Event report BUP Teachers Course 2022-2023
After a Corona break, we were once again able to arrange the BUP Teachers Course for the study year 2022–2023. This course is organised by the BUP Associated Secretariat and the National Centre in Finland, located at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Åbo Akademi University. The course teachers were PhD Cecilia Lundberg and MSc Sinikka Suomalainen from Åbo Akademi University, and PhD Shepherd Urenje from Uppsala University.
The aim of the course, or study process, is to support university teachers to integrate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into their teaching and courses/programmes, to strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The layout of the course
During the course, different learning methods were introduced with a focus on e-learning, peer learning, and workshops. As a learning outcome, each participant planned and developed a Change project to improve the integration of ESD in their current or future work. The Change projects were supported by peer reviews via the e-platform and during the workshops. During the workshops, keynotes with a focus on learning in Higher Education at the hosting university were also part of the program.
As in previous years, this was the fourth time the course was given, the program is built on the following parts:
- E-learning: Introduction of Sustainability and Climate change (Moodle). Planning of the individual project, the so-called Change project.
- Workshop (1): Sustainable development with emphasis on learning environments and ESD methodology. October 11–13, 2022 at Tallinn University, Estonia.
- Work with the change project in special interest groups. Documentation and communication via Moodle. Assignments and tasks on Moodle.
- Workshop (2): Critical reflection – taking the Change Project forward. The latest phase of the Change projects was presented and discussed. March 2–3, 2023 at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania.
The course was an international learning environment with 21 participants from 6 countries representing different disciplines and subjects.
The course corresponds to 5 ECTS credit points (133 hours) at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Åbo Akademi University, Finland. All participants that have all assignments, including the Change project, approved, and have participated in at least one of the workshops (compensatory task if you were not able to attend more than one workshop), will get a course certificate.
Evaluation of the BUP Teachers Course
The feedback after both workshops generated an average mark of 4,5/5. There was a 91 percent reply rate in the evaluation.
Most of the participants, giving a mark of 4,25/5, gained new insights about ESD which they will try to apply in their own teaching.
The participants gave a valuable and constructive evaluation of their opinions on the outcomes of the course and how it supported their own learning and teaching. Some quotes from the evaluations:
"It motivated me to systemize my ideas about how I want to change the content of my course."
"Meeting new colleagues and understanding how they run their courses was very valuable for me."
"The most important part of the course for me was the work with the Change project and the teamwork during the whole process."
- A vast majority, a mark of 4,5/5, found the overall content of the workshops relevant.
- The participants were pleased with the practical arrangements of the meeting, a mark of 4,45/5.
- The meeting was well organised in time and location, a mark of 4,55/5, according to the participants.
- The lectures were well received by the participants with a mark of 4.,5/5.
Voices of participants
Andżelika Kuźnar - Participant from Warsaw School of Economics (SGH)
I decided to attend the course because I wanted to improve my teaching skills. I also wanted to get some help revising the content of one of my courses and incorporating SDG issues into it. Finally, I hoped to find a community of like-minded teachers with whom I could establish long-term professional relationships.
I really enjoyed the face-to-face meetings, in Tallinn and Kaunas. It allowed me to meet new people from completely different academic areas and with different perspectives on teaching. The workshops opened my eyes and made me realize that education for sustainable development is really important and easy to implement in any course you teach.
I have redesigned my course, so starting next academic year it will include an SDG component. It will also aim to develop the key competencies of the future (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication). I have also made new friends, so I’ll definitely take all this with me.
Farid Karimi - Participant from University of Jyväskylä
My primary expectation from the course was to apply the SDGs in the teaching and learning methods in practice. In other words, how to operationalise SDGs in learning and teaching. Furthermore, I had wished to learn more about educational technology that could be helpful to use for my teaching concerning SDGs. Eventually, I hope we can write a paper on this interesting topic with colleagues who participate in this course.
The best parts of the BUP Teachers Course were: receiving inspiriting and helpful tips from the lecturers on our change plans/courses and meeting new colleagues from various Baltic Sea countries and learning from their experience.
I brought with me some practical techniques to improve my teaching method, as well as a rich network of colleagues in the region, both from the participants and lecturers.
Lesia Myklash - Participant from Lviv Polytechnic National University
I have been planning to develop an English course that can help MSc students implement some sustainability ideas into their projects. I thought this was a great opportunity to receive the packet of tools, knowledge and skills on the subject.
The greatest part of the course was that it was a good training pool to advance one's teaching potential on implementing sustainable development ideas into higher education. In particular, you can meet one-minded people from various international academic settings who are all motivated and active and share their experience and knowledge during participation in the off-line workshops and through doing tasks on the Moodle platform and messages on-line.
And finally, I want to say that various countries due to their specific features can contribute to the sustainability mosaics pattern and the BUP Teachers Course plays its crucial role in that activity.
Images from BUP Teachers Course
Participants during workshop 1 in Tallinn, October 2022, from the left: Andżelika Kuźnar, Warsaw School of Economics; Živilė Stankevičiūtė, Kaunas Technical University, and Aleksandra Kekkonen, Estonian Business School.
Participants during workshop 1 in Tallinn, October 2022, from the left: Julia Kulkova, University of Turku, and Maria Ivanova-Gongne, Åbo Akademi University.