Journal of Geography in Higher Education - Volume 29 Number 1 2005

Educating Earth-literate Leaders

STEVE MARTIN, University College Worcester and Centre for Complexity and Change, Open University Faculty of Technology UK
ROLF JUCKER, Department of German, University of Wales Swansea UK

ABSTRACT The World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg made it clear that political leadership the world over is incapable of rising to the challenges of sustainability. Yet, most of the hundred or so world leaders who attended have a higher education degree from some of the world's most prestigious universities. This paper tries to address some of the key challenges this poses for universities. It looks at the changing professional landscape within the EU, parameters of a higher education (HE) that would produce Earth-literate leaders, at the concept of a sustainable university and ecological footprinting as a tool to measure this, and at the implications all this has for the HE and geography curriculum.

KEYWORDS Sustainable development education, higher education, leadership, sustainable universities, ecological footprint, curriculum

Greening the University Curriculum: Appraising an International Movement

MARTIN HAIGH, Department of Geography, Oxford Brookes University UK

ABSTRACT The declaration of the 'United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development' (ESD), Resolution 57/254, February 2003, provides the best yet occasion for higher education institutions (HEIs) to 'green' their curricula. The idea for the Decade emerges from a progression of high-level international conferences, beginning with Stockholm, 1972, that have seen ESD thinking move from general statements of intent to increasingly detailed specifications for action. There has also been a growth in awareness that the changes to the curriculum for sustainable development must suffuse all areas of education provision. They cannot be restricted to the environmental disciplines or 'ecoliteracy' modules or even to the classroom, but must be demonstrated by the whole of an HEI's approach to the world. Obstacles to implementation include: funding and perverse subsidies, departmental and disciplinary barriers, ivory-tower traditions in teaching that externalize and objectify the subjects studied and persistence of the obsolete mind-sets of the 'industrial age'. These barriers may mean that change in HEIs will have to be driven by external processes, such as the transformation of primary and secondary education where the fragmentation of knowledge is less entrenched. However, there now seems to be growing agreement that HEIs should equip all their students with 'environmental literacy' and that sustainability should be central to concerns both in HEI curricula and in operational practice.

KEYWORDS Green curriculum, education for sustainable development, ESD, educational reform, UN Resolution 57/254, United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

Environmental Education for Sustainable Development in Russia

N. S. KASIMOV, Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia

ABSTRACT The conceptual underpinning and the organizational structure of the existing system of higher environmental education in Russia are analysed. The system, embracing 129 universities, has been created in the last 10 years. At present there is a shift from general environmental education to education for sustainable development. The new system is based on the incorporation of natural, economic and social components into the curriculum. The paper also discusses the contribution of Russian scientists to the sustainable development concept (D.L. Armand's works of the 1960s) and Russia's participation in the development of the European Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

KEYWORDS Environmental education, education for sustainable development, ESD, environmental science, geoecology, nature management.

An Environmental Education Concept for Galtür, Austria

ANGELA MICHIKO HAMA, MICHAEL SEITZ, ANJA SANSONE & JOHANN STOTTER, Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck Austria and alpS-Centre for Natural Hazard Management Innsbruck Austria

ABSTRACT The Alps have always been of global interest and significance due to their natural and cultural diversity and are presently the number one tourist destination worldwide. Therefore, raising awareness of issues of global change and sustainability is most relevant in this region. Due to its integrative nature, geography can contribute substantially to disseminating knowledge about the Alps. This paper reports on the development of an environmental education concept for the community of Galtür. The concept is based on a thorough analysis of the Alpine environment, the recording of educational interest in the Alps, and the development of implementation strategies for environmental education programmes. The main goal of the concept is to contribute to a sustainable future for the Alps. The paper highlights the role of geographical research and education in promoting public awareness and understanding of sustainability issues.

KEYWORDS Alps, Galtür, environmental education, sustainability, global change.

