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Greening the global classroom: Experiences using MOOCs to advance sustainability education

Richter, Jessika Luth LU and Leire, Charlotte LU (2015) Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption
Abstract
The proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been a phenomenon in higher education but only recently the subject of academic literature. MOOCs combine the traditional ideas of cohort and guided learning with open access and a truly global classroom. With over twenty thousand learners attracted to such courses, we argue that they can be a powerful tool in advancing sustainability education in terms of global reach. Like traditional education, the quality of the education delivered by MOOCs is influenced by their design and this is also integral to their success in promoting deeper learning of sustainability topics.

However, designing a quality course and ensuring genuine learning experiences in this open and massive... (More)
The proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been a phenomenon in higher education but only recently the subject of academic literature. MOOCs combine the traditional ideas of cohort and guided learning with open access and a truly global classroom. With over twenty thousand learners attracted to such courses, we argue that they can be a powerful tool in advancing sustainability education in terms of global reach. Like traditional education, the quality of the education delivered by MOOCs is influenced by their design and this is also integral to their success in promoting deeper learning of sustainability topics.

However, designing a quality course and ensuring genuine learning experiences in this open and massive context is not without challenges. We describe our practical experience with curriculum design, production and delivery of a MOOC with a wide sustainability focus of "Greening the Economy: Lessons from Scandinavia". The background of students taking the MOOC, motivations and reasons for seeking this type of sustainability education and perceived benefits from this MOOC and other MOOCs with topics related to sustainability are discussed. Combining pedagogical approaches in the form of teacher-led lectures and quizzes for basic understanding with more constructivist forum discussions and peer assessment created the opportunity for the MOOC to not only disseminate knowledge about sustainability issues, but also encourage discussion, peer interaction, and deeper engagement with these issues. An interesting aspect of this reciprocal learning was the collected insights from learners in the form of case studies and survey responses. The promise, as well as potential issues, of MOOCs in contributing to the goals of sustainability education and lifelong learning are discussed and reflected upon. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
sustainability education, massive open online courses, online education, lifelong learning
conference name
Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7c5fc154-54fd-4fd6-a263-ca239e24f189 (old id 8312657)
date added to LUP
2015-12-16 08:14:42
date last changed
2016-07-11 08:36:06
@misc{7c5fc154-54fd-4fd6-a263-ca239e24f189,
  abstract     = {The proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been a phenomenon in higher education but only recently the subject of academic literature. MOOCs combine the traditional ideas of cohort and guided learning with open access and a truly global classroom. With over twenty thousand learners attracted to such courses, we argue that they can be a powerful tool in advancing sustainability education in terms of global reach. Like traditional education, the quality of the education delivered by MOOCs is influenced by their design and this is also integral to their success in promoting deeper learning of sustainability topics.<br/><br>
However, designing a quality course and ensuring genuine learning experiences in this open and massive context is not without challenges. We describe our practical experience with curriculum design, production and delivery of a MOOC with a wide sustainability focus of "Greening the Economy: Lessons from Scandinavia". The background of students taking the MOOC, motivations and reasons for seeking this type of sustainability education and perceived benefits from this MOOC and other MOOCs with topics related to sustainability are discussed. Combining pedagogical approaches in the form of teacher-led lectures and quizzes for basic understanding with more constructivist forum discussions and peer assessment created the opportunity for the MOOC to not only disseminate knowledge about sustainability issues, but also encourage discussion, peer interaction, and deeper engagement with these issues. An interesting aspect of this reciprocal learning was the collected insights from learners in the form of case studies and survey responses. The promise, as well as potential issues, of MOOCs in contributing to the goals of sustainability education and lifelong learning are discussed and reflected upon.},
  author       = {Richter, Jessika Luth and Leire, Charlotte},
  keyword      = {sustainability education,massive open online courses,online education,lifelong learning},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Greening the global classroom: Experiences using MOOCs to advance sustainability education},
  year         = {2015},
}