Abstract

abstract:

Higher education institutions are increasingly interested in infusing sustainability content into their curricula. This can be accomplished through general education programs, which the University of Vermont recently established. The implementation of this new requirement created a unique opportunity to investigate sustainability- related teaching and learning. The purpose of this study was to explore how instructors structured and taught sustainability learning outcomes and students' perceptions of learning within an assortment of general education courses. The variety of data collection methods (online survey, interviews, focus groups, observation, and document review) enabled the identification and triangulation of strong themes. Findings describe three course design approaches instructors used to incorporate sustainability. Instructors taught sustainability through class discussions, papers, readings, projects, guest speakers, and case studies. Students reported the following teaching practices as particularly helpful: experiencing real-world applications, discussing sustainability issues in class, exploring different perspectives, experiencing agency, and learning from peers and guest speakers. The following are recommended areas for skill development: (1) training instructors to align learning outcomes with assessment strategies to ensure that appropriate evidence is gathered, (2) encouraging instructors to reflect upon which teaching practices effectively supported student learning and consider improvements, and (3) using a variety of teaching practices and assessment strategies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2060
Print ISSN
0021-3667
Pages
pp. 216-240
Launched on MUSE
2018-03-03
Open Access
No
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