of Economy and Society at the School of Business, Economics and Law, and the Department of Earth Sciences and Gothenburg Research Institute. During the course, the students are to investigate possibilities and challenges on a local level when working towards a sustainable future society.

The course is usually group based, but with the transition to distance learning due to the Corona crises, the course leaders were forced to rethink. They then came up with the idea to shift focus entirely. Instead of the already planned topic, the students will now examine the accumulating effects of the authorities' strategies to reduce the spread of covid-19 on society.

- It can be about ecological, economic and social factors. Already now, there are big changes, says Louise C. Andresen, researcher at Earth Sciences and one of the teachers on the course. She continues: this is a 'real-time' problem-based project, and it will be very interesting to see what they come up with.

Distance learning

In addition to choosing the subject and focus themselves, the students also decide what methods to employ. Everything, however, must be done from home, because the university has switched to distance learning. Students will therefore work individually with the assignment.

About the course

Sustainable development: A case study approach (15 hec)

The course starts March 26 and runs during the spring. The result is a report from each student, which will be presented during the examination on 5 June.

Some examples of subjects that the students choose from:

  • Over (under?) tourism (i.e. not many people traveling any more)
  • The elderly and homeless people (social responsibility as a challenge)
  • The health care system (under unseen heavy pressure)
  • The role of the media (friends or enemies? Role and ethic responsibility)
  • Transports and logistics (getting goods from A to B with closed borders)
  • Economic breakdown (small businesses and larger industries struggling)
  • The fear factor (people are nervous and irrational, how to work with panic)
  • Air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions (the effect of less cars, planes and active industries)

More information

Find more information about the course on The University of Gothenburg’s Learning Platform Canvas.


Andreas Skriver Hansen

Louise C. Andresen