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Digital Learning for Sustainability: An Interactive Magazine for Students, Academics and Expert Practitioners

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Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)

Abstract

The complexity which underpins the evolving concept of learning for sustainability requires effective inter-disciplinary collaboration and networking to succeed. Developing a shared understanding and route maps for sustainability would not be feasible without the rapid advances in information technology, global access to information and the evolution of self-organised socio-technical networks. The University of Worcester in the UK has developed a learning elective programme (cross-faculty) for sustainability, which aims to build skills to enhance employability using innovative teaching and learning techniques. A new dimension to this innovative pedagogy is the development of an online magazine and virtual learning environment called susthingsout to promote and facilitate learning for sustainability in the wider undergraduate curriculum, including activities on campus and in the wider community. This paper outlines how this new platform has been co-created by students, academics and expert practitioners and how it supports the application of theoretical knowledge and learning to consolidate and enhance students’ employment prospects. The main findings are that the model can be effective but it has to draw on a range of skills beyond disciplines, the institution and the classroom, a major challenge to established academic practice. Students developed a much wider understanding of sustainability, saw the issues come to life and felt that the experts who contributed was one of the strongest element. The requirement to work in teams for a live project was the most daunting but ultimately rewarding experience. Major issues to be addressed include steep learning curves (for all), cross-functional planning, managing issues beyond sustainability, marketing programme for external followers, providing safe spaces for students to make mistakes and better linkages to assessments and inputs.

Keywords

Education for sustainable development (ESD) Employability Innovative pedagogy Digital learning Trans-disciplinarity 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Science and the Environment, Worcester Business School, Institute for Humanities and Creative Arts, Sustainability DepartmentUniversity of WorcesterHenwick GroveUK

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