International Journal of Higher Education and Sustainability (9 papers in press)
Perceptions of a green university: An exploratory study among students
by Jie Chen, Kara Chan
Abstract: Purpose This study aims at exploring perceptions of a green university among its students.
Design/methodology/approach Qualitative interviews were conducted with 18 postgraduate and undergraduate students at a green campus in Germany through face-to-face interaction or through email. The interview questions were formulated following Han and Chan (2013).
Findings Green operation, green lifestyle and content delivery/assessments were perceived as the main attributes of green universities. Participants believed that both society and they themselves would benefit from a green campus. Participants perceived that student-oriented environmental activities and community promotions were insufficient on campus.
Practical implications Students from the green campus are expected to serve as role models in the community for green initiatives. Higher education faculties should also consider integrating green initiatives in curriculum designs.
Originality/value This study provides first-hand qualitative evidence from one of the top-performing green universities in the world. It provides insights for higher education administrators for the building as well as evaluation of environmental management systems for educational institutes.
Keywords - green university, environmental assessment, qualitative research, Germany
Paper type - Research paper
Keywords: green university; environmental assessment; qualitative research; Germany.
Importance, availability, and utilisation of support services for postgraduate distance education in a public university in Ghana
by Justice Mensah, John Victor Mensah, Godwin Awabil, Albert Justice Kwarteng
Abstract: Effective running of academic programmes at the University level requires that both core activities and support services are given the needed attention. However, it is often the case that support services with respect to distance education (DE) in developing countries are not accorded the importance they deserve, which affect the delivery of core services (teaching/learning, research, and extension), and ultimately the quality of graduates produced. Using the qualitative research design, this study explored the importance, availability and utilisation of four key support services (library, counselling, internet and, information and communication technology) in running postgraduate distance education (DE) programmes by the College of Distance Education (CoDE) of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Data were collected from students, course facilitators and management staff in six postgraduate DE study centres through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. While all categories of respondents indicated that these support services were exceedingly important, they perceived that the availability/accessibility and utilisation of the services were generally low. However, students at the headquarters of the six study centres had more advantage with respect to access to support services than those at the other five centres. CoDE should improve access to support services in all the study centre but with particular attention to the centres outside the headquarters, where the students are more disadvantaged. In this regard, CoDE Management should undertake a comprehensive support services needs assessment based on which the gaps could be effectively and efficiently addressed to improve the quality of postgraduate DE delivery and graduates.
Keywords: Postgraduate Distance Education; Support Services; Availability and Utilisation; Information and Communication Technology; Library; Counselling; Internet.
English for Placement Purposes: Understanding target specificities to develop professional competence of engineering students in Tamil Nadu
by Jabbar Al Muzzamil Fareen
Abstract: In the process of on-campus recruitment, the unswerving demands of Human Resource Managers and the skill shortage of engineering students has been a matter of prime concern of both software industry and higher education today in Tamil Nadu. This paper attempts to address those target specificities that they often demand in their prospective employees. The emic and etic perspectives of the Human Resource Management Executives (HRM-E) is elicited through undertaking qualitative research method. The findings reflect that the students need to develop adequate English communication skills to interact and discuss with the employers in their placement rounds and job interview. Further, this study informs about the relevant employability skills that can be practiced in their placement training. It can be implied that through analyzing target specificities for seeking placement, the academics can take into consideration of those necessary communication skills that can be carried out in English for Placement Purposes (EPP) courses.
Keywords: English for Placement Purposes (EPP); Human Resource Management Executives (HRM-E); on-campus recruitments; professional competence; target specificity; placement training.
The Contribution of the Distance Library of the Hellenic Open University to Adult Education
by Vasiliki Brinia, Alexandra Karpeta, Maria Antonia Papachiou
Abstract: The role of libraries in the context of Open and Distance Education and Adult Education can make a decisive contribution to both the learning process and the overall educational process of trainees. That is why academic libraries should offer their services based on the different characteristics and needs of their users. The paper aims to explore the perceptions of postgraduate students of the \"Education Sciences\" and \"Adult Education\" programs of the School of Humanities of the Hellenic Open University (HOU) regarding the role of the HOUs library in supporting their studies. Our research questions concerned the knowledge, the use, the satisfaction of the services offered by the library of HOU, and the degree of its contribution to the educational course of the students. Our basic methodological approach was the quantitative method, and our research tool was the questionnaire with closed questions. Our sample consisted of 214 students of the Postgraduate Programs of HOU \"Educational Sciences\" and \"Adult Education\". Based on the analysis of the data we collected, we conclude that postgraduate students are aware of most of the services offered by the HOUs library, however, they do not use them often. Also, our research showed that they are not satisfied with the services provided even though its role, as they mentioned, is crucial for their educational course. This is the first study in the last decade which examines the contribution of the distance library of the HOU. It constitutes a significant study at an international level since it provides university administration with insights on the usefulness of library tools and in this way, it also provides them with valuable lessons for improvement.
Keywords: HOU; Open and Distance Education; Adult Education; academic library; library services; user satisfaction; library contribution.
