Creating connections between teaching and campus operations for authentic learning
Pharo, EJ and Peterson, C and Zwart, RJ, Creating connections between teaching and campus operations for authentic learning, Connections in Higher Education , 2-5 July 2012, Hobart, Tasmania EJ (2012) [Conference Extract]
Did you know that the rubbish bins on the Sandy Bay campus of UTas, on a randomly selected day, might hold 59 kg of waste, and include such choice items as 0.5 kg of cigarette butts, a hot water bottle, a sneaker, 30 raw sausages, a metal drain cover, and 11 kg of compostable scraps? Students in KGA381 Environmental Impact Assessment know because they generated the data in collaboration with the sustainability section of Property Services. Waste audits are one of the authentic learning activities made possible by the University of Tasmania’s Academic Operations Sustainability Integration Program (AOSIP). We seek to connect with other academics that are interested in or have experience with connecting communities and operations across campus in order to provide excellent learning opportunities for students.
This AOSIP program is important for strengthening connections between teaching and the ‘real world’ within the university. This session will showcase the value of practical connections between teaching and campus operations for engaging students in motivating tasks in their own campus environment. Other activities within the program include writing environment management plans for our beautiful bushland reserve, data collection and analyses of travel to campus, and data collection on behaviour change around energy efficiency.
The enthusiastic reaction of students and the professional quality of their submissions is strong evidence that this is a highly effective approach. Many third year students have remarked that their university experience has been largely devoid of opportunities to engage with their community and our activities were important for learning skills that are in demand with employers, fulfilling their desire to address sustainability goals, and widening their network.