Teaching Sustainability in Higher Education – from Theory into Practice

Starting date: Monday 3rd October 2022 
End date: Friday 9th December 2022
Commitment: 40-80 hours including self-studies and course meetings
Seminar #1: Friday 28th October (online, exact time tbd)
Seminar #2: Friday 25th November (online, exact time tbd)
Course fee: 495 USD/EUR per participant (excl. VAT)
Application deadline: Monday 26th September 2022 (for instructions on how to apply, see below)
Contact and inquiries: info@snowflakeeducation.com

About the course

The 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Agenda 2030 are crucial to address for our society. But how does education meet up to prepare students of today for the challenges they will meet in the world of tomorrow? Sustainability challenges are intrinsically complex and associated with conflicting values and perspectives. In this course, we address those challenges in the context of modern higher education, in order to assist teaching staff at universities to address suitability in their courses.

Learning outcomes

After this course, the participants will be able to…

  • reflect on why and how a sustainability perspective should or could be integrated in their domain of teaching,
  • identify strategies for integrating a sustainability perspective in their courses, and
  • design and evaluate appropriate learning activities and assessment methods for sustainability.


  • Motivate why sustainability is imperative to teach in higher education,
  • Strategies for how sustainability can be integrated in education, on programme level as well as individual modules,
  • Key competences for sustainability,
  • Designing learning activities and assessment for sustainability education, and
  • Inspirational tips on how sustainability has been introduced at other universities.

Preparation and further information

A basic understanding of the concept of sustainable development is recommended. However, there is a non-mandatory training material included as a preparatory self-study unit, for participants to go through before the training if they feel the need of a brush-up.


Course layout

The course is structured around three parts (Part I-III), and each part consists of five sections (Sections 1.1-3.5). Each section contains a video lecture recorded by the course instructor (circa 10-20 minutes long); lecture notes; one or several reflection assignments; and a list of references/material that the participant may find useful to dig deeper into, depending on their specific challenges.

Part I: Foundation to teaching sustainability in higher education

  1. Teaching sustainability – why, how and what?
  2. The nature of sustainability and how that affects what we should teach
  3. Teaching for Agenda 2030 – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in your teaching
  4. Common trap: choosing one or a few 'star goals' among the Sustainable Development Goals
  5. Be mindful of different views – there is not necessarily a 'right' or 'wrong' answer

Part II: Key competences for sustainability

    1. Key competences for sustainability
    2. Systems thinking competence
    3. Values thinking/normative competence
    4. Futures thinking & strategic competences
    5. Self-awareness and critical thinking

    Part III: Practical considerations when teaching sustainability

      1. How to make learning sustainability relevant for the student
      2. Designing learning activities and assessment for sustainability education
      3. Using games to create an active learning experience
      4. Fulfilling the purpose – making sustainability an integral part of higher education
      5. Inspirational examples from sustainability education at various universities

        During the course, there will be in total four online course meetings – two will be held within smaller study groups (1-2 hours each) and two will be seminars (3 hours each). For each study group meeting, each participant will also review other participants’ work, and in association with the seminars there will be feedback provided by the course instructor.

        The course will run through a total duration of 10 weeks, allowing 3 sections to be completed every two weeks (although the pace may also be flexible depending on each participant’s own time restrictions).

        Each section is expected to require a commitment of two hours minimum from the course participant, and up to five hours for participates that want to make the most of the course. This means that the time commitment will be about 4-8 hours per week throughout the course. Make sure to allow suitable time in your schedule to make continuous progress during the course.

        The course is run on the Snowflake Education online platform, for which you will be given a account during the course.


        About the course instructor

        Jon-Erik Dahlin holds a PhD in fusion plasma physics and has devoted his professional life to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). He has taken a leading role in the integration of sustainability across programmes as a university lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), and is now working internationally with teacher training and in an advisory capacity.

        Dr. Dahlin has been appointed a programme director for several education programmes including the development of several completely new engineering programmes. At KTH, he was co-responsible for developing and delivering the course Learning for Sustainable Development (LH215V) in 2013.

        University lecturers across many universities have drawn on his experience in their endeavour to integrate sustainability in their own teaching as he has been training teaching staff in ESD in eg. TU Darmstadt, Aalto University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, as well as in many Swedish universities. In 2016, he founded Snowflake Education, with the objective to assist educators and leaders in education worldwide with integrating sustainable development into education courses and programmes.


        4.    How to apply

        Apply to the training by sending an email to info@snowflakeeducation.com with the following information:

        • Your full name
        • Your email address (used for communication during the course)
        • Your institution/company (i.e. the organisation that will be invoiced)
        • All invoice information needed (including VAT number and invoice reference, if required)
        • A statement that you intend to complete the full course
        • A short (maximum 100 words) description of your current teaching responsibilities and how you intend to use the knowledge gained from the course in your professional duties

        Note that your place on the course is not guaranteed. Due to an expected high number of applications we might need to limit the number of accepted participants. All applications received until the date of the deadline will be reviewed on Tuesday 27th September, and you will be notified on the following date whether you have been appointed a seat on the course or not.

        If you are accepted to the course, an invoice for the course fee will be sent out to your institution on Friday 30th September. In the case of cancellation from your part, we need to have received notification thereof by noon Thursday 29th September or your institution will nevertheless be charged a full course fee.