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OER Faculty Fellow Marcella Recher on incorporating OER into sustainability studies

by Marcella Recher

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Sustainability courses are interdisciplinary in nature; they involve looking at interrelationships among contemporary environmental, social and economic problems.  Consequently, it is difficult to find a textbook that covers all these topics. It becomes necessary to rely on multiple books/resources when teaching sustainability studies courses. This past summer I looked for OER materials to include in a digital course pack for the SUST 101 Intro to Sustainability Studies course. I also sought out case studies to use in class to help students develop a more comprehensive understanding of how individual topics fit into the “big picture”.

Equipped with information from the OER workshop, I found several excellent sources for case studies on contemporary sustainability topics. I incorporated a number of case studies into the SUST 101 curriculum. I also created an OER course pack comprised of articles, websites, audio tracks, TED talks and excerpts from books maintained in the RWU online library. With the help of the IT instructional design staff, I made the course pack available to students on Bridges. As current events unfold, I will be able to easily add updated news and articles.

To date, I have received some favorable feedback on the case studies from students and plan to do more in-depth assessment of whether the students feel the OER materials supports their class work.

 

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Marcella Recher Bio: After receiving her Ph.D. in Environmental Management from Vanderbilt University, Marcella spent close to a decade in industry consulting with Fortune 500 companies on a wide range of sustainability initiatives. She joined RWU as an Adjunct Faculty member of the Sustainability Studies program in Spring of 2016.

 

Source of image: adapted from the case Global Climate Change: Evidence and Causes  found at http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/collection/detail.asp?case_id=478&id=478

Description: The United States Capitol Building in Washington DC, framed with the Supreme Court columns.

Author: ©Michael Shake Source: Dreamstime.com, ID: 11882582 Clearance: Licensed royalty free.