University of Tasmania, Australia

Highly Commended

Massive online courses delivering individual and community sustainability country wide

The Diploma and Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainable Living are fully online courses developed by the University of Tasmania, starting in 2018. They aim to create a very broad understanding of the concepts, implications, and relevance of sustainability, but founded on rigorous academic knowledge.

The courses have made substantial and new contributions to education in sustainability by reaching over 6,000 students to date, mostly from parts of the community that are poorly served by standard university offerings. These courses reach all states of Australia with strong uptake in regional areas, as well as some international students. The courses are also increasingly chosen by existing professionals, many of whom attest to the contributions that the courses make to their work.

To maximise value to students, the courses are highly integrated and interdisciplinary; they address sustainability through the lenses of biology, ecology, geology, economics, climatology, governance, communication, ethics, health, sociology, and indigenous knowledge.

What the Judges Thought

A very well written application giving details of interventions and impacts. It outlines a great programme with very promising potential to be scaled and replicated.

The innovativeness is twofold: the intended audience going beyond the staff, faculty and students of the institution and the focus on participants applying their learnings in their daily life. We really appreciated the lifelong learning focus, reaching a group of people that many universities have historically struggled to work with. The reach is strong and benefits are clearly explained. The inclusion of student feedback data is helpful; some of the student testimonials were really inspiring. Good ESD pedagogical approaches were used, which is relatively innovative for online learning. We also loved how this programme brought more people into the sustainability work of the institution.

Overall, an excellent project and submission. Keep up the good work!

Top 3 Learnings

  1. Using people’s own experiences is key to communicating core ideas about sustainability.
  2. There is very high level of community interest in learning about sustainability principles and practice.
  3. Highly cross disciplinary collaboration enhances the quality and reach of sustainability teaching.
4 - Quality Education 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
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