In March 2016 the Environmental Justice Institute (EJI) has received funding for its StartUp idea of establishing virtual classroom seminars on Environmental Justice (and related topics) at universities across the globe simultaneously (for more information click here). The idea is to deliver one lecture to students from several universities at the same time. With help of Adobe Connect the EJI seeks to bring together students and staff from different countries, disciplines, and background. Thereby the EJI seeks to contribute to its own goals of strengthening internationality, trans-disciplinary thinking and ‐ with respect to overcoming the disciplinary tunnel view and thinking out of the box; inter-disciplinarity. For the upcoming German summer term (from April to July 2016) a pilot seminar has been organized between the University of British Columbia and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem hosted by the Freie Universität Berlin. The seminar pilot will deal with the topic of "Climate Change and Climate Justice ‐ multilevel climate governance and vulnerability".
The approach starts with, without being limited to, the partners from the University Alliance for Sustainability. Several established experts and current researchers in the field of environmental justice like John Dryzek, Miranda Schreurs, Itay Fishhendler, Arivaldo Santos de Souza, Johanna Seidel, Bastian Stössel, and Francesca Rosignoli, among others, have agreed to deliver a talk in this new environment.
At the end of the pilot, the teaching evaluation of the course will be published alongside an internal q study on how this teaching method was met by the participants.
Virtual classroom trainings are a unique opportunity for a (relatively) young field of research like Environmental Justice on the global scale. The environmental question is - more than many other academic topics - first and foremost a global question. The challenge deals with problems that require a glocal perspective. Even though this insight is already established and accepted, the teaching approaches at universities still lag behind. Most research activities in the academic world do not benefit from the deep knowledge that is collected in various regions of the world. If learning within the virtual classroom can be established, the positive impacts must not be underestimated.
These are basically the following:
1) Strengthening of exchange and connectedness in academia
2) Production of sustainable knowledge via recording of the sessions (see here)
3) Combining the strengths of both virtual and presence learing by applying Blended Learning
We want to encourage the network of people in the field of environmental justice research from around the globe to join this initiative either as individual academics or as an academic institution for collaboration.
For further information on this project, please visit our website. There you also find an email address to contact the E-Learning team.