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E&S Home > Vol. 20, Iss. 3 > Art. 35 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Linking classroom learning and research to advance ideas about social-ecological resilience

Natalie C. Ban, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria
Emily Boyd, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading; Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University.
Michael Cox, Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College
Chanda L. Meek, Department of Political Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Michael Schoon, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University
Sergio Villamayor-Tomas, Division of Resource Economics, Humboldt University


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There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not always easy to accomplish. In this paper we review literature on this theme, highlight relevant advances in the pedagogical literature, and report on some examples resulting from our recent efforts to teach complex environmental issues. The examples range from full credit courses in sustainable development and research methods to project-based and in-class activity units. A consensus from the literature is that lectures are not sufficient to fully engage students in these issues. A conclusion from the review of examples is that problem-based and project-based, e.g., through case studies, experiential learning opportunities, or real-world applications, learning offers much promise. This could greatly be facilitated by online hubs through which teachers, students, and other members of the practitioner and academic community share experiences in teaching and research, the way that we have done here.

Key words

complex systems; interdisciplinarity; pedagogy; problem-based learning; project-based learning; social-ecological resilience; social-ecological systems; teaching

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087