Social Science Faculty: Working with sustainability learning progression

After a presentation of our project to the social science faculty’s study directors and program coordinators at Umeå University, several departments have shown a keen interest in our project package. The department of geography and the department of informatics have both asked to take part in our project package. The package includes a 3 minute introductory video for students to view and a short assessment tool for the students to take, hopefully during a teacher-guided lecture or workshop. A support platform is also provided on this website, to help lecturers find advice on how to approach lesson plans and instructions.

The department of geography have created two new programs and one PhD research program that emphasise learning for sustainability within their discipline. The master programs are about spatial planning & sustainability, and tourism & sustainable development. The department want to use our package of assessment tool and instruction support to help develop progression of sustainability within their new programs.

Teaching and learning about spatial planning at a local or global level through the sustainability perspective will help towards creating more sustainable societies, tackling the complex problems of how we function together in a whole system. Systems, strategic and future thinking competency for sustainability is therefore a key teaching factor for this program. The ability to balance different interests within societies also requires the students to build values thinking, inter-personal and intra-personal competencies for sustainability. Helping a spatial planning student to understand the changes and trends in different spatial areas of the world through a sustainability perspective will, together with other competencies, help develop the student’s comptency to act for sustainability.

Our assessment tool will be able to help map the students’ learning for these key sustainability competencies acrosss courses and programs. Results will provide support for the teachers to use in order to adpat their plans of student activities for each class. Once the tool has been applied in several classes across several semesters, the teachers will be able to integrate what they learn into the curricular for program progression. Ultimately, by using different learning approaches to teaching for sustainability, the teachers will help provide an advanced learning expereince for the students.

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