Texts - Reviewed Column
The article presents the results of the first phase of evaluation research conducted on a group of participants in a course for coordinators of environmental education, managed by the Pavucina Network of Environmental Education Centers. The evaluation analyzes the way participants reflect upon their on-going studies. The group of participants is very heterogeneous and they understand the course on several semantic levels. An important factor for interpretation of the studies seems to be the participants’ previous experience in environmental education, which in some cases may be a barrier to their further professional growth. The second important factor is the group itself as the environment where participants construct their personal interpretations of the course content.
The main issue of the paper is to show how the educational aspects of the sustainable development concept or various aspects of education for sustainable development are monitored and evaluated on the international level. Based on a content analysis of selected documents related to the above concepts, as well as on the analysis of the indicator sets that these documents follow, the authors state that the indicators that monitor and evaluate progress in sustainable development and education are mostly procedural and quantitative ones. The authors emphasize that the concept of sustainable development is strongly value and attitude oriented, and changes in values and attitudes are, inter alia, affected by different types of education. Thus they suggest widening the existing indicator sets (related to sustainable development strategies, as well as to strategies of education for sustainable development), and adding changes in human values and attitudes to the indicators for monitoring and evaluating.
Jana Dlouhá, Jiří Dlouhý, Andrew Barton: Education using e-learning methodology at a higher education level – potential for supporting regional cooperation and promoting of a European Learning Space in the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development
n the sphere of higher education, the ability to communicate and collaborate across the boundaries of a nation, culture and discipline is one of the basic competences required for sustainable development. A multi-dimensional approach that addresses both the academic community and local/regional actors and decision-makers is needed, and thematic networks of diverse regional partners are often built to cooperate on practical issues that require particular expertise and/or have a learning dimension. Because of this network character, the complex issue of sustainable development can be inter-related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and tools, and virtual collaborative learning used as an ideal learning environment to develop trans-boundary abilities, so that the participants experience differences in perspective in a very direct way and have to come to a joint solution of any given problem.
This article presents a brief review of experiences in e-learning used within an international network of cooperating universities with the vision to promote an open European Learning Space and provide a platform for interdisciplinary and intercultural knowledge and experience required to understand sustainability at the European level. Together with a theoretical reflection upon the theme, this analysis should permit generalized and extended usability of the e-learning methodology across diverse contexts of higher education, and potentially include other regional institutions to support the establishment of a regional partnership within Regional Centers of Expertise (RCE).
The proposed methodology is intended primarily for public administration employees who make decisions on the distribution of funds to support formal and informal environmental education programs.
The aim of the presented methodology is to define the basic terminology for evaluating environmental education programs, describe the basic stages of the evaluation cycle, characterize the basic alternative procedures for evaluating programs, and finally, to identify the basic requirements for evaluation research.
Development of the methodology is based on the assumption that the evaluation research in the medium term will become an integral part of environmental education programs. To achieve this objective requires that officials are familiar with the theme and gain a basic understanding of the opportunities and needs of the assessment procedures.
The author has long been dedicated to the creation and use of modern forms of teaching in the field of environmental economics, policy and management. In the past year he has prepared several materials suitable for exercises used in the above course within economically-oriented bachelor degree colleges. Specifically, this relates to simple economic laboratory experiments for educational purposes, problems solved with the active participation of students, etc., and always with computer support. With an appropriate explanation of the relevant theories, concepts and methods, a teacher can also use these materials for students from other disciplines. They could be applied particularly to summer schools. In addition to deepening knowledge of the environment, this approach can lead to students’ practicing their knowledge and skills in quantitative analyses. Most teaching materials are ready for routine use by computer-assisted classroom teachers. Some materials are designed to assist individual student work and can be applied in the e-learning format of a course. The paper briefly presents the prepared materials and their potential for teaching/learning.
 See Gregou, S. Introduction. In: VCSE Best Practice Guidebook, Virtual Campus for Sustainable Europe, 2008. [Online] [2010-08-20] Available from http://www.czp.cuni.cz/vcsewiki/index.php/VCSE_Best_Practice_Guidebook, pp. 6–7