In 2014, the University of Nottingham offered its first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called ‘Sustainability, Society and You’. With an agenda to support learning about, for and through sustainability, it developed an interactive course combining different disciplinary perspectives on sustainability with a range of practical tools to encourage behaviour change.
The course has successfully run twice. It has stimulated debates across continents and has also influenced its internal teaching enhancement by providing an exemplar of effective online learning.
The course is built around a triplelayered understanding of sustainability as: content (topic focused); pedagogy (formative assessment, interaction, action-learning); process(multipleoutcomes modelling, repurposing of open source content).
The University is not only teaching content, but teaching how to make use of content, developing critical thinkers and positive change agents. Both course team and learners have felt empowered to take the small steps that can significantly contribute towards sustainability.
1 Online learning can be used to develop sustainability literacy by opening up conversations between people from different contexts and cultures
2 Interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability ensure that everyone can see the relevance of sustainability to them
3 MOOCs are a useful driver for internal teaching enhancement in universities.
An exciting and imaginative course based on effective pedagogy for developing sustainaiblity literacy. The judges were attracted to the wide availability of the course in fifty countries to over 16s.
“The global imperative to reduce carbon emissions and to improve the sustainability of
our activities is compelling. Developing sustainability literacy in individuals and communities is key. In recognising the value of online learning for sustainability, this recognition sends a powerful signal to higher education.”
Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor