K. Julian

East Tennessee State University (UNITED STATES)
Education for sustainable development must at minimum, be structured that it achieves and assesses at least one measurable sustainable learning outcome. Objectives must be specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant as well as time bound with completion dates. It is a multi-faceted concept with many ideas beginning to coalesce to interconnect its dimensions. Incorporating sustainability pedagogy into curriculum is complex. “To think and act “comprehensively” about higher education internationalization benefits from sorting through the various ideas and concepts as well as understanding their place in the largest evolving picture.” (Hudzik 2015). In a perfect world, the course should have more than one sustainable learning outcome so that the sustainable learning outcomes cross student knowledge, development, attitudes, skills, and actions. “Internationalization of the curriculum is the incorporation of the international, intercultural, and/or global dimensions into the content of the curriculum as well as the learning outcomes, assessment tasks, teaching methods and support services of a program of study.” (Leask 2009). To achieve these objectives, the educator formulated a series of varied assignments in an attempt to gauge learning.

The instructor structured the course and assignment objectives using the SMART objectives model (specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Students were put in small groups and were asked to select and examine one of a list of descriptions/definitions. Students were then asked to prepare a report on its meaning, focus and what it adds to the discussion of internationalization and sustainability. For each topic, the instructor framed the topic by giving them a brief description. Students were then required to complete prereadings on the topics and watch related videos and then complete summary reflections. The students were assigned structured and non-structured reflections. The summary reflections provided an opportunity for differing and multiple perspectives and gave the instructor and their peers a more in depth feeling of any bias, preconceived notions and what was learned from the assignment.

Student reflections revealed the importance of transparency in the curriculum so that students clearly understood program expectations and reasoning for those expectations regarding internationalization and sustainability. For the students who had never been more than 50 miles away from campus the learning curve was more extreme as output and presentations revealed. That learning curve emphasized the importance of exposing students more frequently to a global environment. Overall, the student outcome summary was successful. Students' presentations revealed renewed interest in other cultures as well as sustainable methods used by those cultures for the built environment. Future projects may require more collaboration and partnerships with international services due to the nature of the content. Reflections and evaluations also revealed that industry participation and outside speakers reinforcing readings and instructor input could be beneficial. This presentation will discuss activities based on the SMART objectives model that include topic specific sustainable materials identification, online modules, application exercises on and off campus and intercultural communication promoting sustainable principles and practices.