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Moving Universities: A Case Study on the Use of Unconferencing for Facilitating Sustainability Learning in a Swiss University

Author

Listed:
  • Patricia Wolf

    () (Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC), Center for Organizational and Occupational Sciences, Kreuzplatz 5, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland)

  • Peter Troxler

    () (unbla.org, Hügelstrasse 40, CH-8002 Zürich, Switzerland)

  • Ralf Hansmann

    () (Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), Department of Environmental Sciences, ETH Zurich, Sonneggstrasse 33, ETH SOL F.7, CH-8092, Zurich, Switzerland)

Abstract

Unconferencing is a method for organizing social learning which could be suitable to trigger sustainability learning processes. An unconference is defined as participant-driven meeting that tries to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as top-down organization, one-way communication and power-relationships based on titles, formal hierarchies and status. This paper presents a case study on the application of unconferencing in a large Swiss university (ETH Zurich) where an unconference was conducted to engage students, academics, staff and external experts in a mutual learning process aimed at the development of project ideas for reducing its CO 2 emissions. The study analyzes how the unconferencing format initiated and promoted sustainability oriented group processes during the unconference, and in how far the projects which were developed contributed to a reduction of the university’s CO 2 emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Wolf & Peter Troxler & Ralf Hansmann, 2011. "Moving Universities: A Case Study on the Use of Unconferencing for Facilitating Sustainability Learning in a Swiss University," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(6), pages 1-22, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:6:p:875-896:d:12819
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Huffman, Wallace E. & Norton, George W. & Traxler, Greg & Frisvold, George B. & Foltz, Jeremy D., 2006. "Winners and Losers: Formula versus Competitive Funding of Agricultural Research," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 21(4).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Micangeli & Vincenzo Naso & Emanuele Michelangeli & Apollonia Matrisciano & Francesca Farioli & Nicola P. Belfiore, 2014. "Attitudes toward Sustainability and Green Economy Issues Related to Some Students Learning Their Characteristics: A Preliminary Study," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 1-20, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unconferencing; group processes; mutual learning; organizational learning; sustainability learning; sustainable university; CO 2 emissions; CO 2 reduction; sustainable development;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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