The “Sustainability at Miami” Canvas course is now available for Miami University students. The course offers students the opportunity to learn about climate change and the actions Miami is taking to combat it.
Students can self-enroll in “Sustainability at Miami” at any time. The course takes about one hour to complete and can be done from anywhere, including students’ phones.
Adam Sizemore, director of sustainability, said the idea came from the Office of Sustainability’s goal to have a system to assess students’ knowledge of sustainability and climate change. This kind of assessment is a portion of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report which Miami submits to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) every three years.
Students who enroll will learn about climate change and what causes it, information about sustainable behaviors such as recycling and waste management and how they can involve their families and communities.
They will also learn about the Office of Sustainability, Miami president Greg Crawford’s Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment (PCLC) and the Climate Action Task Force and what each group does to make the university more sustainable.
Janet Hurn, senior director of eCampus for the regional campuses, and Kate Glass, instructional design specialist at the Middletown campus, worked together to create the course and make it engaging.
“We designed the modules to be interactive and deliver the material in an interactive and interesting way, not just, you know, read this,” Hurn said.
The course includes a pre-survey for students to assess their prior knowledge of sustainability, three modules accompanied by videos and interactive questions and an exit survey.
Sizemore said he hopes the course will expose students to what climate change is and what the university hopes to achieve going forward.
“There’s no one solution that’s going to get all of this out,” Sizemore said. “So we’ve been trying to think uniquely about how we’re going to push this out across campus and this was one way we thought we would do that.”
Sizemore said the modular form was Crawford’s idea. Susan Meikle, the communications chair of the Climate Action Task Force, said the module contains Crawford’s goals for the course and the team is taking input for a future version.
“President Crawford wanted students to learn about energy systems at Miami and climate change in general,” Meikle said. “We rounded it out with the other information which is one reason why some of the feedback we’ve gotten is like ‘Oh, we’ve learned a lot, this is great, but we were maybe expecting to see more about sustainability in general,’ which will probably appear in version 2.0.”
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Hurn said she enjoyed working on the course and that the topics addressed are important for the community to know about.
“I was very proud that our team was a part of it and that we worked together and had a lot of fun doing it,” Hurn said. “People don’t know what the university is doing in regards to sustainability a lot of times, and I think it’s one of the things that sets Miami apart from a lot of other schools.”