I use NVIVO9 to analyze these data. I can ask questions of NVIVO (a process called “running queries” in NVIVO jargon), such as how many times is the word “sustainability” used in syllabi? Is more than one element of sustainability is incorporated into courses? In addition to presenting the results of these queries, I also wish to let these data speak for themselves by discussing themes I found throughout faculty reflections and syllabi and providing illustrative quotes.
In this analysis, I focus on:
- the types of course changes implemented by discipline identified in syllabi and the elements of sustainability (social, economic, and environmental) that I coded in syllabi by discipline
- rich descriptions of courses informed by information contained in syllabi and reflections
- faculty motivation for participating in the sustainable curriculum workshop and making course changes, identified in reflections
To analyze these data, I first had to develop nodes, or thematic “tags” that I can use to point to a particular piece of data. For example, if I noticed that faculty members were speaking positively about integrating sustainability into their courses and wanted to analyze faculty attitude towards modifying courses, I could create a node in NVIVO called “positivity” and code text that suggested an upbeat attitude about sustainability concepts to that node.
I created three main groups of nodes: 1) course changes, 2) elements of sustainability, and 3) faculty definitions of sustainability and motivations, which are shown below.
1. A list of course changes was developed from a survey done by Barlett and Rappaport (2009) of faculty members at Tufts and Emory University. This survey asked faculty members that had taken part in a sustainability across the curriculum workshop to select all course changes that applied to the course they modified: 1) a new unit, 2) new assignment, 3) course orientation and 4) readings. I adapted this list and added to it; first, I use a broader term, media, to include not only readings but videos and podcasts and second, I distinguish between a course reorientation that is singularly focused on sustainability (“Orientation, significant”) and a course reorientation that includes sustainability as a key theme or objective (“Orientation, theme”). I also added a node for in-class activities as well as delivery, which I use to refer to the ways in which courses are presented to students (i.e. use of a course website, printing lecture notes, submitting assignments online). The results related to these nodes are located in the Course Changes webpage.
2. I wanted to be able to code both course changes and elements of the syllabi to the three elements of sustainability, so I created nodes that would indicate the presence of social, environmental and/or economic sustainability. The results related to these nodes are located in the Course Changes webpage.
3. Finally, I noticed in the course of coding syllabi and reflections that many faculty defined the term “sustainability” for themselves and/or their students and some faculty wrote about why they were motivated to integrate sustainability into their courses. I thus created nodes for these two themes and discuss them in the Faculty Motivation webpage.
Two final notes: first, the various websites I used to obtain the syllabi and reflections analyzed here used various methods to identify faculty members; some used full names and others used initials. I will provide as much identification of the faculty members as is provided on the websites from which I obtained these data. Second, after reading all of the reflections and syllabi, I feel confident but not completely certain that all of the course changes were made to existing courses.