Special Issue "Looking at Strategic Plans of Universities: Sustainable Education, Innovative and Collaborative Learning"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jorge Martin Gutierrez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Technics and Projects in Engineering and Architecture. La Laguna University, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Interests: Augmented Reality; Virtual Reality; Mixed Reality; human–computer interaction; wearable interaction; user experience; usability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Teaching university students to face global challenges is a key aspect of higher education today. Universities around the world are assuming this challenge by adopting student-centered learning strategies to meet the needs of younger generations. Among other strategies adopted by universities, active learning is ones of the pillars, but active learning is more than just using new teaching methods or recent pedagogies: It requires a solid understanding of the needs of the learning processes and the learning community to prepare students for global change and sustainable development goals and challenges. Thus, active learning is more than just facing problems from one specific discipline.

Today, there are more technologies and advances available, but also more complexity. Higher education institutions must transfer several skills to prepare their students to assume newer challenges, but at the same time, students should consider social needs as part of the equation. In this regard, active learning models such as problem-based learning and its variations have become quite popular at all educational levels in preparing students for real-world problems, and concepts such s social issues are becoming quite common in fields like engineering education, though not exclusively. However, adopting these models is not a straightforward process, as it requires deep institutional changes affecting not just students and academic staff, but also the institution’s administration and its infrastructures, and its relationship with society.

The modernization process of higher education and the evolution of our society implies adopting innovative and sustainable models based (or not) on technology.

While some education experts have praised the most innovative current trends present today and made mention of project-based learning, competency-based learning, active methodologies learning, gamification in learning, learning-by-doing, knowledge management, leadership, creativity, and so on, concerns have also been raised about educational institutions not supporting creative tendencies, and some of the arguments suggest that the educational models being used should be changed. One reason for this is that students fail to learn in the classroom-based setting because they get bored or cannot understand the lecture. Obviously, when content is taught in the classroom and thus taught out of context, it tends to be boring, even more so if delivered monotonously by teachers. What is more, students today are accustomed to being exposed to a wide variety of stimuli, most of all interactive and audiovisual content, and feel something is left wanting if such stimuli are not employed in the classroom setting.

Today’s generation is the first to live surrounded by a multitude of screens: smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, televisions, and cinema screens. However, in most cases, our classrooms are barren of any interactive technologies despite the consensus that some, such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, can and do help teachers to motivate students to learn whilst also making learning easier. That said, it is vitally important that we reflect on the pedagogical approach, which among other things depends on profound institutional changes.

This Special Issue of Sustainability explores innovative approaches and developments in higher education, fostering theoretical and empirical research to ensure that institutions provide sustainable education for the next generations. Topics may include but are not limited to: higher education, university strategies, teaching/learning strategies, sustainability, ICT experiences (gamification, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, mobile learning, etc.).

Prof. Dr. Jorge Martin Gutierrez
Guest Editor

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 1900 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

  • Higher education
  • University strategies
  • Teaching/learning strategies
  • Sustainability
  • ICT experiences (gamification, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, mobile learning, etc.)

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
The Flip Teaching as Tool to Improving Students’ Sustainable Learning Performance in a Financial Course
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9998; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239998 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 573
Abstract
Flip teaching (FT) is a methodology with a significant impact on the educational innovation trend that encourages active learning and facilitates the learning of students. The main objective of this study is to measure the impact of flip teaching on the learning of [...] Read more.
Flip teaching (FT) is a methodology with a significant impact on the educational innovation trend that encourages active learning and facilitates the learning of students. The main objective of this study is to measure the impact of flip teaching on the learning of a course at a higher education institution. To analyze the differences in the exam marks between students that follow FT and other methodologies, the t-statistic and Mann–Whitney U test have been used. Results indicate that FT allows improving the performance of students and achieving collateral capacities, such as responsibility and awareness, making learning more sustainable. This study makes an interesting contribution to existing research in education and demonstrates that it is possible to introduce FT in a block of the course and can be transferable to other courses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Educational Models That Encourage Business Participation in Higher Education Institutions
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8421; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208421 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 477
Abstract
In a scenario in which the labour market is increasingly competitive and there is a need to provide students with practical training, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) must promote the labour integration of students, by building their competences and shaping their skills in accordance [...] Read more.
In a scenario in which the labour market is increasingly competitive and there is a need to provide students with practical training, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) must promote the labour integration of students, by building their competences and shaping their skills in accordance with the strategic plans of companies. In the past, cooperation between companies and universities was based on informal agreements. Nowadays, companies are actively involved in the development of educational models. This is not only part of their corporate social responsibility, but also represents a business opportunity. In this context, the research performed to identify collaboration models between companies and HEIs that simplify the integration of training processes in companies is scarce. Therefore, the aim of this research is to identify existing joint educational models between companies and HEIs and to propose a methodology that allows them to select the models most in line with their business. The methodology applies a multi-criteria selection procedure and, in a simple way, enables the businesses to identify how to increase their involvement. Model identification is based on a proposal of common features that uses indicators for involvement quantification. This study selected ten HEI-company cooperation models and subsequently applied the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method to analyse the level of involvement that these models require of companies. Five models of different involvement levels were selected and detailed by their features. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessDiscussion
Creating Successful Student Learning Outcomes: The Case of Trinity University’s Quality Enhancement Plan Entitled “Starting Strong”
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198197 - 05 Oct 2020
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Using Starting Strong as a case study, this article examines how four successful Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) emerged and one was eliminated during the Quality Enhancement Plan’s (QEP’s) development process. In comparison to the one that was purged, the four successful SLO’s had [...] Read more.
Using Starting Strong as a case study, this article examines how four successful Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) emerged and one was eliminated during the Quality Enhancement Plan’s (QEP’s) development process. In comparison to the one that was purged, the four successful SLO’s had five commonalities: 1. Virtually unanimous support from the administration; 2. Wide acceptance of the SLO from the faculty and staff members working on the QEP; 3. A shared conception between the administration and faculty/staff of what is an appropriate SLO; 4. The SLO’s could be clearly conceptualized and measured; And, 5., the SLO’s are financially feasible for the university to implement. The study hopes that this article may provide guidance for other universities undertaking and developing SLO’s and QEP’s. Full article
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