The Lived experience of climate change: interdisciplinary e-module development and virtual mobility project concerns education and lifelong learning in relation to climate change, to contribute to an informed and active European citizenry and to inform EU policy on this major challenge. Focusing on the lived experiences of climate change -- how individuals, communities and organisations conceive and respond to its perceived local impacts (e.g. extreme weather, biodiversity changes) – the project complements other work in the area. Through collaboration between nine participating institutions, designing innovative teaching modules and a virtual learning space, it aims to create a European community of scholars, students and citizens who collectively make a major contribution to the United Nations decade on education for sustainable development.
These deliberations complement, rather than duplicate, the considerable work that is already being undertaken on sustainable education throughout Europe. The educational level of the proposal is postgraduate Masters. A key feature is that it complements existing and proposed Masters programmes in the area, rather than create a parallel programme. Consortium members are free to use or adapt the content (see below) within their own programmes, through their normal accreditation processes. The teaching modules can be used flexibly by students: as available educational resources without assessment or accreditation to enhance their studies or as conventional modules with assessment and accreditation.
To achieve the project’s aims, a virtual learning space contains the educational resources and facilitates learning communities and virtual mobility across the institutions.
The work focuses on three principal areas:
1. A workpackage in which the consortium performs preliminary research on the composition and specificities of the content modules and their deployment. The consortium reviews scenarios with respect to the pedagogic design and organisation of the content, and the potential virtual mobility of the students of the institutions involved. Institutional involvement of staff, financial and organisational issues is also investigated, as are the requirements and implementation of the interactive elements of the virtual learning space.
2. A workpackage on the collaborative content generation. Five postgraduate content deliverables are devised:
a) An introduction to climate change in the context of sustainable development (teaching module)
b) Comparing the experience of climate change in the global South and North (teaching module)
c) Interdisciplinary research methods for investigating the lived experience of climate change (teaching module)
d) A Masters dissertation package based on the virtual learning space:
i) A repository of suggested dissertation topics
ii) Hyperlinks to existing local, national and regional projects on climate change and their databases
iii) A repository of Masters’ dissertations in the area.
e) A virtual mobility package based on the virtual learning space:
i) A moderated virtual classroom for students and tutors/supervisors
ii) A moderated virtual café which expands access to citizens and organisations who might be the subject of dissertation projects, allowing for a dialogue on climate change between citizens and academia
iii) Ongoing monitoring of the package.
The teaching modules will become open educational resources at the project end for any University to use as it wishes.
3. A workpackage on piloting content delivery and virtual mobility. Students enrol in the virtual learning space and benefit from the educational resources, learning communities and virtual mobility offered. They are guided by institutional staff who also act as learning community moderators.
Collaborative research agendas and input into policy processes are expected to follow from successful implementation of these activities, contributing to Europe’s ambition to be a leading player in meeting the challenge of sustainable development.