Executive Summary

Our project has three primary goals

  1. Student support for the 2013/14 course. This will ensure that that the resources are available to allow students to become comfortable talking in different interdisciplinary languages, and to foster small group collaboration between students from different departments.
  2. To create and maintain online content relevant to the course for access to students across the University and potentially to the wider world via futurelearn.
  3. To prime enhanced activity and awareness of issues surrounding sustainability, and provide impetus to the inclusion of further faculties and collaborators at other institutions (e.g. Monash) in future version of this course, or in other additional activities.

Item 1 will be provided by the training and development of PhD students in each department involved to run seminars on the course (they will also attend it, and have meetings together to encourage discussion of pedagogy between them). These seminars will then break down the cohort of students into small groups, deliberately mixed between the different faculties involved. Over the course we will circulate these groups to a PhD student from each of the 5 different departments involved in the teaching so that they have an experience of small group teaching from each department, and can work together in interdisciplinary groups.

Item 2 simply requires manpower to create and maintain online content for the course, including creation of multi-choice questions, archiving of lectures etc. This will provide a valuable resource for students unable to attend some aspects of the course due to (inevitable) lecture clashes, but will also form the backbone of material should the course be rolled out to a broader audience, for example via futurelearn.

Item 3 will initially take place as screenings of relevant environmental themed films (such as “An inconvenient truth”, “Chasing Ice”, and others. These will be advertised widely and will be open to all undergraduate students. Each film will start with a brief introduction from one of the course team. This will raise awareness amongst undergraduates as to the issues involved, but may also provide a route to extending the course to include elements from the Faculty of Arts in the longer run (e.g. by including elements about how Climate Change is portrayed in film and the written word).

Our course will be available across the University and we hope to reach as many students as possible via our activities. Optimistically the course could attract 50 students from each of the departments involved, while a recent taster session also included students from 8 different departments. Item 3 is specifically aimed at raising awareness of the course and the issues to the broader student body.