Blended Learning and Sustainable Development

Delighted to announce the publication of a new book chapter on “Blended Learning and Sustainable Development.”

The concept of blended learning has its origins in the 1960’s when new options for technology-mediated education became available to complement conventional approaches to face-to-face teaching in higher education and other contexts. In HE institutions, blended learning has now become so widespread that many regard it as the “new normal” in describing HE approaches to teaching and learning. However, the ubiquity of the blended learning concept in HE is problematic for establishing a common understanding of the concept, which is essential for identifying how it contributes to sustainable development. Blended learning may be defined as the design of learning experiences that draw on a combination of face-face, distance, or online delivery methods, learning technologies, delivery multimedia, and pedagogical methodologies to achieve a mix of learning outcomes in educational or training contexts. Blended learning designs can support sustainable development, including the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability and protect global environmental resources to meet the needs of the present and future generations. This chapter first examines the various conceptualizations of blended learning in HE teaching and learning systems, and then proceeds to examine contemporary understanding of how HE blended learning provision contributes or might contribute to sustainable development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Citation: Caird S., Roy R. (2019) Blended Learning and Sustainable Development. In: Leal Filho W. (eds) Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education. Springer, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63951-2_197-1

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Sustainable Higher Education Systems

Delighted to announce the publication of a new book chapter on “Sustainable Higher Education Systems”

Higher Education (HE) systems comprise institutions whose function is to support, develop and deliver teaching and learning at post-secondary or tertiary level. Many HE institutions also address research and/or provide enterprise services in partnership with other organisations in the private, public and third sectors. HE systems have therefore a key role in the development of citizens, society and the economy, including the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to support sustainable development. A sustainable Higher education (HE) system may be defined in terms of the network of local, national and international HE institutions and their systems that sustain the core functions of HE, including the delivery of teaching and learning, research, and outreach, by addressing social, economic, and environmental targets and constraints influencing the HE institutional context. A sustainable HE system not only sustains the functions of HE institutions but supports the aims of sustainable development by advancing citizens’ knowledge and skills to meet the needs of society and the economy and by promoting stewardship of the natural and built environment. This article examines the concept of sustainable HE systems and three key approaches to promote environmental sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations in 2015. These approaches include: greening the curriculum to encompass Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); greening campus buildings and site operations; and designing HE teaching and learning delivery systems, such as distance and online education systems, to minimise negative environmental impacts and carbon dioxide emissions.

Citation: Caird S., Roy R. (2019) Sustainable Higher Education Systems. In: Leal Filho W. (eds) Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education. Springer, Cham. First Online: 25 October 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63951-2.

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Design, Development and Impact of Sustainability Website Resources

More than ten years ago, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) funded the design, development and launch of Soil-Net, an innovative, open, online soil education website resource to support school curricula. Soil science has been under-represented in teaching National Curriculum in UK schools, despite recognition of soil as a major global natural resource and longstanding policy recognition of the importance of soil for understanding environmental systems and stewardship.
The design and development of Soil-Net was led by Cranfield University with the Norwich University of the Arts (now Norwich University of the Arts) and included the Open University, schools and other partners. Following more than a decade of online availability, Stephen Hallett (Cranfield University) and Sally Caird (The Open University) analysed website data on the adoption, use and impact of Soil-Net 2006-2016, to provide an initial evaluation of the website resources.
Soil-Net is now being used in 223 countries and territories worldwide and has been used by over a million and a half users across the world. The analysis provided evidence of student learning supported by Soil-Net resources, and the user ratings and qualitative feedback from primary and secondary school students, teachers and parents showed satisfaction ratings were broadly good.
We would like to do more work to develop the website resources using the latest innovative pedagogies and ICTs to ensure the applicability and sustainability of the resources. Research is also needed to further evaluate how Soil-Net is used in schools, and its contribution to soil science teaching and learning.
For more information – Hallett, S. and Caird, S. (2018). Soil-Net – Development and impact of innovative, open, online soil science educational resources. Soil Science (In Press). doi (10.1097/SS.0000000000000208).

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SusTEACH Outstanding Paper 2016: Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence

SusTEACH paper selected as the Outstanding Paper in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

Caird, S. Lane, A. Swithenby, E. Roy, R. and Potter, S. (2015) ‘Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts’. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp96-111 Available http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2013-0065

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SusTEACH publications list

Here is the full list of publications that have been recently published or are in press, based on the SusTEACH project thinking, research findings, toolkit development and applications.

Caird, S. Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2013). ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses. Chapter 21 In: Caeiro, S.; Leal F.W.; Jabbour, C. J. C. and Azeiteiro, U. M. eds. Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities Around the World. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-02375-5_21) pp375-385.

Caird, S. Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2014). Greening Higher Education qualification programmes with online learning. In: Leal Filho, W.; Azeiteiro, U. and Caeiro, S. eds. E-learning and sustainability. Umweltbildung, Umweltkommunikation und Nachhaltigkeit – Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability. New York: Peter Lang Scientific Publishers.

Lane, A. Caird, S. and Weller, M. (2014). The potential social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs: operational and historical comparisons with a massive ‘closed online’ course. Open Praxis, 6(2) pp. 115–123.

Caird, S. (2014) ‘Plug the university finance gap by turning teaching greener’ The Conversation, November.

Caird, S. Lane, A. Swithenby, E. Roy, R. and Potter, S. (2015) Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts’. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp96-111 Available http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/38870.

