Professional Development Hub

Start Up Ideas About Professional Development for EfS in Tertiary

Before the October 2014 Symposium, three people got together to reflect on what the issues and opportunities are for Professional Development for EfS in the tertiary sector. They are Gitanjali Bedi from Swinburne University, Belinda Christie from Deakin Uni and Jude Westrup from RMIT University. These ideas were put together in the following powerpoint (when you have finished viewing this, click on the back arrow of your browser to return to this page):

Professional Development Hub Report To Oct 2014 Symposium

Tertiary EfS Symposium Oct, 15th, 2014 – Belinda Christe & Gitanjali Bedi

In the video clip of their presentation to the October 2014 Symposium, Belinda and Gitanjali talk about the need for and issues related to professional development of tertiary educators for sustainability education. Based on her PhD research Belinda reports that both interdisciplinary and disciplinary professional development is necessary in both formal and informal modes. Gitanjili emphasises the availability of online resources for teaching sustainability and the potential benefits of creating an online point of reference for accessing these.

Click here to watch the video

Notes on SUSTAINed Professional Development Zoom – Session 1                                  – December 2014

Participants:

  • Colin Hocking – La Trobe University
  • Mark Boulet – Monash University
  • Jude Westrup – RMIT University
  • Liz Sidiropoulos – Central Queensland University
  • Nick Towle – University of Tasmania
  • Edward Maher – Charles Sturt University
  • Simon Wright – Charles Sturt University
  • Gitanjali Bedi – Swinburne University

SUMMARY – see video below for details

The PD Hub group talked about the diverse types of situations that Professional Development (PD) for Education for Sustainability (EfS) needs to be shaped to serve, and how to grapple with this diversity, in terms of learning from one another.

There was agreement that we could understand types and uses of PD for EfS by putting these in a matrix, from Starting through Mid Level to Advanced on one axis, and broad contexts from Single Discipline to Multi-discipline on the other. Contributing perspectives and resources within this matrix would be useful to a wider group of people pursuing EfS, and could form part of our handbook.

We also recognized that there is already a wide range of resources out there for PD in EfS that can be used, but how might we curate these or otherwise organize them to be of practical and widespread use.

Mark Boulet raised the point that sharing resources seems to only get us so far with PD development, and suggested the idea that we might use some of our collaborative sessions to reflect on our own practice, and with one another –that is, collaborative PD for us as experienced facilitators of EfS. To do this, will we will need to choose topics for discussion that are of interest to most/all – including Nick Towle’s suggestion that we use suitable journal articles as one source of reflection.

Liz Sidiropoulos also put the idea that we might work together collaboratively on a number of small pamphlets that illustrated what sustainability education looks like a cross a range of disciplines and contexts.

 

Details of these ideas can be found by viewing the video recording of the session below.

If you want to comment on what was raised in this discussion, or any other matter related to professional development for sustainability education in tertiary, use the Comments box at the bottom of this page.

Notes on SUSTAINed Professional Development Zoom – Session 2                                  – April 2015

Participants:

  • Colin Hocking – LaTrobe Uni
  • Alison Lugg – LaTrobe Uni (Bendigo)
  • Jude Westrup – RMIT Uni
  • Suzane Vassallo – LaTrobe Uni
  • Andy Horsfall – Uni of Western Sydney
  • Rebecca Townsend – LaTrobe Uni (Bendigo)
  • Laurel Freeland – Federation Uni

Apologies: Tonia Gray, Sue Elliott, Caroline Smith, Jen Dollin, Leanne Grogan

Summary of PD Hub Session 2:

Jude Westrup was invited to start the session by talking about some of the sustainability education developments happening at RMIT University. This was partly in response to the outcomes of the first PD Hub discussion, which identified the need and value of those who work in EfS in tertiary institutions setting up our own PD. The idea was that one or two people in the hub would volunteer to talk for about 15-20 min on what was happening with EfS in their institution, and this would form the basis for the subsequent discussion.

