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The Environmental Web: Small Island States online activity

A case study of a sequence of individual and group online activities within an undergraduate course in environmental scienceOU

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mary thorpe
7 May 2009

This cloud provides a link to a paper published in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology in 2008: Effective Online Interaction: Mapping course design to bridge from research to practice. The paper describes the way in which 'The Environmental Web' (a core course within the Open University Environmental Studies degree) includes a designed sequence of individual followed by group online activity, taken forward into the first assignment on the course.

Students prepare for an online group role play as members of the Association of Small Island States, by searching and analyzing information from the Web about the small island state which they have been assigned by their tutor. Each student makes proposals to their group about the requirements of their small island for actions and reparations by the United Nations. The group has to agree on a statement made as if to the UN about actions and reparations that would be sent from AOSIS representing the needs of small island states in their group. This promotes evaluation of data and synthesis of competing views and priorities around sustainable development. The first assignment gives 35% of the marks for reflection on the process of online interaction and consensus making.

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