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Sustainability 2011, 3(6), 875-896; doi:10.3390/su3060875

Moving Universities: A Case Study on the Use of Unconferencing for Facilitating Sustainability Learning in a Swiss University

1
Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC), Center for Organizational and Occupational Sciences, Kreuzplatz 5, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland
2
unbla.org, Hügelstrasse 40, CH-8002 Zürich, Switzerland
3
Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), Department of Environmental Sciences, ETH Zurich, Sonneggstrasse 33, ETH SOL F.7, CH-8092, Zurich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 March 2011 / Revised: 30 May 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 17 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Group Processes and Mutual Learning for Sustainability)
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Abstract

Unconferencing is a method for organizing social learning which could be suitable to trigger sustainability learning processes. An unconference is defined as participant-driven meeting that tries to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as top-down organization, one-way communication and power-relationships based on titles, formal hierarchies and status. This paper presents a case study on the application of unconferencing in a large Swiss university (ETH Zurich) where an unconference was conducted to engage students, academics, staff and external experts in a mutual learning process aimed at the development of project ideas for reducing its CO2 emissions. The study analyzes how the unconferencing format initiated and promoted sustainability oriented group processes during the unconference, and in how far the projects which were developed contributed to a reduction of the university’s CO2 emissions.
Keywords: unconferencing; group processes; mutual learning; organizational learning; sustainability learning; sustainable university; CO2 emissions; CO2 reduction; sustainable development unconferencing; group processes; mutual learning; organizational learning; sustainability learning; sustainable university; CO2 emissions; CO2 reduction; sustainable development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wolf, P.; Troxler, P.; Hansmann, R. Moving Universities: A Case Study on the Use of Unconferencing for Facilitating Sustainability Learning in a Swiss University. Sustainability 2011, 3, 875-896.

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