Sustainability, Systems Thinking and Professional Practice

STEPHEN MARTIN, University College Worcester * Centre for Complexity & Change, Faculty of Technology, Open University UK
ANNIE HALL, Environment and Sustainability, CITB Construction Skills, Kings Lynn UK

ABSTRACT This article explores the impact of the new sustainability agenda on the occupational and professional needs of those who have taken educational and training programmes in the environmental field at either undergraduate or postgraduate level or through relevant professional institutions' continuing professional development programmes. It also describes a one-day workshop for the professions on sustainable development, based on systems thinking and practice. The workshop provides a model for developing greater understanding and effective action in professional practice, by using dialogue and inter-professional learning to explore approaches to sustainability in a variety of business and professional contexts. It introduces the principles underpinning the concept of sustainability and provides tools to support the integration of sustainable development into professional practice and organizational change.

KEYWORDS Sustainability, the professions, organizational learning.

Testing Times: Traditional Examination and Asynchronous Learning

RICHARD HARRIS, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol UK

ABSTRACT Because assessment reflects course pedagogy, aims, objectives but also broader institutional and cultural expectations, traditional examination still has a role in the new media of asynchronous, distance learning. This paper recounts experiences of incorporating such examination within an Internet-delivered, GIScience programme, outlining some logistical and learning limitations of doing so. A pedagogical dualism for or against traditional examination is argued to be narrow and unnecessarily restrictive; focus is instead given to modifying traditional assessment to meet learning needs. A hybrid of seen and unseen examination is discussed. Feedback from students suggests the approach is welcome but unequal access to learning resources is a problem.

KEYWORDS Asynchronous learning, distance learning, examination, GIScience.

Content, Community, and Collaboration at ESRI Virtual Campus: A GIS Company's Perspective on Creating an Online Learning Resource

ANN B. JOHNSON, ESRI Higher Education Solutions Manager Redlands CA USA
JUDY M. BOYD, ESRI Educational Products Manager Redlands CA USA

ABSTRACT GIS requires training to use it to its potential. In 1996, ESRI began exploring ways to expand its successful educational programmes to a worldwide audience via the Web. The ESRI Virtual Campus (VC) opened in July 1997. The paper discusses a few of the many lessons learned during the operation of VC, related to content, community and collaboration, and considers future prospects. The VC continues to evolve in the areas of component-based design, database publishing, community and collaborations. As new technologies become available and bandwidth increases, features that could not be imagined at its conception can now be developed.

KEYWORDS GIS, GIScience, virtual campus, distance learning.

Web-casting of Geographic Information Science Graduate Courses

HARLAN J. ONSRUD, Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering University of Maine USA

ABSTRACT This case study from the University of Maine relates challenges, experiences and opportunities in broadcasting existing geographic information science graduate courses across the web using video streaming of class sessions in combination with web hosting of assignments, lecture outlines and reading materials. Technical, financial, logistical and legal issues are discussed. Because these distance courses are simultaneous with those taught on campus, the major advantages of the approach are that the distance offerings are always up to date and require minimal additional effort by professors. The convenience for distance students is in receiving transmissions and materials on their desktops at any time.

KEYWORDS GIS, GIScience, video streaming, webcasting.

Scaling Up: Faculty Workload, Class Size, and Student Satisfaction in a Distance Learning Course on Geographic Information Science

DAVID DIBIASE and HENRY J. RADEMACHER, Department of Geography The Pennsylvania State University USA

ABSTRACT This article explores issues of scalability and sustainability in distance learning. The authors kept detailed records of time they spent teaching a course in geographic information science via the World Wide Web over a six-month period, during which class sizes averaged 49 students. The authors also surveyed students' satisfaction with the distance learning course through ratings and open-ended questions. Findings are compared with similar data collected a year earlier, when class sizes associated with the same distance learning course averaged 18 students. In response to the increase in average class size by a factor of 2.7, the authors' course-related workloads increased by a factor of about 2.5 (from 47.5 hours to 116.7 hours total). Analyses of student feedback suggest that student satisfaction with the course was high overall and suffered no significant decline as a result of increased instructional efficiency.

KEYWORDS Faculty workload, class size, scalability, distance learning, e-education, GIS, geographic information science.

The Geography Discipline Network would also like to thank Taylor & Francis Ltd for permission to reproduce abstracts from the Journal of Geography in Higher Education

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