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University Collaboration for Global Sustainability Essay (Article)


This paper presents a summary of the article that discusses a model of transnational collaboration between universities teaching sustainability competencies. It explains the main ideas of the work, the choice of literature, and the implementation of the glocal concept. The paper also concerns the methods of data analysis used by the authors and presents its results. It concludes that the suggested educational model can make a significant contribution to the studies of sustainability issues.

Article Summary

The article discusses collaborations between universities of different countries as a tool for teaching sustainability competencies to students. It aims to prove that students’ curriculum and the teaching-learning environment should consider both local and global issues. The article studies the types of curricula the universities can utilize in transnational collaborations to prepare young people to address the problems of sustainability. The authors introduce the glocal model of interaction named the Global Classroom, which objective is to create a space for teaching and learning and a modern curriculum for the students (Caniglia et al., 2017). They discuss the practical results of its implementation in the form of a program in urban sustainability.

A curriculum is understood as the intentional ordering of educational experiences (Caniglia et al., 2017). The article points out that glocal curriculum combined with the use of technologies can contribute to the improvement of the higher education in sustainability, and is exemplary for creating a positive teaching-learning environment. The advantage of the model is that it suggests a method of effective integration of curriculum, digital sources, and internationalization. The authors acknowledge that it may be challenging to perform their project at universities with different technological or financial capacities; however, they view the global approach to studying sustainability as beneficial.


The literature used for the study involves the articles on internationalization, sustainability in education, and social, emotional, and cultural aspects of teaching-learning environments. The authors reviewed the scholarly papers to address several significant questions related to the aim of their project. First of all, the literature considered the types of information that individuals should work with, including cognitive and knowledge of knowing. Secondly, the sources discussed the practical skills they should have and develop. Lastly, the authors referred to the literature that considered the mindset and attitude students needed to improve.

Implementation and Methodology

The glocal model was implemented in a project between the Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany and Arizona State University (ASU) (Caniglia et al., 2017). The authors performed the project in two iterations to develop a final version of the Global Classroom model based on their results. The project involved 72 undergraduate students, of which 68 were less than 25 years old, and 4 were over 30 years old. Participants studied different subjects from Sustainability and Environmental Science to Business Studies and Psychology, which allowed testing the project for students from various spheres of interest.

The structure of the Global Classroom involved four steps: the design of the project, implementation of the model, formative evaluation, and final development. During the first stage, instructors and experts in digital learning developed the curriculum model and the teaching-learning environment for the project. They outlined its topic and objectives, discussed the number of participants and the methods of assessment.

During the second step, they implemented the proposed model experimenting with various means of technological equipment and engagement, as well as approaches to learning. The students of Leuphana University and ASU collaborated in digital and real classrooms to develop their sustainability competencies. The third stage involved evaluation of the project. Finally, during the fourth step participants worked on the final concepts of the glocal curriculum and teaching-learning environment and implemented it in the Global Classroom (Caniglia et al., 2017).

To analyze the results of the project, the instructors utilized a formative evaluation. To do it, they reviewed students’ performance and held discussion sessions with both students and experts to collect feedback. The employed methods of estimation included the assessment for learning and assessment as learning (Caniglia et al., 2017). The first one considered how students used the environment and what difficulties they encountered in the teamwork, while the second one was designed to rate the process of learning. Formative assessment took place at the end of every semester in the format of open discussions. Final reflection sessions were held in groups of 5 to 6 students from ASU and Leuphana University.

Analysis of the Concept

The article presents the analysis of the global curriculum concept in terms of its applicability to for addressing the problems of sustainability. The results showed that transformative learning should include knowing, doing, and being as vital dimensions of learning and teaching (Caniglia et al., 2017). Implementation of these concepts can improve students’ anticipatory, normative, action-oriented, and interpersonal competencies.

The glocal curriculum supports the development of skills and mindsets that allow students to think critically about the processes that have influenced the current state of unsustainability in the world. With the glocal concept of knowing individuals can learn to review different types of information in accordance with their social and cultural backgrounds, as well as determine the historical issues behind knowledge. Glocal doing teaches students to collaborate for working within international, social, and cultural contexts. Glocal being offers participants the tools to make a social change across these settings.

The article also suggests that the development of these skills should be implemented within five learning areas, including subject, research, collaborative, professional, and personal learning (Caniglia et al., 2017). The analysis shows that one of the obstacles for the development of glocal teaching-learning environment is possible inequalities between the universities. It is necessary for all participants to avoid paternalistic attitudes and placing some groups of individuals in the superior or inferior position.

The authors note that it can be challenging to implement the concept of the Global Classroom in the universities that do not have new infrastructures, such as opportunities for video conferences (Caniglia et al., 2017). They also state that instructors need to be educated about the methods of glocal teaching and have intercultural and collaborative competencies. These aspects may be perceived as disadvantages of the concept, but they underline its singularity. If universities implement the Global Classrooms for teaching sustainability competencies, they will initiate a comprehensive approach to learning and improve their students’ skills.


The glocal model of interaction, the Global Classroom, is a concept that can be implemented in modern universities to improve their students’ knowledge and performance. Its primary aspect is the international interaction between the groups studying the topic of sustainability. The concept can improve individuals’ action-oriented and interpersonal competencies. The model’s main disadvantage is that it is impossible to implement it in the universities that do not have adequate technological capacities.


Caniglia, G., John, B., Bellina, L., Lang, D. J., Wiek, A., Cohmer, S., & Laubichler, M. D. (2017). The glocal curriculum: A model for transnational collaboration in higher education for sustainable development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, 368-376.

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1. IvyPanda. "University Collaboration for Global Sustainability." January 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/university-collaboration-for-global-sustainability/.


IvyPanda. "University Collaboration for Global Sustainability." January 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/university-collaboration-for-global-sustainability/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "University Collaboration for Global Sustainability." January 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/university-collaboration-for-global-sustainability/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'University Collaboration for Global Sustainability'. 8 January.

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