Lived Experience of Climate Change (LECH-e)

Milton Keynes (UK), July 2011 - The Lived Experience of Climate Change, an interdisciplinary project for the development of e-modules and virtual mobility (LECH-e) addresses education and lifelong learning in relation to climate change. Supported by the EU's Lifelong Learning Erasmus Programme, the project develops online curriculum materials and virtual learning communities. These resources will support Master's dissertations in the broad area of the lived experience of climate change.

In a collaboration of nine institutions, the LECH-e project (October 2009-April 2012) is creating a European community of scholars, students, and citizens who make a contribution to the UN decade on education for sustainable development. LECH-e focuses on the "lived experiences of climate change" - how individuals, communities, and organisations conceive and respond to its perceived local impacts (e.g. extreme weather, biodiversity changes) and complements other work on climate change in higher education across Europe.

Through its virtual mobility component, the course supports the development of transboundary competence - the ability to engage with others across a range of contexts and standpoints. This skill is considered to be essential for meeting the global challenge of climate change.

The educational materials will ultimately be released as open educational resources (OER). This will allow, in addition to the consortium members, universities throughout the world to use or adapt the content in their own programmes through their normal accreditation processes. The teaching modules can also be used flexibly by students: as available educational resources without assessment or accreditation to enhance their studies or as conventional modules with assessment and accreditation.

A virtual learning space contains the educational resources and facilitates learning communities and virtual mobility across the institutions.

Significant academic dissemination has already taken place through joint papers presented at European conferences, including the European Distance and eLearning Network (EDEN) conference. These conference presentations have led to the publication of a joint paper in the International Journal of Technology-enhanced Learning and an agreement to edit and produce seven papers for a special issue of the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. The EDEN Conference paper is expected to contribute to a further special issue of The European Journal of Open, Distance and eLearning.

The pilot of the modules and virtual mobility components will end in November 2011. It will be followed by an evaluation by the students who participated and two external academic assessors, which will lead to revision of the teaching modules before they are released as OER at the project end in April 2012.