טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentMintz Keren
SubjectIntegrating Sustainability Issues in Undergraduate Courses:
Teaching Practices and Learning Outcomes
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Tali Tal
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

This study focuses on the ways undergraduate courses deal with sustainability issues and on the way courses that deal with environmental issues promote students' learning in terms of knowledge, affective attributes and skills that are required to promote sustainable development. The study was carried out in the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Since sustainability is relevant to many disciplines, the study employed a broad perspective of investigation, and examined diverse courses, various teaching practices, and the learning experiences of students across campus.

The research questions were: (1) what are the characteristics of courses that focus on the environment in terms of contents and teaching practices, and how do they deal with sustainability issues? (2) what are the learning outcomes reported by the students enrolled in the different courses? (3) what are the relationships between the course features (in terms of content and teaching methods) and students' reported learning outcomes? and (4) what types of learning experiences are viewed by the students as most significant in promoting the development of sustainability literacy?

The study included two parts: a multiple-case study of 13 courses dealing with environmental topics, and a study of significant learning experiences of 4th year students across programs. The findings show that courses that deal with environmental topics differed in the way they integrated sustainability issues. Students self-reported learning outcomes in the courses referred to various aspects of learning that were grouped into three domains of learning: theoretical knowledge, affective aspects and skills that are required to promote sustainability. Apparently, courses differed in the number and variety of learning outcomes. A cross-case analysis of the learning outcomes in all 13 courses revealed that teaching practices are related to patterns of learning outcomes.

In analyzing the senior students' questionnaire, we found that although about half of the participants enrolled in at least one course that dealt with environmental topics, most of these students did not recall any learning experience that was significant in promoting their knowledge, skills or motivation to promote sustainability. This work contributes to existing knowledge on the integration of sustainability into higher education courses by providing basic principles regarding the integration of sustainability in an effective way.