New TOOLKIT: Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education

SML-Keele-PBL-toolkitA new toolkit, titled Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education, was published in October 2013, as part of a three-year project involving Keele University, the University of Manchester and Staffordshire University and funded by the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

The project, Hybrid problem-based learning: a scalable approach to sustainability education?, aimed to explore effective ways of adapting traditional problem-based learning (PBL) approaches for the delivery of transformative sustainability education to large student numbers. In this project the three partner universities developed different sustainability-focused modules for different academic levels and students were involved in the development of the pedagogical approaches.

One of the key outcomes of this project is the toolkit Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education – A toolkit for university educators, authored by Sophie Bessant (Keele), Professor Patrick Bailey (Keele), Dr Zoe Robinson (Keele), Bland Tomkinson (Manchester), Rosemary Tomkinson (Manchester), Professor Mark Ormerod (Keele) and Dr Rob Boast (Staffordshire). 

The toolkit, with a Foreword by Jonathon Porritt MBE, founder of Forum for the Future and Chancellor of Keele University, is aimed at educators with an interest in one of the following areas:

  • Traditional and hybrid problem-based learning (PBL)
  • Delivering less resource intensive PBL
  • The use of online learning technologies/social media in group-based teaching and learning
  • Education for sustainable development (ESD)
  • Managing student group working dynamics

The toolkit is structured as follows:

  • Why use Problem-Based Learning (PBL) for Sustainability Education?
  • Comparing Approaches to PBL
  • The Educational Benefits of PBL
  • Designing Hybrid PBL Teaching Modules for Sustainability Education
  • The Challenges of PBL
  • Enabling Effective Student Group Working in PBL Environments
  • The Role of Information Technology and Social Media in Hybrid PBL
  • Conclusions

It also provides a list of relevant information sources and useful pedagogical examples.

 

More….

Hybrid PBL for Sustainability Education project page

Download toolkit Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education – A toolkit for university educators

Related post: Delivering ESD and graduate attributes through Hybrid Problem-Based Learning

 

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Consultation workshop: QAA/HEA Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Guidance Document

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The Higher Education Academy (HEA) and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) will hold a consultation workshop in Birmingham on 5 November 2013 for the development of a new QAA & HEA Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Guidance Document.

Scheduled to be published in early 2014, this QAA/HEA ESD Guidance Document will assist staff in higher education with the implementation of ESD in courses and across the curriculum. Focusing on the development of this document, this workshop aims to gain direct feedback, ideas and suggestions from academics and students from across higher education.

The event is not solely for ESD experts and non-ESD practitioners’ contribution to the consultation is strongly encouraged.

Following the welcome and introduction by Anthony McClaran (Chief Executive, QAA), four presentations will set the scene for the afternoon’s consultation process:

  • The student demand for ESD: Dom Anderson (Vice-President Society and Citizenship, National Union of Students)
  • The role of ESD in the Higher Education sector: Simon Kemp (Academic Lead ESD, HEA)
  • Guide to Quality and ESD in Higher Education: Professor Daniella Tilbury (Director of Sustainability, University of Gloucestershire)
  • ESD guidance document consultation process: Professor James Longhurst (Assistant Vice-Chancellor Environment and Sustainability, University of the West of England & Chair of the QAA/HEA Working Group)

The day’s core session, Guidance document consultation working groups, will be led by members of the guidance document working group.

Feedback from groups and closing remarks will be given by Dr Laura Bellingham (Assistant Director Research Development and Partnerships, QAA) and Simon Kemp.

More….

Event webpage (including the online booking form)

ESD page on the HEA website

ESD page on the QAA website

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Keele Conference on Student Action for Sustainability

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An international conference on Student Action for Sustainability will take place at Keele University on 29 and 30 October 2013.

Bringing together staff and students from further and higher education, the conference will explore both the issues faced by staff who support student sustainability projects and the experiences of students who lead projects in their institutions.

According to the conference website, among the questions that it aims to explore are the following:

  • How do educators enable students to gain the skills needed to bring about transformative social change towards sustainability in their own colleges, universities and wider communities?
  • Beyond preparing students for employment, how can colleges and universities produce graduates who are genuinely ‘change agents’ and ready to ‘be the change they want to see in the world’?
  • What challenges do students face when undertaking sustainability projects within their institutions and local communities, and how can they best overcome these challenges, and optimise the opportunities?
  • What kind of culture needs to be created in colleges and universities so that collective ‘action for sustainability’ becomes the norm rather than the exception?

