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Supporting the Integration of Sustainability into Higher Education Curricula—A Case Study from Switzerland
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3357-3373; doi:10.3390/su6063357
Article

Method-Based Higher Education in Sustainability: The Potential of the Scenario Method

1,2,*  and 1
Received: 1 April 2014; in revised form: 9 May 2014 / Accepted: 11 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
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Abstract: Both sustainability and education are challenging process-oriented objectives. When the aim is to combine both notions, as in Higher Education in Sustainability (HES), it is indispensable to first establish a common ground between them. In this paper, we characterise this common ground in terms of four aspects: future orientation, normativity, global perspective, and theory engaged in practice. Based on an analysis of the common ground, one method that is well-established in a wide range of sustainability sciences shows high potential for use in HES because it covers all four aspects in detail: the scenario method. We argue that a didactical reconstruction of the scenario method is necessary to utilise its potential and develop adequate forms of teaching in higher education. The scenario method is used to construct and analyse a set of alternative future developments to support decisions that have to be made in the present. Didactical reconstruction reveals a spectrum of objectives for which the scenario method can be employed: (1) projection; (2) teleological planning and (3) an explorative search for possibilities not yet considered. By studying and experimenting with this spectrum of objectives, students in HES can develop fundamental reflexive competencies in addressing the future in different ways that are relevant for both sustainability and education.
Keywords: scenario method; didactics; didactical reconstruction; philosophy of education; methodology; future orientation; higher education; technology assessment scenario method; didactics; didactical reconstruction; philosophy of education; methodology; future orientation; higher education; technology assessment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Beecroft, R.; Schmidt, J.C. Method-Based Higher Education in Sustainability: The Potential of the Scenario Method. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3357-3373.

AMA Style

Beecroft R, Schmidt JC. Method-Based Higher Education in Sustainability: The Potential of the Scenario Method. Sustainability. 2014; 6(6):3357-3373.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Beecroft, Richard; Schmidt, Jan C. 2014. "Method-Based Higher Education in Sustainability: The Potential of the Scenario Method." Sustainability 6, no. 6: 3357-3373.


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