Sustainicum Collection

Consus Qëllimi i projektit është të krijojë një rrjet rajonal shkencor-shoqëror për risitë e qëndrueshmërisë në Shqipëri e Kosovë me qëllim forcimin e lidhjes dhe bashkëpunimit të institucioneve në fushën e arsimit të lartë, kërkimit dhe praktikës.
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Documentation

Project name:
“Sustainability in Teaching: The Ecologic Dimension. Basic Knowledge for All (Sustainicum)” [German title: "Nachhaltigkeit in der Lehre - die Ökologische Dimension. Basiswissen für Alle (Sustainicum)"]

Duration: 01/01/2012 until 31/12/2012, extension until 30/06/2013

Project partners: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, University of Graz, Graz University of Technology

Abstract: The project aims to integrate sustainability into teaching. It seeks to make systems thinking and basic natural scientific and technological concepts – independent of their field of study – more tangible through the use of innovative forms of teaching. It should serve to increase interest in MINT disciplines (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology), particularly among female students.

Submitted and approved project

1. The development of a modular concept (block courses, topical seminars and summer schools on the topic of sustainability)

1st and 2nd quarter of 2012:

Inclusion of a doctoral candidate from the Doctoral School of Sustainable Development (DOKNE) in the project team with the aim of elaborating the modular concept and developing the necessary network in the context of his dissertation and under the responsibility of the governing body (project leaders from the three partner universities).

3rd and 4th quarter of 2012:

Completion of preparatory work. Development of the modular concept. Postponement of a stakeholder workshop that was planned for November 2012 until early 2013, due to scheduling issues.

1st and 2nd quarter of 2013:

Further development of the concept. Discussion with stakeholders. Observation of the real-world implementation of the concept. Adaptation of the concept.

2. Development of resources (building blocks, teaching methods, lecture notes, and teaching modules) in order to make individual terms, processes or interrelationships more tangible (tool kit)

1st and 2nd quarter of 2012:

Dissemination of a call among teachers from all three partner universities for participation in the development of the internet platform “Sustainicum” with the request for the submission of ideas for resources. Adaptation of the numerous submitted ideas to the strict requirement criteria of the MINT Sustainicum project. Completion of the funding contracts with the authors of the building blocks.

3rd and 4th quarter of 2012:

Implementation of numerous ideas for resources by the authors. Initiation and fixation of many additional resource projects in individual discussions. Testing of the finished resources (mostly building blocks and methods) for understandibility and completeness. Assignment of each resource to a quality inspector (largely from the partner universities). Testing of the resources for scientific accuracy. Forwarding of the suggestions for improvements to the respective authors that emerged from the testing. Adaptation of the resources. Correction of the accompanying texts.

1st and 2nd quarter of 2013:

Implementation of further ideas for resources for the platform. Translation of the resources into English.

3. Continuing education and training events on the use of the teaching modules and/or the mini-modules for teachers

1st and 2nd quarter of 2012:

Conduction of a workshop for teachers from the partner universities on the topic of “systems thinking and games” at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna under the direction of Dennis Meadows. Conduction of a workshop for teachers from the partner universities on the topic of “teaching methods” at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna under the direction of Nadine Shovakar.

3rd and 4th quarter of 2012:

Conduction of a workshop for teachers from the partner universities on the presentation of the building block “Tower of Babylon” at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna under the direction of Dennis Meadows.

1st and 2nd quarter of 2013:

Conduction of additional continuing education and training events on the use of the Sustainicum resources.

4. Sustainicum platform

1st and 2nd quarter of 2012:

Completion of the platform concept (resources should be accompanied by complementary texts from other disciplines and be available in a glossary format to all interested persons via a search function. At the same time the system should be capable of expanding through the inclusion of additional contributions). Beginning of programming.

3rd and 4th quarter of 2012:

Testing of the first functional version by the project partners. Continuous adaptation of the platform. Addition of a version in English.

1st and 2nd quarter of 2013:

Continual adaptation. Release of the platform online.

Narrative description of the project implementation and expected impacts

The first two quarters of the project were used for the development of the network, the call with the aim of gathering ideas for resources, as well as the adaptation of the submitted ideas to the requirements of the project. In the course of the implementation of the ideas in the third and fourth quarters, new acquisitions related to infrastructure were made, software was acquired or programmed for teaching and measuring and test arrangements and additional tools for teaching were created. In the course of the development of the block course on the topic of sustainability, a pool of teachers at the BOKU was established that should contribute to the concept of the block courses in individual workshops. The concept is continuously developed and the necessary network has been initiated. Exemplary training workshops for teachers have been carried out with large success. The teaching tools (approximately 100 resources) that were developed in the course of the project by the project partners – BOKU, University of Graz and the TU Graz – consist of demonstrations of the basic principles and basic concepts of sustainability, which were conceptualized for use in modern teaching and which utilize innovative and established teaching and learning methods. The resources were created so that the practical relevance in MINT disciplines can be strengthened through their use in courses (field trips, mini-projects related to practice, best practice methods, etc.). In addition, it is expected that their use in course should lead to an increase in the attractiveness of MINT disciplines, particularly among female students, since women have been shown to be especially receptive to sustainability-related topics. Sustainability topics are already being integrated into existing courses.