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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Aldilla Dharmasasmita, Helen Puntha and Petra Molthan-Hill

The purpose of this paper is to present a food-themed project at Nottingham Trent University, the Sustainability in Practice (SiP) Certificate, which has adopted a…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a food-themed project at Nottingham Trent University, the Sustainability in Practice (SiP) Certificate, which has adopted a supra-disciplinary approach involving a collaborative enquiry into food sustainability through a flexible online course open to all staff and students.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper will describe the pedagogical approach of the certificate’s online and offline components, the various activities undertaken by participants and the digital tools used to encourage collaboration and skills development. Reflection on participant feedback is incorporated, and special attention is given to how the design of SiP equips students with the skills needed to solve sustainable challenges.

Findings

Feedback from previous participants indicated that despite high engagement in the SiP online discussion forums, there was a desire to go beyond theoretical discussion; students wanted to get actively involved in some practical challenges. “Sustainability Challenge Days” are therefore now offered and comprise in-person discussion, volunteering and collaborative group learning to complement the online course. This practice element as well as the crowdsourcing of sustainable solutions within SiP are described in detail in this paper.

Research limitations/implications

Although estimately 1,000 students have taken the SiP to date, SiP Challenge Day was only piloted this year, following recommendations by student focus groups in 2014 and 2015. Focus groups have not yet been undertaken for the 2015/2016 cohort. The feedback included in this paper is based only on students who participated in the Challenge Days. Analysis of the feedback forms indicates that the 2015/2016 SiP Challenge Days have constituted a promising pilot project, and, therefore, organisation of Challenge Days for the next academic year is already in progress, with two additional themes already in placed.

Practical implications

The SiP Challenge Day events have provided the opportunities for students from across all disciplines to discuss, collaborate and thus find solutions to a contemporary sustainability topic: food scarcity and accessibility. Hence, it has facilitated inter and supradisciplinary learning, a skill that is seldom available in a conventional lecture and/or seminar teaching environment.

Social implications

Activities in the SiP Challenge Day events included group discussions, team working and presentations. Some of the feedback received from students have included how they have enjoyed exchanging ideas from colleagues in different schools and culture, as the exchange have had them to consider different opinions and perspectives from other disciplines, culturally.

Originality/value

While a focus on sustainability within higher education curriculum is on the increase, it is still usual for universities to adopt a mono-disciplinary approach to addressing sustainability. This paper illustrates how using the digital world, higher education institutions can adopt a supra-disciplinary approach to facilitate students in addressing real-world sustainability problems. Additionally, how practical sessions can complement students’ digital learning in sustainability is also included in this paper.

Book part
Publication date: 7 February 2013

Helen Goworek and Petra Molthan-Hill

This chapter examines the development and implementation of a sustainability module at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the UK and assesses how this is embedded within…

Abstract

This chapter examines the development and implementation of a sustainability module at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the UK and assesses how this is embedded within the undergraduate business curriculum. The objectives are to explain the background to the development of the module in the context of the University as a whole and to examine the issues and potential benefits concerning its implementation. The chapter explores how sustainability can be integrated effectively within the curriculum and focuses on a module for the academic year 2011/2012 ‘The Sustainable Organisation’ (SO) and its underlying principles from the perspectives of members of the module team. It also reflects on previous and concurrent modules incorporating sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The module's connections with industry and related research will also be discussed within the chapter. In conclusion, the wider implications of offering the SO module within a business school will be assessed.

Details

Education and Corporate Social Responsibility International Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-590-6

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