The event will feature three keynotes:

  • Sara Andersson (CEMUS Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences): Igniting a Learning Revolution: Student-Run Higher Education for Sustainable Development
  • Felix Spira: Maastricht University Green office and rootAbility
  • Helen Steineger and Alina Zalewski: The World Student Environmental Summit 2013: Universities Acting for Sustainability

Students, leading ESD practitioners in the UK, such as Simon Kemp (University of Southampton and Higher Education Academy), Dr Rehema White (University of St Andrews) and Dr Zoe Robinson (Keele University), and Jamie Agombar (Ethical and Environmental Manager, National Union of Students NUS) will deliver presentations in seven sessions:

  • Supporting Students (1 & 2)
  • Partnerships for sustainability
  • Theoretical Approaches
  • Curriculum and pedagogy
  • Student experiences (1 & 2)

For more information, please contact Giulia Mininni (Sustainability Project Officer) on activist2013@keele.ac.uk

Image adapted from the conference website

 

More…

Conference website

Green Keele

Keele Hub for Sustainability

NUS Greener

NUS Students’ Green Fund

CEMUS

Maastricht University Green office

rootAbility

The World Student Environmental Summit 2013: Universities Acting for Sustainability

 

The suite of Sustainable University websites: Sustainable University One-stop Shop | News and Information | Research | Good Practice | Quotes | Blog | Diary | Micro-blog (@sustainableuni1 on Twitter)

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HEA-NUS Report 2013: Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development

SML-HEA-reportOver 80% of students believe sustainable development should be actively promoted and incorporated by UK universities, according to a new report Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development, by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the National Union of Students (NUS) published by the HEA in late September 2013.

Authored by Rachel Drayson, Elizabeth Bone, Jamie Agombar and Simon Kemp, this report is based on research into student attitudes towards, and skills for, sustainable development (SD) conducted in 2012, continuing research from 2010 and 2011. This national online survey achieved representative samples of 4,099 first-year students and 2,657 third-year students. As in previous waves of the research, all students were in higher education and taking their first degree after less than a year away from formal education.

The report presents ten key findings, as extracted below:

The research reinforced the conclusions of the 2010 and 2011 reports through the following key findings:

  • Over eight in every ten students consistently believe that SD should be actively incorporated and promoted by universities, and this increases as respondents progress through their studies
  • Over two thirds consistently believe that SD should be covered by their university courses
  • Over 60% of students want to learn more about SD
  • 80% of third-year students see universities as key players in the delivery of skills for SD
  • A desire to learn more about SD increases as respondents progress through their studies
  • There is a continued preference among students for a reframing of curriculum content rather than additional content or courses
  • The majority of students continue to interpret SD as predominantly being about the environment, with less recognition of the social and economic aspects

This third year of the research uncovered the following new insights from students:

  • A desire for teaching to include extra-curricular activities within the range of learning opportunities for sustainable development
  • Third-year respondents state they are more likely to accept graduate positions with a lower starting salary than respondents answering in their first and second years
  • First-years in 2012 state they are more likely to accept reduced starting salaries for a job in a company with a positive performance on sustainability than previous years

Based on these findings, the report makes recommendations to:

  • Students and students’ unions
  • Academics
  • Higher education institutions
  • Government and policy makers
  • Employers and professional bodies

In summary, the authors recommend that, in response to the clear student demand, all higher education institutions should consider adopting ‘a holistic approach where students, senior management, academic staff, estates staff, employers and professional bodies work together on embedding SD throughout all curriculum, extra-curricular, operational, research, and enterprise activities.’

Image from the cover of the report available from the HEA website

More…

The press release on the HEA website

The Executive Summary of the report

The report in full

ESD page of the HEA

ESD page of the NUS website

 

The suite of Sustainable University websites: Sustainable University One-stop Shop | News and Information | Research | Good Practice | Quotes | Blog | Diary | Micro-blog (@sustainableuni1 on Twitter)

‘Sharing for a Sustainable World’ #SSW on http://twitter.com/sustainableuni1 & http://uk.linkedin.com/in/asithaj/