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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Fernando Morgado, Paula Bacelar-Nicolau, Jaime Rendon von Osten, Paulo Santos, Leonor Bacelar-Nicolau, Harith Farooq, Fátima Alves, Amadeu M.V.M. Soares and Ulisses M. Azeiteiro

Higher education system has a critical role to play in educating environmentally aware and participant citizens about global climate change (CC). And, as shown by the 21st…

Abstract

Purpose

Higher education system has a critical role to play in educating environmentally aware and participant citizens about global climate change (CC). And, as shown by the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change – COP 21, held in Paris in December 2015, there is still a path to be followed regarding the role played by universities in the negotiations and in influencing decision-making on a matter of such global importance. The purpose of this first study conducted within Portuguese (Europe), Mexican (Spanish-speaking North America University) and Mozambican (Africa) universities is to investigate higher education system students’ perceptions on CC.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected through a questionnaire aiming at characterising students from the socio-demography, and from their perceptions, motivations, attitudes and knowledge relating to the topic of CC. Statistical analysis was used to compare and characterise the three national groups under study.

Findings

This study did not show significant perception differences among the analysed subsamples, although there was a tendency for Mexican students to express lesser belief that CC was happening, and for Mozambicans to show a greater belief in CC issues and motivation to mitigate its effects which may be related to the specifics contexts. The results show that relevant differences among nationalities mostly concerned the magnitude of choices (e.g. most respondents of each nationality expressed interest in CC issues, but the magnitude of this expression differed according to nationality). The principal component analysis (second and third components) clearly embodied nationality profiles (discussed in the context of different cultures, educational structures and CC impacts).

Research limitations/implications

Further research is warranted to understand the integration of CC into higher education curriculum to improve and target educational efforts to suit students’ needs.

Practical implications

How CC perceptions vary cross-nationally and how research studies that examine the integration of CC into higher education curriculum are areas for which more research is needed.

Originality/value

The results highlight the importance of socio-cultural dimensions of each country in relation to the understanding or perception of CC issues, namely, in what concerns aspects related with gender roles, age, active learning and citizenship. This study’s data evidenced that despite the surveyed students being familiarized with CC phenomena, this knowledge does not translate necessarily into concrete mitigation practices and behaviours.

Details

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, vol. 9 no. 03
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-8692

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 May 2021

Daniela Perbandt, Marie-Sophie Heinelt, Paula Bacelar-Nicolau, Mahsa Mapar and Sandra Sofia Caeiro

Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several…

Abstract

Purpose

Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several advantages of e-learning environments compared to traditional class-teaching, there are still challenges regarding suitable e-learning tools and didactical models. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of several e-learning tools on students’ knowledge and skills growth and to compare two learning paths, synchronous vs asynchronous, exploring how each affects the level of students’ knowledge achievement and skills acquisition.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical analysis is based on an online course “Participatory processes in environmental politics”. International MSc and PhD students who enrolled in the course were from FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany) and Aberta University (Portugal). The course was designed as the flipped classroom, applying different e-learning tools and activities, some synchronous and others asynchronous. A pre- and post-evaluation questionnaire was applied to evaluate students’ knowledge and skills. Descriptive statistical analyses were carried out on this data.

Findings

Results showed that in the synchronous group, knowledge about theoretical approaches to citizen participation and sustainable environmental governance improved to a greater extent, whereas the asynchronous group showed greater improvement in nearly all skills related to intercultural communication and e-learning. Also, in the synchronous path, students enhanced their knowledge on “research application” to a greater extent.

Originality/value

Evaluating the effectiveness of different e-learning tools on students’ sustainability knowledge and information and communication technologies skills is a fundamental issue. The study discusses these issues, contributing to enhancing the use of adequate and grounded e-learning models on sustainable development in higher education.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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