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Course overview and learning with us

Course aims, the syllabus, learning with us, learning from you.

In this video we introduce what the course is all about and what you can expect to learn or be able to do once you’ve worked through it.

Course aims

The course aims to provide you with:

  • An introduction to key ideas and practices in education for sustainable development (ESD) and related areas
  • An overview of current international policy and approaches
  • Opportunities to meet fellow educators from around the world and discuss these issues with them, and
  • A chance to apply your learning to your own educational practice

The syllabus

We’ll cover a lot of ground over the three weeks of the course, with the themes of each week as follows.

Week 1: An introduction to education for sustainable development, why it’s important, and what it means for teaching practice.

Week 2: Exploration of the core elements of education for sustainable development and also approaches to teaching and learning.

Week 3: Application of learning from the course to individual practice through a written reflection and discussion of tools and resources that can support you in future.

Learning with us

We’re keen that the course is a place for positive discussion, and all conversation should be constructive and supportive. We have some requests for course discussions:

  • We expect that those who join the course will have a wealth of experience across lots of different forms of educational practice (and beyond!), but please do be aware that FutureLearn is a public platform, so you should not share any sensitive information or images, e.g. that can identify specific schools, pupils, or other individuals.
  • Our diversity is a strength but these differences will also mean we have different perspectives on things! Try to avoid political, ideological, or religious references where possible and focus on the key topics we discuss.
  • Nevertheless, there will be many opportunities for you to discuss your experience and ideas with other learners and we encourage you to do so. We will additionally make use of a number of ‘Padlet’ online pinboards through which you can share multimedia material like links to resources, images, and so on.

Learning from you

We have designed this course to support educators in their professional development. There is limited research on how educators globally engage with sustainable development and related issues such as climate change, and we would like to use this opportunity to gather data for research so we can better help educators.

We plan to use the research to write academic articles and support policy makers and practitioners. Through the research we would like to explore questions like:

  • How is education for sustainable development perceived and practiced by educators in different countries?
  • What do educators see as the key challenges and facilitators to education for sustainable development in different contexts and settings?
  • How prepared do educators feel to include education for sustainable development in their practice?
  • What kinds of support and professional development do educators in diverse contexts need to integrate education for sustainable development into their practice?

We have designed a range of activities and tools for use throughout the course to both support your learning and be used as data collection tools for research. This includes course discussions as well as materials submitted to Padlet.

In Week 3 we will also ask you to take part in an additional anonymous survey about your engagement with education for sustainable development. It is entirely up to you whether you wish to take part and it will not affect your participation in the course. More details about the survey will be provided during that week.

Anonymity, Confidentiality and Data Protection

Any information collected during this study will be stored and handled according to UCL’s Privacy Policy and UK GDPR legislation. Ethical approval for the research has been given by the IOE Research Ethics Committee. If you have any queries about this, please do contact us by email.

Data collected through the optional online questionnaire is anonymous. It will not ask you provide any information that could be used to identify you.

Data collected through your course comments is anonymised automatically by FutureLearn when we download them. This means that when we analyse the data we won’t be able to identify you or your username. If you do not want your course comments to be included in the research for any reason, please let us know by typing the phrase ‘opt-out’ in the Comments area below.

Please note that this is an independent research project carried out by UCL and your participation is subject to the University’s own policies and terms. FutureLearn takes no responsibility for the contents or the consequences of your participation in this study. Your participation in the research has no effect on your course progress, marks or FutureLearn profile.

Finally, please note that course links lead to external content which is not managed by FutureLearn (e.g. Padlet or external educational websites). Interacting with the content may require or result in personal data transfer to this external website; FutureLearn advises you to check the external website’s privacy policy before use. For any users unable to access external content, please contact us.

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Educating for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Schools and Universities

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