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Free climate course designed for students, by students

See climate change through the eyes of a young person in free online course.

A new online course exploring how climate change affects different aspects of our lives has been developed by students at the University of Reading.

The free to access course – Planet Partners: Tackling the Climate Crisis Together – has been designed for 16 to 18-year-olds, but is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the impact of climate change, and what actions they can take to help address this vital issue.

The flexible programme consists of four hours of study which can be spread over two weeks.

The course, which is hosted by leading social learning platform, has been designed by two University of Reading students: Meteorology and Climate student Nick Mitchell, and German Studies student Emily Woodall, working closely with academics from the University’s Meteorology, Agriculture, Geography & Environmental Science, Philosophy and Construction Management & Engineering departments, the University’s Sustainability team, as well as experts from the Walker Institute, a leading climate change research hub based at Reading.

Emily said: “I found the development of the course really interesting and exciting. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I was interested to see how the issue of climate change could be examined from different areas of our lives.

“I don’t come from a science background, but I have a strong interest in sustainable living and how we as individuals can help to make a difference. That’s why I wanted to get involved.

“What I really love about this course is that it is accessible to everyone, even if you don’t have a science background, like me. When speaking to the academics, if there was ever anything that I didn’t understand, I asked them to explain it further, not only for my understanding, but for the audience’s.”

Planet Partners: Tackling the Climate Crisis Together follows Emily and Nick as they interview University of Reading researchers to find out how climate change impacts our health, the food we eat, biodiversity and the natural world, and the towns and cities we live in.

The course is being launched to coincide with the University’s Climate Education Summit, a free virtual conference aimed at promoting better climate education within schools and colleges.

Many of the course topics have been drawn from concerns highlighted in the Mock COP declaration, and the course features an interview from one of the organisers, climate justice activist and environmentalist Kevin Mtai from Earth Uprising.

The course aims to empower learners with the knowledge and confidence to talk about the impact of climate change, how they can live more sustainably, and what action they can take to enable positive change.

Emily said: “I have spent some time teaching English as a foreign language in Germany, so I like to be in front of people, so I thought this experience would help develop my presenting skills, but I really feel like I have learnt so much more.

“My favourite part of the project was interviewing the academics and hearing their first-hand accounts of climate change research. We spoke to people who had been to Antarctica and Africa, and I found it absolutely fascinating.

“Personally, this has been such a great learning experience, and I can’t wait to see the course go live and see others enjoying it as much as I do.”

Anastasia Rattigan, the Online Courses Team lead for the project at the University of Reading, said:

“We felt it was really important that students were the driving force behind this project. Climate change affects everyone and, in particular, the next generations.

“We hope that by tackling the subject from their perspective, young people will feel even more engaged and inspired to take matters into their own hands.”

Planet Partners: Tackling the Climate Crisis Together is open for enrolments now and will go live on Monday 13 September. Sign up at .

Participants can learn in their own time, at their own pace, on any device with an internet connection. The course takes approximately two weeks to complete, requiring around two hours of study per week. Learners can access the course with the option to purchase a ‘FutureLearn upgrade’ which gives ongoing access to the content and a FutureLearn certificate once they complete 90% of the content.


Current University of Reading students can obtain the benefits of the FutureLearn upgrade for free as part of FutureLearn Campus. Students must use their University of Reading email address when registering.


Notes to Editors

Emily Woodall is available for interview until Friday 17 September. Please contact Gemma Kahl ( for more information.



About the Walker Institute at the University of Reading

As the capacity building arm of The Walker Institute, the Walker Academy delivers a variety of courses to students, practitioners, and policy makers both throughout the UK and internationally. Our courses aim to develop ‘climate to policy and impact’ literacy through a systems thinking approach. Our strengths lie in our drive to train trainers to embed capacity into existing institutional structures for lasting impact, our connections throughout the globe, and our first-hand experience in designing and delivering climate change adaptation programmes. All the courses we design and deliver draw on these strengths, and we have delivered multiple bespoke courses to learners all around the world.


About the Online Courses team at the University of Reading

Our award-winning courses have reached more than 1.3 million people from over 190 countries since October 2013. Sharing our expertise in online learning design and insight gained from producing more than 30 public facing courses, the Online Courses team works collaboratively with academic experts and students throughout the University, as well as prestigious external partners such as the British Council, EIT Food and the Royal Meteorological Society. Designed to reach new audiences, our courses provide a window into the wealth of subjects on offer at Reading, whilst retaining the high quality expected of a world-class university.


About FutureLearn

At FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform learning for a better future. As the UK’s number one social learning platform and marketplace, we deliver life changing learning through online, on-demand, and social courses across a wide range of subjects from education to healthcare, climate action and public policy.


Since being founded in 2012 by The Open University, FutureLearn has hosted over 3,000 online courses, attracting over 15 million learners from every country in the world, and more than 250 partners including leading global brands, government departments, and over a quarter of the world’s top universities.


FutureLearn’s community-based social learning approach brings together educators and learners from around the world to harness the power of connection, while our celebrated digital platform ensures learners have a seamless experience and get the most from their learning in order to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals throughout their lives.

Currently, The Open University and The SEEK Group are joint investors in FutureLearn.

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