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Special Issue "The Future of Education for Sustainable Development – Between the Power of Technology and the Need for Responsible Citizenship"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Christian Rammel

RCE Vienna, University of Business and Economics Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Interests: education for sustainable development; transformative education; sustainability-driven entrepreneurship; change and adaptation; resilience
Guest Editor
Dr. Clemens Mader

1.Technology and Society Lab, Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, St.Gallen, Switzerland
2. Sustainability Team, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: sustainability assessment; technology assessment; education for sustainable development; education–research–policy–practice interface

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the course of the 4th industrial revolution of digitalization, we have experienced or encountered new trends in society and technology that strongly affect the way we learn, teach, and understand knowledge and education. New technology applications, such as blockchain, machine learning, MOOCs or virtual learning environments, are being increasingly used for teaching and learning. There is, not only a high degree of expectation, but also criticism of the societal impacts these new technological applications might have. This is further echoed within the global debate of the effects of emerging technologies on education, in general, and education for sustainable development (ESD), in particular.

Beyond the power of technological applications, recent socio-economic and ecological challenges show that we do not lack sufficient knowledge for change, but we lack people who are willing and able to engage and make change. Especially in the area of climate change research, our recent problems are not derived from a lack of scientific data and technological opportunities for dissemination, but from a lack of adequate methods of teaching and knowledge exchange, which can initiate and foster active engagement and responsible citizenship.

ESD aims at new ways of learning that enable citizens to actively shape sustainable socio-ecological transformations. This Special Issues calls for cases, reviews, and research articles to discuss technological applications in the transdisciplinary light of responsible citizenship and engagement for sustainable development.

This Special Issue is open to submissions of original articles, subject to a rigorous peer review, covering the recent debate on technological applications in education and learning environments, with special attention on learnings from the application of MOOCs, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and virtual learning environments. We look forward to transdisciplinary contributions from sustainability and technology sciences, education studies and the wide range of research in ESD.

Dr. Christian Rammel
Dr. Clemens Mader
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • education for sustainable development (ESD)
  • transdisciplinary learning environment
  • responsible citizenship
  • engagement
  • technology applications
  • digitalization
  • virtual reality
  • machine learning

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Sustaining a Culture of Excellence: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Land Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123280
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 9 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
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Abstract
Increasing globalization and the emergence of disruptive learning technologies have derived a pedagogical paradigm shift from the conventional on-campus higher education to the digital and online higher education. Massive open online courses (MOOCs), especially, are the most notable manifestation of educational transformation. We [...] Read more.
Increasing globalization and the emergence of disruptive learning technologies have derived a pedagogical paradigm shift from the conventional on-campus higher education to the digital and online higher education. Massive open online courses (MOOCs), especially, are the most notable manifestation of educational transformation. We developed a MOOC entitled Introduction to Land Management (ILMx MOOC) for potential entrants to the land management domain, or for those who simply want to become aware of land-related challenges and brought together with thousands of participants worldwide with freely accessible course content and rooms for open discussion. Our experience with ILMx MOOC has accumulated new knowledge and insight across a broad range of questioning on how to design and develop alternative courseware and teach using digital learning technologies in land management. This paper examines an account of emerging patterns of demographics, geography, and course engagement throughout the ILMx MOOC. We found that the subject of land management in digital higher education affects gender gaps in enrolments. We also assume that the topic of land management has been globally recognized as an important nexus to guide professionals in international development studies and practices as well as sustainability research. However, new behavioral patterns of learners were also observed. They participated in the learning process very enthusiastically only during the first month of the course and this seems to be due to lack of motivation and interest to induce learners efficiently into the learning content. We believe that the culture of excellence in land management needs to be accompanied by engaged excellence and new forms of educational culture and work processes. This means that the high-quality and rigorous knowledge we produce and accumulate is coupled closely with new styles of educational development and delivery, new types of resources and hardware, and extensive engagement with countries, localities, people, and practices of those who handle land matters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Education for Sustainable Development 4.0: Lessons Learned from the University of Graz, Austria
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2347; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082347
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (414 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Higher education for sustainable development plays a crucial role in the transformation of society towards a more sustainable pathway of development. The new trends in society and technology experienced in the course of the fourth industrial revolution come with challenges, but also provide [...] Read more.
Higher education for sustainable development plays a crucial role in the transformation of society towards a more sustainable pathway of development. The new trends in society and technology experienced in the course of the fourth industrial revolution come with challenges, but also provide opportunities. In this paper, we reflect on the conceptual basis of education for sustainable development as approached at the University of Graz, Austria, and contrast this basis with the expectations stated by students. The results showed that students acknowledged the high importance of digital competencies and found it highly important to be confronted with future-oriented topics and contents. Interestingly, students seemed skeptical about online course formats and digitalization of teaching and clearly preferred the interactive classroom experience. Students also rated international topics and transdisciplinary thinking as fairly important. Interestingly, a relatively high share of students only saw mediocre added value in experiencing international classrooms, and in having international teachers, when it comes to meeting their top priority, which is being competitive in the job market. Education for sustainable development in the future will not only need to prepare students for international, interdisciplinary, and digital environments, but also will need to meet the expectations of demanding and ambitious students and provide them with bright career prospects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Massive Open Online Courses in the Initial Training of Social Science Teachers: Experiences, Methodological Conceptions, and Technological Use for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030578
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 12 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (298 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article analyzes, on the one hand, the perception of future teachers (n = 162) on the degree of acquisition of the Digital Teaching Competition (CCD) in the teachers’ formative contexts. On the other hand, this article analyzes future teachers’ social representations [...] Read more.
This article analyzes, on the one hand, the perception of future teachers (n = 162) on the degree of acquisition of the Digital Teaching Competition (CCD) in the teachers’ formative contexts. On the other hand, this article analyzes future teachers’ social representations about the potential contribution of educational technologies, in particular the massive open online courses (MOOCs), to comply with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A questionnaire validated by three Spanish universities is applied, and a quantitative analysis of the data is used. The results obtained inform the educational need to transfer the progress and generalization of information and communication technologies (ICT) for education for sustainable development in teacher training curricula. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Semantic Analysis of Learners’ Emotional Tendencies on Online MOOC Education
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1921; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061921
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3369 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As a new education product in the information age, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) command momentous public attention for their unexpected rise and flexible application. However, the striking contrast between the high rate of registration and the low rate of completion has put [...] Read more.
As a new education product in the information age, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) command momentous public attention for their unexpected rise and flexible application. However, the striking contrast between the high rate of registration and the low rate of completion has put their development into a bottleneck. In this paper, we present a semantic analysis model (SMA) to track the emotional tendencies of learners in order to analyze the acceptance of the courses based on big data from homework completion, comments, forums and other real-time update information on the MOOC platforms. Through emotional quantification and machine learning calculations, graduation probability can be predicted for different stages of learning in real time. Especially for learners with emotional tendencies, customized instruction could be made in order to improve completion and graduation rates. Furthermore, we classified the learners into four categories according to course participation time series and emotional states. In the experiments, we made a comprehensive evaluation of the students’ overall learning status by kinds of learners and emotional tendencies. Our proposed method can effectively recognize learners’ emotional tendencies by semantic analysis, providing an effective solution for MOOC personalized teaching, which can help achieve education for sustainable development. Full article
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