Featured Online Courses

This addition to the website represents a new endeavour to feature online sustainability courses. Our aim is to raise the profile of Australian sustainability online/blended learning courses.

Online learning is a sustainable alternative to purely campus-based learning. A study by The Open University found that “on average, the production and provision of distance learning courses consumed nearly 90% less energy and produced 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional campus-based university courses.” 

Blended learning creates a richer learning experience. For example, the UTS Learning.Futures initiative enables "students to engage with new ideas online before class — so that they can benefit from active and collaborative experiences in innovative learning spaces on campus". 

We are especially interested in understanding best practice in the postgraduate sustainability online/blended learning space. A recent survey finds that 90% of online courses offered by Australian univeristies are at the postgraduate level, which makes sense, considering the relative convenience of fitting in study around work and family commitments. 

The Learning & Teaching Sustainability website is well placed to advance awareness of online sustainability courses. From Nov 8 2017 – Nov 8 2018, the site had over 15,000 users with almost 40,000 page views. This represents a growth of 25% on the previous year. About 90% of visitors to the site were new users and about 65% of users are in Australia, with the rest in the US (7%) and the rest of the world. 

With high levels of overseas student engagement, Australian higher education institutions are well placed to market online learning, globally. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that Education is Australia's largest service export and third overall behind iron ore (worth $62.8 billion in 2016-17) and coal ($54.3 billion). It is larger than gas ($22.3 billion) and gold ($19 billion).

This is a great time and place to showcase your university’s online sustainability courses, to Australia and the world. 

If you would like to be part of this initiative and to have your higher education online sustainability courses featured, please get in touch




Systems Thinking: A Paradigm for Change Creation

About this course

Do you ever reflect on the challenges of today and imagine options for better futures? As we increasingly recognise the complexity of our world, the challenges we face require new approaches.

What we need are ways of thinking that can effectively work with complexity, such as systems thinking. Systems thinking gives us tools, approaches and skills to deal with messy, complex situations, both professional and personal. It opens pathways towards more sustainable futures.

In this introductory course, you’ll learn how complicated situations are vastly different from complex situations or projects. This will equip you to take the next steps to experiment with systems thinking tools in later modules where you’ll apply them to the messy situations faced by you, your organisation or your project.

The full course will help you understand the value of systems thinking when engaging with challenging real-world situations. You'll learn about the ways of thinking, sensing and being in the face of a complex world. 

The course content represents 20 years’ collective UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) knowledge and expertise, which builds on the inspiration of a large number of systems thinkers. Our team of 70 researchers and 35 postgraduate students continue to innovate and apply systems thinking tools and approaches to improve real life complex situations.

The full course structure will deal with the following areas:

  1. Reality is messy: What types of situations are we dealing with? (Part 1)
  2. What is a complex system?
  3. Strengthening our systems thinking
  4. Worldviews and paradigms: looking deeply into ourselves and our societies
  5. Apply systems thinking in your world

This featured course is a sample of program degrees offered at the University of Technology Sydney. Follow this link to access this and other Courses on the UTS Open platform.