Teaching sustainability: Running a MOOC on “Sustainability in everyday life”
Conference poster, 2017
Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs, have been developed at many universities all over the world recently, or they are currently in development. MOOC participants can be of all ages, and of all educational backgrounds. Furthermore, they have an interest to learn more about a topic outside of a formal university curriculum, and are willing to learn online independently, from any corner of the world. The number of participants can be massive, up to 100 000 students.
The MOOC “Sustainability in everyday life” (SiEL MOOC) was developed at Chalmers University of Technology, and has now been run twice on the EdX platform. During the MOOC's design and development, five topics related to sustainable development and that are frequently addressed in the media, were identified and used as the main themes addressed in the course. These topics were chemicals, climate, energy, food and globalization. The SiEL MOOC targets the “informed citizen”, which in the EU is defined by the 15-year old student passing the final national tests in compulsory school. The learning outcomes aim at developing the participants' capacity to appreciate the complexity of sustainability in everyday life by developing skills such as systems thinking and critical reflection on the information flow in the media.
The aims of this paper are: 1) to share experiences in designing and developing the course material (videos, exercises, exam, etc.), and running the SiEL MOOC; 2) to analyse and contrast the two instances of the SiEL MOOC (the first during the summer of 2015, and the second during the fall of 2016); 3) to describe the evolution of the SiEL MOOC with regards to pedagogical design, the developed course material and the examination; and 4) to discuss further improvement of the SiEL MOOC and MOOC design and development in general.
An action research approach is used to gather data and information, and focuses on the experiences of the teachers. These data and information are collected via reflective diaries and used in conjunction with data obtained from the basic course statistics, from interactions on the course forum, and from pre- and post-course surveys. As a conceptual framework, the ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) model for instructional design is used in order to structure the analysis of the course design and development, and the running of the SiEL MOOC and its evaluation. The results of this analysis are then used to provide the lessons learned, and to discuss further improvement of the SiEL MOOC and MOOC design and development within the field of sustainability science in general.