Student Engagement and Assessment during COVID-19: A Case Study from an Information Systems Undergraduate Program in Saudi Arabia
by Saqib Saeed, Madeeha Saqib, Dina A. Alabbad, Asiya Abdus Salam, Hina Gull, Sardar Zafar Iqbal
Abstract: COVID-19 has transformed human life and the new normal has transformed the business and social practices of humans. Such changes have also affected the education sector where conventional learning is transformed to online learning and assessments have resulted in online assessments. Such transformation is not a technological shift, but it has long-term implications for all the stakeholders. To continuously improve the learning practices during this pandemic time there is a need for information exchange to foster best practices. In this paper, we have compared the students assessment performance by conventional face-to-face learning and online learning, and we found minimum variations. Based on our approach adopted during online lectures we have proposed a model to foster effective learning during the COVID-19 period. The findings from this study will help other institutions and academics to foster a better learning environment for their students.
Keywords: education; COVID-19; education quality; student engagement.
Exploring the utilisation of theoretical basis in existing campus sustainability appraisal tools
by Yusuf A. Adenle, Edwin H.W. Chan
Abstract: A theoretical perspective is a key in the categorisation, structuring, interpretation of methodological research findings, and explanation of campus sustainability studies. A comprehensive review of existing campus sustainability appraisal tools reveals limited utilisation and non-specification of theoretical basis in driving campus design and appraisal for sustainability. The review also shows the absence of a theoretical basis for guiding assessment of higher education institutions' sustainability performance based on social media user-generated content. In addressing these research gaps, the authors extensively studied five main social theories that aim at the socialisation and challenges of human societies. The outcome led to the adoption of symbolic interactionism as a theoretical basis for campus sustainability. A study was conducted to test for the applicability of the theoretical basis in campus planning and design for sustainability in Nigeria where the practice of sustainability in higher education is at a fledgling stage. The result led to the identification of localised sustainability attributes and the development of an approach that could assist in advancing sustainability practices if integrated into existing campus sustainability assessment tools.
Keywords: higher education institutions; HEIs; twitter; social science theories; elastic stack; social media.
Role of Yemen higher education institutes in rebuilding the post-war Yemen
by Basheer Al-Haimi, Daing Nasir Ibrahim, M.R. Ab Hamid, Fadhl Hujainah
Abstract: Higher education institutes (HEIs) have exerted a significant influence on the rebuilding of countries affected by conflicts. These institutes operate as catalysts of healing in conflict-affected societies. The ongoing war in Yemen has resulted in negative economic and social consequences. This study aims to examine the role of Yemen HEIs (YHEIs) in the reconstruction of post-war Yemen. The study discusses how HEIs can contribute in rebuilding Yemen by addressing concerns regarding peace-building, social fabric healing, and economic rebuilding. A qualitative method of data collection involving the use of in-depth interview was employed in gathering information from Malaysian and Yemeni academics. The results of the interview indicated that YHEIs can play a crucial and major role in rebuilding the country in terms of peace-building, social fabric healing, and economic growth. Peace-building and social fabric can be accomplished through various ways related to teaching and learning, applied research, societal engagement, and civic programs. Economic growth also can be achieved through different aspects such as focusing on capacity building, collaborating with various sectors, gaining-brain, producing skilful workers and international partners.
Keywords: higher education; Yemen; social fabric; peace-building; economic rebuilding.
Preparedness of higher education institutions for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4: the case of Nepalese universities
by Dev Raj Adhikari, Bijaya Bikram Shah
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to assess the quality of education, research, and governance of Nepalese higher education institutions (HEIs) as a supplement to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) by 2030. This paper follows a qualitative method to analyse the viewpoints of the actors and stakeholders. From the analysis of stakeholders' views, it appears that Nepalese HEIs have not found prepared for integrating their plans, policies, and strategies to the SDG 4. Furthermore, the quality of education, research, and governance require total restructuring to integrate this public policy agenda in the operational activities of universities. This research initiates discourse on policies and framework to inculcate sustainability culture through teaching, research, and good governance. The paper is the first of its type in the context of a least developed country.
Keywords: higher education institutions; Sustainable Development Goal 4; SDG4; universities; quality of education and research; operational activities.
Education for cultivation of awareness as an important factor of raising environmental consciousness
by Harisios P. Ganatsios, Anastasia F. Filippou, Sofia Mpekiri, Kate Evelyn Danahy
Abstract: This research aims to illustrate the importance of cultivating awareness in raising environmental consciousness, and to provide effective tools to overcome educational barriers by presenting a new educational paradigm based on the integration of concepts of holistic education and yoga, epistemology and findings from neuroscience. A university holistic curriculum based of powerful techniques was created, the assessment of its effectiveness in cultivating environmental consciousness was the challenge of taking action, and proved to have a significant qualitative impact on the students, by bringing balance between actions, thoughts and emotions. A group-administered questionnaire survey was included, given in three student groups of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Developing environmental relationships was the key of the success of this program and the most highly requested by students and the reason for taking action. Initially, students showed difficulty with forming groups and taking collective action. Two groups received training, one of them succeeded in developing a connection with nature.
Keywords: awareness; environmental consciousness; educational and scientific barriers; holistic education for sustainable development; deep transformation; yogic techniques; higher education; yoga.