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World Trends in Education for Sustainable Development

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Edited By Walter Leal Filho

It is widely acknowledged that sustainable development is a long-term goal, which both individuals and institutions (and countries!) need to pursue. This important theme is characterized by an intrinsic complexity, since it encompasses ecological or environmental considerations on the one hand, and economic matters, social influences and political frameworks on the other. This makes provisions in respect of education for sustainable development a particularly challenging task, but one which is feasible and achievable, provided the right elements are put into place. This book is an attempt to foster the cause of education for sustainable development, by documenting and disseminating experiences from different parts of the world, where learning for, about and through the principles of sustainability is taking place, in various sets and contexts, in both industrialized and developing nations. A special feature of this book is that it not only presents a wide range of philosophies, approaches, methods and analyses with respect to education for sustainable development across the world, but also documents and disseminates concrete case studies, which show how education for sustainable development may be realized in practice.

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Understanding Communities of Practice in Online Education for Sustainability

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Kristin McIlhenney, Meg Holden Abstract Purpose: This paper evaluates the experience of designing and offering a new, fully-online, graduate-level course in the multidisciplinary field of Sustainability Assessment for Cities. Additionally, research was conducted to investigate stu- dents’ comfort, confidence and competency in online learning and subsequent impact on the development of a sense of professional community. Design/Methods/Approach: The authors conducted an overview of recent re- search trends regarding the concept of sense of community, social ability, in- structor presence and technology acceptance in the online learning environment. The study utilized a mixed-method design using both quantitative (scale-based questionnaires) and qualitative (interviews, participant observation and field notes) data collection methods. Findings: The potential for progress toward improved sustainability education in higher education exists in an online environment and could be enhanced by using social networking tools and Web 2.0. Research Limitations: Our small sample size made it impossible to statistically verify the validity and reliability of the two quantitative tools employed, Class- room Community Scale (CCS) and the Online Learning Experience Study Ques- tionnaire (QLESQ). Originality/Value: By serving as a model for further testing and development, this work supports institutions in higher education and a range of organizations in their attempt to approach innovative sustainability practices and connect those practices with learning opportunities through online learning. Acknowledgements: This research has been supported with a grant from BC Campus.ca. The authors are indebted to the advice of the Course Development Committee of Paula Beltgens, Alex Michalos, Clare Mochrie, Tannis Morgan and Donald...

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