Gruppenfoto mehrerer Personen im Freien.

Group photo of the participants.

Edu­ca­tion for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment (ESD)

From 3 to 5 April 2024, a Peer Learning Activity (PLA) developed by the Rectorate, the Aurora European University Office Innsbruck and UniNEtZ took place on the topic of "Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)".

The aim of the three-day event at the Bildungshaus St. Michael in Matrei am Brenner was to bring together teaching staff from the University of Innsbruck in interdisciplinary teams to develop concepts for courses in the field of sustainable development.

A central concern of the PLA was therefore to develop course concepts with clear references to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a common understanding of learning outcomes and a focus on interdisciplinary team teaching. Thanks to the resources provided by the Rectorate and UniNEtZ, these concepts are to be implemented in the winter semester 2024.

On the first day of the PLA, the participants, who came from a total of 10 of the 16 faculties, were welcomed by Irene Häntschel-Ehrhart, Vice-Rector for Digitalisation and Sustainability, and Bernhard Fügenschuh, Vice-Rector for Teaching and Students, together with Prof. Dr Hans Stötter (UniNetZ) and the moderator team Franziska Allerberger, MSc. (UniNEtZ) and Mag. art. Bernhard Kernegger (University of Applied Arts Vienna).

The day began with a keynote speech by Prof. Dr Helga Kromp-Kolb (BOKU), followed by a lively discussion round. After a short break, the event continued with the premiere of the Future Box University, which was accompanied by an input from MMag. Helga Mayr, PhD (PHT) on ESD and transformative education.

Afterwards, the participants had the opportunity to give free rein to their creativity. This included the Crazy 8 process, followed by the further development of the ideas in groups and a presentation and discussion of these in plenary, which, together with the creation of profiles, served as a further discovery phase for the planned team teaching.

The second day of the PLA began with the presentation of LOUIS (Learning Outcomes in University for Impact on Society), a model for describing transversal learning outcomes, by Prof Dr Florian Freitag (University of Duisburg-Essen) and JUDr Maxim Tomoszek, PhD (Palacký University Olomouc). The two experts from the Aurora European Universities Alliance showed how LOUIS, with its intuitive progressive descriptors, can be used as a common language and tool for teaching development and for more transparency in the communication and assessment of learning outcomes.

From this point onwards, experts from a wide range of fields, including student representatives, were available to the teaching teams on call on site or by telephone (for individual SDGs) to work on the specific course concepts.

The day ended with the eagerly awaited elevator pitches, in which the participants presented their ideas and outlines for courses. After the pitches, a feedback round took place where the participants received valuable feedback from students, colleagues and experts to further improve their concepts.

On the third and final day of the event, Prof. Dr Mandy Singer-Brodowski (University of Regensburg, UNESCO ESD for 2030 programme) was available to the participants for a short keynote speech and, above all, for individual feedback.

Towards the end of the event, the teachers once again had the opportunity to present their course concepts to the students, their peers and the experts in order to receive further feedback/suggestions. The group then reflected on the most important takeaways from the event and how these findings could be integrated into their own practice as well as into university teaching development.

After three very labour-intensive days, which were accompanied by members of the Rectorate on site, a community of lecturers and students equipped with well-developed course concepts left the Bildungshaus St. Michael.

Thanks to the interdisciplinary cooperation on an equal footing and the commitment of all participants, the university's range of courses in winter semester 2024 will be enriched by no fewer than eight innovative, interdisciplinary, learning outcome-oriented courses. These courses will make a visible contribution to further development towards sustainability.

Further steps

The planned courses, but also the PLA as a (pilot) format and platform for the innovative further development of university teaching, will be discussed in the coming semester with regard to their effectiveness and suitability in order to be stabilised depending on the results of these discussions.

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