The Ultimate Challenge: An Organic Development

A significant challenge in developing sustainability education is to ensure the approaches used to do so are themselves sustainable. The presenters at the CoP meeting on the 18th February (Bland Tomkinson, Rosemary Tomkinson, Helen Dobson, Fumi Kitagawa, Alexander Clark, Veronica Sanchez and Anna Hiley) discussed ways in which this challenge has been addressed at the University of Manchester and in collaborations with other UK and international institutions.


They discussed the rationale for and nature of the problem based approaches used on courses, the reactions of students to those projects and the ways in which collaborations and the work done to foster those collaborations has led to the ongoing organic development and proliferation of these approaches. The discussion is rich and well worth engaging with if you’re interested in sustainability education and its development and problem based learning.


Please find here a recording of the presentation and the related slides (each slide indicates the part of the recording it pertains to):

University of Manchester Community of Practice Sustainability in the Curriculum presentation by Ragged University on Mixcloud





 Key questions 

The presenters raised the following questions that they  were keen for anyone interested to consider and respond to:

  • Should we look at ESD in the wider context of CSR/global citizenship?
  • Do EBL /PBL approaches work for everyone?
  • How can we run student-focussed sessions without extra resources?

You can respond to these questions via the forum area (see top menu bar). You do not need to register to respond to these questions. Simply navigate to the relevant question and start typing.

Resources and references

Slide 5: Tomkinson B, Tomkinson R, Dobson H and Engel C (2008). “Education for Sustainable Development the RAEng pilot course unit”. International Journal of Sustainable Engineering. Vol. 1. No. 1

Slide 31: Problem based learning: A case study of sustainability education

Slide 32: ESD MEP Workbook 2015

Slide 33:  ESD Finland Handbook 2013ESD MEP Workbook 2015


 Slide 35: Hatton & Smith (1995) [accessed 18.3.15]

Slide 37: Guidance notes to support the development of creative problem-solving skills to address open-ended and wicked problems (please contact Anna Hiley) : [email protected]

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