Course Changes by Discipline (Syllabi Analysis)
To address her main research question, Kociolek had run matrix queries on the data. The first matrix helped her answer the question: what types of course changes are coded in syllabi for each discipline? Each cell represents a raw number of syllabi in a given discipline that were coded to a particular course change. Please note that there are different numbers of syllabi assigned to each discipline, so comparing higher or lower numbers in each cell across disciplines should be done with caution. However, we can look at the total number of course changes to get a sense of the most common and least common changes in this pool. Nine of the 18 syllabi either modified an existing assignment or created a new assignment to incorporate sustainability. Eleven of 18 syllabi added “media” with sustainability content, which I define as readings, video, audio, course materials, etc. Ten of the 18 total syllabi incorporated overarching objectives or guiding questions that would be referenced either in discussion, assignments, activities, course material, or media. No one type of course change appears to dominate any of the disciplines.
Given a high level of interest at Duke in modifying the “delivery,” or the ways in which courses are delivered (i.e. by going paperless) Kociolek was surprised that none of the syllabi were coded to making changes in the delivery. Kociolek was also surprised that only 1 course dedicated a discrete unit to sustainability. However, this may be a function of the fact that other faculty members, like C. Capra, realize[d] that the environment is intertwined with everything [they] teach. Discussing it separately, isolated from other topics, is simply not right (C. Capra, Reflection).
Barlett and Rappaport (2009) found that at Emory University and Tufts, the top pedagogical innovations employed by surveyed faculty members were new units or modules in an existing course; 64% of courses had new units or modules at Emory, compared to 63% at Tufts. This result is quite different than what Kociolek found in my analysis, which may be a function of a number of things, including my inherently subjective interpretation of faculty reflections and syllabi, the small sample size (N = 18), a failure to include certain course changes/innovations in the reflection and syllabi posted on the workshop websites, and the potential for faculty to make additional changes to courses ex post facto.
Elements of Sustainability by Discipline (Syllabi Analysis)
We can also look at the distribution of coding of the elements of sustainability to see what facets of this concept are being integrated into courses. The matrix below helps me answer the question: to what extent do different disciplines incorporate the three elements of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social) into their courses? Each cell represents a raw number of syllabi in a given discipline that were coded to a particular element of sustainability.
Fifteen of the 18 courses incorporated environmental sustainability into their courses, compared to 4 of 18 courses incorporating economic sustainability and 7 of 18 incorporating social sustainability. This is not surprising, because environmental sustainability is the best known facet of the three elements. What is surprising is 1) the relative prevalence of social sustainability over economic sustainability and 2) the inclusion of social sustainability in an engineering course, because this is a field that typically does not discuss social impacts. A. Torrents, the faculty member teaching the engineering course, noted that I am used to thinking purely of the quantifiable aspects of environmental/sustainability issues, comments made by co-participants concerning the intersection of the economics, and social aspects were interesting and a component Kociolek plans to incorporate through reading assignments and class discussions (A. Torrents, Reflection). This comment suggests that the workshops are impacting faculty thinking about sustainability which is in turn having an impact on what is included in courses.