How did it work to study completely at a distance?
- The programme was rich in online materials, which made studying online rather easy. Most prescribed texts were available from the university library in e-copy and I believe throughout the whole course of study I bought only one book in hard copy. The programme's online platform was well-structured, with good instructions on the expected readings, topic descriptions and assessment items.
Of course, the biggest disadvantage of online studies is that one does not get to meet people in person and there is no opportunity to have a chat with the lecturers after a class. I thought that I would miss the "social component" that I was so used to in my previous face-to-face studies. However, I was surprised to see how active my fellow students and most lecturers were in the online forums! We had great discussions online, supported by video classes and interactive seminars during which students had the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback. And there was also a very active Facebook ESD group which allowed us to informally meet and greet online. Some of us ESD-ers are in touch until today via various social media and I really value that. In hindsight, this was a great experience for me and I would be happy to study online again as it gives me the most flexibility and allows for life to happen while studying.
What has the education led to?
- The ESD study gave me a whole new perspective on the areas I had studied thus far. It made me more critical about what I know and the programme enhanced my knowledge of sustainable development as well as new research methods and approaches to SD. It also gave me a deep understanding of the teaching and learning methodologies relevant to SD. Before embarking on the ESD programme, I was working in academia and international development for quite some time, but I felt that I wanted to bring about real transformational change towards more sustainable development. I wanted to create more impact in my daily work and design learning environments that are capable of transforming participants' value systems towards more sustainability. Building on my current understanding of learning theories and their practical application, I feel much better equipped to embed ESD in tertiary education as well as in capacity development on the ground.