Jude is coordinator of learning and teaching sustainability at RMIT – part of the office of the Dean, Learning and Teaching. This office works in conjunction with the RMIT Sustainability Committee. In 2015 there are three main focus areas:

Curriculum; Teaching; Networking. One clear interest of staff has been to set up a multi-disciplinary network –staff were keen to meet with others working on sustainability from other discipline areas. The first gathering of this network was about to happen just after the hub meeting. A google community has been set up to allow network members to communicate.

Funds from the RMIT Sustainability Committee have allowed trialing of sustainability projects in partnership with Oxfam. There have been three fellowships from Learning and Teaching Sustainability to develop innovative curriculum. The plan is to upload these on the Learning and Teaching Sustainability website. An app has been developed for the multicisciplinary groups – this is available through iTunes. Three areas have come together to develop a shared e-assessment task: Business, Design and Environmental Engineering., around the theme: An Ecocampus”. For Business this was around the theme “Recycling Furniture and Fittings”; for design “Fabrics and Textiles”; and for Environmental Engineering “Recycling Office Chairs”. The overall theme was around using campuses as sites for learning sustainability.

A range of other sustainability education initiatives at RMIT was described by Jude – these can be accessed through the video recording.

There was discussion around the possibility of setting up two tiers of PD for tertiary staff interested in sustainability education: some PD sessions at the introductory level; and some at the experienced level. Possibly a multidisciplinary network might assist this. There might be meaningful encounters in PD around a focus on assessment tasks.

There was also discussion around the setting up of Communities of Practice. University of Western Sydney has such as set up, across the University. RMIT University has a similar set-up, which has tended to come and go. There seems to be value in involving postgraduate students, who bring lots of fresh energy, and connections with new ideas.

Other possible PD areas that were discussed included EfS and Health; Urban Forests and Biodiversity; Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change; Re-thinking and Re-designing materials.

Details of these ideas can be found by viewing the video recording of the session below.

If you want to comment on what was raised in this discussion, or any other matter related to professional development for sustainability education in tertiary, use the Comments box at the bottom of this page.

3 Responses to Professional Development Hub

  1. alilugg says:

    Hi Deb,Your research sounds interesting and intersects with my own (I am also an ECR/LWL!). I think the processes you are talking about are relevant to a tertiary practitioner Handbook so it would be great to chat to you about the strategies you have used in your Grad Dip teaching and Learning course. It would also be good if you could talk about this in a Teacher Education Hub meeting? Alison

  2. colinhocking1 says:

    Thanks for these thoughts Debbie. The issue of assessment for EfS has come up a number of times in discussion, and there might be value in some people in the Network looking at this in more detail. The Learning and Teaching Sustainability website at http://www.sustainability.edu.au is a good repository site of examples of curriculum, including assessment. But there may be some general principles that apply for assessment of EfS in general. Looking forward to discussing this with you more in the coming months. Colin H

  3. deborahprescott says:

    Hi Everyone

    I have just had a chance to watch this video and found quite a few areas to which I could possibly contribute.

    My research (early-career researcher/late working life!) interest is how to embed Education for Environmental Sustainability in Teacher Education and non-traditional Higher Ed units using the approach my team has developed over about 6 years in the Graduate Diploma of Teaching & Learning. It emphasises context, complexity, collaboration and reflection – nothing new perhaps but, in general, I haven’t seen them applied effectively to assessment tasks and learning design.

    It is an approach that would lend itself particularly well to:
    -an assessment task focus (Jude W.) in a small, working group type of session (Colin H. and others) where specific assessment tasks are reconceived to contain elements conducive to EfES thinking;
    -a professional learning community (Mark B.) that ‘gently’ interrogates learning and assessment design (Liz S.);
    -‘case stories’ (Liz S)
    -a reflective take on assessment and learning design.

    This approach might not lend itself particularly well to a handbook because of:
    -the highly contextualised and dynamic/responsive nature of the suggestions;
    -the interplay of the complex factors that impinge on the assessment and learning design of units.

    Those are some initial thoughts and I will try to join the next Zoom group.

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