Caird, S. and Lane, A. (2015). Conceptualising the role of Information and Communication Technologies in the design of higher education teaching models used in the UK. British Journal of Educational Technology Vol.46, Issue 1, January, pp 58–70. DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12123

Several papers have been presented by Professor Andy Lane to conferences in April 2014

Lane, A. Caird. S. and Weller, M. (2014) Comparing the social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs with a massive closed online course to Open Educational Resources OER14: building communities of open practice Newcastle, 28-29 April 2014

Lane, A. Caird. S. and Weller, M. (2014) The potential social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs: historical comparisons with a massive ‘closed’ online course Open Education for a Multicultural World (OCW) Consortium Global Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia 23 – 25 April 2014.

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Update on publications

Good news – new publication in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Caird, S. Lane, A. Swithenby, E. Roy, R. and Potter, S. (2015) ‘Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts’. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp96-111 Available http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2013-0065
http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/38870.

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The Conversation – Plug the university finance gap by turning teaching greener

As students take to the streets calling for free higher education, a spotlight is being shone again on the sustainability of England’s higher education system. While much of the debate centres around financial sustainability if universities did more to become environmentally sustainable they could also reduce costs.

Building on the findings from the SusTEACH project and analysis of the student loans system Sally Caird has published an article in ‘The Conversation’ that contributes to the debate about the financial sustainability of England’s Higher Education System, following the recent well-publicised report by the Higher Education Committee.

‘Plug the university finance gap by turning teaching greener’

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Further updates on publications

We are working on a number of publications that have been recently published or are in press, based on the SusTEACH project thinking, research findings, toolkit development and applications.
Caird, S. Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2013). ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses. Chapter 21 In: Caeiro, S.; Leal F.W.; Jabbour, C. J. C. and Azeiteiro, U. M. eds. Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities Around the World. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-02375-5_21) pp375-385. linkhttp://www.springer.com/energy/energy+efficiency/book/978-3-319-02374-8.

Caird, S. and Lane, A. (in press). Conceptualising the role of Information and Communication Technologies in the design of higher education teaching models used in the UK. British Journal of Educational Technology (In press). DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12123

Caird, S. Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2014). Greening Higher Education qualification programmes with online learning. In: Leal Filho, W.; Azeiteiro, U. and Caeiro, S. eds. E-learning and sustainability. Umweltbildung, Umweltkommunikation und Nachhaltigkeit – Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability. New York: Peter Lang Scientific Publishers, (In press). http://oro.open.ac.uk/39498/

Lane, A. Caird, S. and Weller, M. (2014). The potential social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs: operational and historical comparisons with a massive ‘closed online’ course. Open Praxis, 6(2) pp. 115–123.

Caird, S. Lane, A. Swithenby, E. Roy, R. and Potter, S. (2015) Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Volume 16, Issue 2 (in press). http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/38870

Several papers have been presented to conferences in April 2014

Lane, A. Caird. S. and Weller, M. (2014) Comparing the social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs with a massive closed online course to Open Educational Resources OER14: building communities of open practice (http://www.oer14.org/). Newcastle, 28-29 April 2014

Lane, A. Caird. S. and Weller, M. (2014) The potential social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs: historical comparisons with a massive ‘closed’ online course Open Education for a Multicultural World (OCW) Consortium Global Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia 23 – 25 April 2014.

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Update on publications

We are working on a number of publications that have been recently published or are in press, based on the SusTEACH project thinking, research findings, toolkit development and applications.
Caird, S. Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2013). ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses. Chapter 21 In: Caeiro, S.; Leal F.W.; Jabbour, C. J. C. and Azeiteiro, U. M. eds. Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities Around the World. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-02375-5_21) pp375-385. linkhttp://www.springer.com/energy/energy+efficiency/book/978-3-319-02374-8.

Caird, S. and Lane, A. (in press). Conceptualising the role of Information and Communication Technologies in the design of higher education teaching models used in the UK. British Journal of Educational Technology (In press). DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12123

Caird, S. Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2014). Greening Higher Education qualification programmes with online learning. In: Leal Filho, W.; Azeiteiro, U. and Caeiro, S. eds. E-learning and sustainability. Umweltbildung, Umweltkommunikation und Nachhaltigkeit – Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability. New York: Peter Lang Scientific Publishers, (In press). http://oro.open.ac.uk/39498/

Caird, S. Lane, A. Swithenby, E. Roy, R. and Potter, S. (2015) Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Volume 16, Issue 2 (in press). http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/38870

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Further news on research publications

We are delighted to announce several forthcoming research publications based on the SusTEACH project.

We are publishing a book chapter in the edited book ‘Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education’ this November 2013.
Caird, S.; Lane, A. and Swithenby, E. (2013). ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses. In: Caeiro, S.; Leal Filho, W.; Jabbour, C. J. C. and Azeiteiro, U. M. eds. Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities round the World. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, pp375-386. linkhttp://www.springer.com/energy/energy+efficiency/book/978-3-319-02374-8 http://oro.open.ac.uk/37919/

We have a further paper accepted by the British Journal of Educational Technology in press, based on our work on developing a conceptual framework for understanding the role of ICTs in higher education teaching models that was used to inform the SusTEACH project.
Caird, S. and Lane, A. (2014) Conceptualising the role of Information and Communication Technologies in the design of higher education teaching models used in the UK British Journal of Educational Technology. In press.

We have a further paper based on the detailed analysis of the SusTEACH research findings that has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Caird, S. Lane, A. Swithenby, E. Roy, R. and Potter, S. (2015) Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Volume 16, Issue 2 (in press). http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/38870

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