Rate your course

Feedback from our pilot

Based on the quality principles you saw in the last section, we developed and tested some criteria to rate the quality of sustainability learning in courses and assign a medal. The film below will give you an idea of what this is about BUT based on student feedback we made some changes you’ll see in the final criteria below. To find out more about these changes and why we made them, visit the main project website here.

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Course rating criteria

Undergraduate rating criteria

No medal

No relevant sustainability learning e.g. no medal if issues are labelled ‘financial sustainability’ or ‘social sustainability’ but treated separately, without any links to the environment; or environmental teaching happens without any social and economic view

Bronze

At least once in a compulsory module or unit
Relevant teaching where the content has an authentic joined-up sustainability approach – e.g. ‘equality’ or ‘wellbeing’ is clearly linked to the environment, not treated as a separate issue

Silver

At least once in a compulsory module or unit

Either

an assessment where joined-up sustainability knowledge and subject knowledge are applied together

OR

Relevant teaching where the content has an authentic joined-up sustainability approach (like at bronze) AND the teaching ALSO has a decolonial focus

Gold

In a compulsory module or unit at each level (i.e. 1st , 2nd and 3rd year if you are a full-time student on a 3-year undergraduate course)

Either

an assessment where joined-up sustainability knowledge and subject knowledge are applied together

OR

Relevant teaching where the content has an authentic joined-up sustainability approach (like at bronze) AND the teaching ALSO has a decolonial focus

Postgraduate taught course rating criteria

No medal

No relevant sustainability learning e.g. no medal if issues are labelled ‘financial sustainability’ or ‘social sustainability’ but treated separately, without any links to the environment; or environmental teaching happens without any social and economic view

Bronze

At least once in a compulsory module or unit
Relevant teaching where the content has an authentic joined-up sustainability approach – e.g. ‘equality’ or ‘wellbeing’ is clearly linked to the environment, not treated as a separate issue

Silver

At least once in a compulsory module or unit
Either
learning activity in one core module or unit, beyond just taught content, either as informal assessment or a skills development exercise
OR
Relevant teaching where the content has an authentic joined-up sustainability approach (like at bronze) AND the teaching ALSO has a decolonial focus

Gold

At least once in a compulsory module or unit
Joined up sustainability learning linked to one assessed element

Test your knowledge – rate these examples

Rating sustainability - Practice Exercise

Here are 4 made up examples of modules and courses – see how you would rate them, then see what we think…

1 / 4

Business module – level 4 [this module is compulsory]

Students are introduced to the workings of the global music industries. Students are introduced to the global goals framework and the concept of the triple bottom line, and encouraged to think about how they can apply the goals as within the music business.

2 / 4

Postgraduate programme in Education

Students attend a compulsory session with Education for Sustainability (EfS) focused content. They take part in class exercises requiring them to actively apply EfS thinking, and discuss and evaluate best EfS practice - but these exercises are not formally assessed.

3 / 4

Sport module – level 5 [this module is compulsory]

Students look at how sport is used for international development. They look at a range of sporting organisations and their response to development needs in the context of issues like influencing social justice, equality or wellbeing.

4 / 4

Architecture course

Sustainability is very strong and clear in both the module content and assessment at level 4, 5 and 6 of this course. Students can see the relationships between people, the environment and economy. Students work on live briefs with industry partners – critically addressing sustainability through a strong employability focus.

Your score is

The average score is 54%

0%

Rate your course

Now you’re familiar with our quality principles and rating criteria, you should be able to rate your own course with confidence!

Try to keep this focused on your lived experience and what you’ve noticed/not in your learning so far.

To help make your rating, think about:

  • Which modules/units you remember that had joined-up sustainability learning
  • What levels the modules/units were at – was it first year, second year, post grad etc.
  • Whether the important sustainability modules/units were compulsory or optional (no medal)
  • What the assessment/s asked you to do if you rated the course silver or gold
 
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Tip – if you are only in 1st or 2nd year, see if you can team up with people in other years to get a more full picture of what medal your course should achieve

Remember, we’re looking at compulsory modules or units so all students get the learning, but if you can think of good optional examples, make a note of them – our ‘take action’ section will help you explore ways you could support your course to build the good bits into compulsory content.

Profile image of Roberta Davico
Profile image of Katie Gard

Tip – try not to let yourself get stuck on things like whether your lectures use too much printing paper, and look at the broader issue – the learning itself.