The EUSTEPs module is designed to equip university students with science-based knowledge, multidisciplinary skills, and the trans-disciplinary mindset needed to play a critical role in our societal effort towards sustainability, thus allowing students to be best prepared for the future labour market.

The module embraces a hands-on, experiential approach to sustainability teaching. By presenting sustainability in the context of everyday life rather than through a mere abstract teaching of intangible theories and concepts, it allows students to understand, realize, and learn the full complexity of the economy-society-environment relationships, and helps them grasp how sustainability relates to the whole spectrum of daily life. This module will allow students to learn about sustainability and the human-environment relationship as well as track their own individual Footprints. Discussing their results and behaviour decisions with peers will shape a “learning by group discussion” process.

The EUSTEPs Sustainability module is built on two core elements:

  1. Sustainability is presented and addressed as a multi- and trans-disciplinary issue that spans across all fields of educations, all spheres of life, and all sectors of the economy.
  2. Teaching is conducted in a highly interactive way, in which students experience first-hand the cross-cutting, holistic and interactive nature of sustainability by assessing and debating their own behaviour and how it influences their personal “Footprint”.

The EUSTEPs module is primarily intended for undergraduate students (for all course and degree type) and postgraduate students with no specific environmental science background. The total length of the EUSTEPs core module is six hours of frontal instruction, with the possibility to extent it up to 12 academic lesson-hours through the inclusion of optional lessons. The EUSTEPs module corresponds to about 1-1.5 ECTS workload (depending on university rules).

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Unit Name

Unit Length

Expected Learning Outcomes (ELO)

Competence

Pedagogies

Class exercises and activities

Understanding sustainability: from theory to practice…and back
1 academic hour
  • Entry level of understanding of the sustainability concept and related issues
  • Module overview and objective
  • Personal involvement
  • Empathy and change of perspective
  • Mind, Cognitive and Conceptual Maps
  • Lecturing
  • C-map
Ecological Overshoot
1 academic hour
  • Realize the concept of planetary limits and how they affect, and are affected by, human activities,
  • Realize the importance of knowledge and cooperation in avoiding ecological overshoot.
  • Empathy and change of perspective, to be able to develop their self-awareness and awareness of others’ perspective
  • Lecturing
  • Supply chain/Life Cycle Thinking
  • “Fisher for a day” Game
Sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
1 academic hour
  • Acquire the definition of sustainability and its main aspects (environment, economy, society)
  • What SDGs are & which is their role.
  • Systems-thinking and handling of complexity
  • Normative competences and knowledge of SDGs: context and specificities
  • Lecturing
  • Videos
  • Presentation
Introduction to Ecological Footprint (EF)
2 academic hour
  • What EF is
  • The unit of measure of EF
  • Factors constituting EF
  • The usefulness of EF
  • EF and other types of footprints and their respective calculation methods and calculators,
  • The usefulness of EF as a sustainability indicator
  • The relationship of SDGs with EF.
  • Normative competences
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Resource Accounting skills
  • Assessment and valuation
  • Lecturing
  • Presentation
Your Personal Ecological Footprint
2 academic hour
  • Realize their personal EF,
  • Realize the gap between personal EF and resources availability,
  • Identify possible solutions for reducing their personal EF,
  • Implement these solutions and alternative choices and assess their impact on the planet,
  • Consider why EF is an evaluation tool and how it differs from other evaluation tools regarding its specific advantages.
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Personal involvement
  • Empathy and change of perspective
  • Justice, responsibility, and ethics.
  • Supply chain/Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Lecturing
  • EF Calculator
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Sustainability
2 academic hour
  • Realize the many ways in which HEIs can and are dealing with sustainability issues,
  • Understand the different aspects of HEIs’ sustainability,
  • Be aware of the various tools assessing universities sustainability.
  • Normative competences
  • Assessment and valuation
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Personal involvement (Site-visit)
  • Interpersonal competences (Site-visit)
  • Case studies
  • Lecturing
  • Site Visit
  • Data search and analysis
EUSTEPs module closure
1 academic hour
  • Realize what they have learned during the module,
  • Learn about existing sustainability solutions and debate about them with the class,
  • Be willing to be engaged in sustainability action in their daily life and their University.
  • Strategic competences
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Anticipatory thinking or futures thinking
  • Interpersonal competences
  • Mind, Cognitive and Conceptual Maps
  • Lecturing
  • C-map

Educators interested in implementing this module in their own courses are encouraged to contact us for more information, including how to track students’ learning outcomes.