Beyond Bushfire Preparedness: Evaluating the impact of a higher education sustainability unit on bushfire-related attitudes and behaviours

Presentation


Jones, Penelope, Flies, Emily J., Hughes, Jessica E. and Anderson, Carina. 2023. "Beyond Bushfire Preparedness: Evaluating the impact of a higher education sustainability unit on bushfire-related attitudes and behaviours." Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME 2023). Tasmania, Australia 30 Aug - 01 Sep 2023 Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Beyond Bushfire Preparedness: Evaluating the impact of a higher education sustainability unit on bushfire-related attitudes and behaviours

Presentation TypePresentation
AuthorsJones, Penelope, Flies, Emily J., Hughes, Jessica E. and Anderson, Carina
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME 2023)
Journal Citationpp. 42-42
Number of Pages1
Year2023
Place of PublicationAustralia
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://openjournals.library.sydney.edu.au/IISME/article/view/17379
Web Address (URL) of Conference Proceedingshttps://openjournals.library.sydney.edu.au/IISME/issue/view/1181
Conference/EventAustralian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME 2023)
Event Details
Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME 2023)
Parent
Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education
Delivery
In person
Event Date
30 Aug 2023 to end of 01 Sep 2023
Event Location
Tasmania, Australia
Abstract

BACKGROUND

Sustainability education plays a key role in addressing the sustainability crisis: it supports an empowered and informed citizenry who actively negotiate, create, and implement solutions. However, to achieve this, sustainability education must do more than transmit knowledge: it must empower and motivate students to take action. This raises key questions for sustainability educators: (1) how can we design units that change behaviours (and/or the antecedents of behaviours) so that students can be informed and active agents for sustainability in their communities; and (2) are units that have been designed to facilitate such changes successful in doing so. Despite considerable investment of resources in sustainability education, few units are evaluated rigorously for impact. Thus, gaps exist in our understanding of the contextual and pedagogical determinants of effectiveness, and the complexities of students’ perceptions and responses to the competing values inherent in sustainability challenges. This study seeks to expand knowledge in this field through a case study of a unit offered via the University of Tasmania’s Diploma of Sustainable Living: Living with Fire (LwF).

AIMS

This study aims to understand how LwF impacts student attitudes, self-efficacy and behaviours related to bushfire, and generate learnings for sustainability and bushfire preparedness education.

DESCRIPTION OF INTERVENTION

LwF is a fully online undergraduate diploma unit, targeted primarily at non-traditional adult learners. Its design is based on personally relevant, authentic experiential learning, grounded in global sustainability concepts and a transdisciplinary perspective on wildfire. The unit encourages critical reflection and assessment of bushfire risk in one’s own home and community through practical activities and assessments, and contextualises bushfire risk reduction through a sustainability lens.

DESIGN AND METHODS

We address our research questions using a before-after mixed methods approach . This combines (1) a survey capturing bushfire related attitudes, perspectives and behaviours, applied at course commencement, course completion, and twelve months after completion; and (2) focus groups .

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

The first tranche of data collection is currently underway with Semester 1 2023 LwF students. This presentation will present results from this initial cohort, providing quantitative and qualitative insights on the impacts of LwF on the perspectives and behaviours of this group. These findings will provide important information about key elements required in the design of sustainability education to facilitate citizen engagement and achieve sustainability goals within communities .

Keywordssustainability, bushfire, online learning, transformative learning, experiential learning
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020370299. Climate change science not elsewhere classified
3999. Other Education
Public Notes

Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Tasmania
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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