“Surfing Global Change”: how didactic visions can be implemented

Gilbert Ahamer (Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change – Graz University, Graz, Austria, University of Applied Science, FH Joanneum, Graz, Austria and Federal Environment Agency, Vienna, Austria)

Campus-Wide Information Systems

ISSN: 1065-0741

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Aims to examine a negotiation‐oriented and partly web‐based game “Surfing Global Change” (SGC) invented by the author based on didactics of self‐managed learning and successfully implemented in WebCT.


Along three historic generations of web‐based teaching (WBT), the key functionalities of any platform (content, discussion and evaluation) are perceived to be utilized in a characteristic way depending on the prevalent didactic concepts. The changing roles of teacher and students are highlighted using the example of SGC Level 3, where students assess one another's competence, each trying to outdo the others in controversial arguments


The outlay of Surfing Global Change aims at accomplishing sustainable results for complex themes. Thus SGC sets out to weigh out competition vs consensus, self‐study vs team work, emphasizing one's own standpoint vs readiness to compromise, differentiation into details vs integration into a whole. SGC hence wants to mirror professional realities along five interactive game levels: learn content and pass quizzes; write and reflect a personal standpoint; win with a team in a competitive discussion; negotiate a complex consensus between teams; integrate views when recognizing and analyzing global long‐term trends.

Research limitations/implications

Some interactive assessment functionalities are still missing in current platforms.

Practical implications

In advanced university courses the negotiation game SGC was repeatedly used as a procedural shell for interdisciplinary themes.


The paper shows that a “communicative space” is created by utilising mainstream web platform technology, capable of transposing visions of “progressive education”. The definition of three generations of WBT allows for a functional differentiation in the styles of using web‐based tools.



Ahamer, G. (2005), "“Surfing Global Change”: how didactic visions can be implemented", Campus-Wide Information Systems, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 298-319. https://doi.org/10.1108/10650740510632217

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