The Lifestyle Project - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

1 / 24
About This Presentation

The Lifestyle Project


The Lifestyle Project. Steven Earle Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, Canada ... realizing that lifestyle changes have time and convenience costs, but that some ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:178
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 25
Provided by: ear5


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: The Lifestyle Project

The Lifestyle Project
Steven Earle Malaspina University-College,
Nanaimo, Canada Karin Kirk Carleton College and
Empire State College, USA Paul Wright
Southampton Solent University, Southampton, UK
We are human because, at a very early stage in
the history of the species, our ancestors
discovered a way of preserving and disseminating
the results of experience.
Learning through experience
But we understand only when, by liberating
ourselves from the tyranny of words, conditioned
reflexes, and social conventions, we establish
direct, unmediated contact with experience.
Aldous Huxley, 1956, Knowledge Understanding
Part 1, Vedanta the West, Vedanta Soc. of S.
We all know that we need to do something to
decrease our impact on the environment, however
most of us think that
it would be difficult to change our habits and
still maintain our lifestyles
our individual contribution to environmental
degradation and climate change is small
even if we do change, it wont make much
difference, because others wont
In the Lifestyle Project students are asked to
break this deadlock?to discover that they can
change the way they live. We challenge them to
make some significant changes to their
lifestyles, and to keep a journal describing how
well they met their targets and how they and
those around them were affected by the changes.
Kirk, K and Thomas, J, 2003, The Lifestyle
Project, J. of Geoscience Education, V.,51, p.
Students are asked to do the following
The project lasts for 3 weeks, and becomes more
stringent each week.Students write about their
experience in a journal, and submit their journal
for instructor-feedback at the end of each week.
The Lifestyle Project at
Malaspina University-College The project is used
in two courses with the theme of Energy and the
Environment, one a face-to-face course for future
teachers, the other an on-line course open to all
Southampton Solent University The project is
used part way through a first- level
undergraduate unit in Global Environmental
Issues. It ties in with future units looking at
community involvement in environmental issues,
and sustainable development
Empire State College The project is used in a
distance learning course in Geology and the
Environment. The students are typically adults
with jobs and families, who come from a wide
variety of backgrounds.
Malaspina University-CollegeParticipation in
the project is voluntary. The alternative is a
term paper (Approximately 90 of students take
part!) The project can be started at any time
within the 13-week term
The most popular topic choices are water and
diet, followed by electricity and waste. Since
relatively few choose to give up the use of their
car, we have now made the transportation topic
mandatory for all students who drive to campus.
We ask them to reduce their driving by at least
30 in week 1, 40 in week 2 and 50 in week 3.
Weve also asked students choosing the diet
option to make a concerted effort to restrict
themselves to locally-produced foods.
It was fun, trying and eye-opening. An
experience that I will take with me for many,
many years and incorporate into my teaching in
the future.
Student comments
I am amazed how fast it has gone I have been
able to influence my landlord, family, friends
and most importantly myself.
I really like walking home. I feel better after
I do it.
I am now used to all the free time in the
mornings that I save from not doing my hair this
I thought I could never change!
End of term survey on the lifestyle project
  • 31/34 said that it increased their awareness of
    the environment
  • 34/34 thought that it was a useful education
  • 32/34 said that they would consider adapting
    this project to their own classrooms

SouthamptonParticipation is required of all
studentsThere is no official assessment, but
there is a formative reflective writing
exerciseAs this is only part of a unit, the
exercise is used for one week only, early in the
unit, to introduce issue of personal
Many of our students are local, or rent
locally, therefore, driving to the university is
rare.Most chose the energy and water saving
options, with some claiming they recycle
already.No one took the diet option!
What the students saidIt was more difficult
than we thought.In a shared house, getting
others to allow you to turn thermostats down is
difficult.I managed to have shorter showers
for three days, then I kind of forgot.
Empire State CollegeThe project is offered as
one of two options in the final portion of the
course. (The other option is a research paper
about conservation, using the same topics as the
project.)Typically about 2/3 of the students
elect to do the project.Project begins with the
ecological footprint quiz (
d a series of energy calculations so that
students can gain an awareness of how their
actions add up.
The project runs for three weeks.Journals are
submitted electronically at the end of each
week.Instructor comments are added to the
journal and they are returned electronically
within a few days.Students use a discussion
board to share suggestions and anecdotes from the
project.The instructor posts her project
journals to the discussion board, which always
seems to generate student interest.
Because many of these students are older, and
have households to run, the impact of the
lifestyle project is very different than it is
for young students living on campus.The changes
are more difficult because they may need to
convince their spouse or children to
cooperate.Many are holding down a full-time job
while doing the project.On the other hand, the
project may affect these students more profoundly
because it impacts their entire household.
Examples of outcomes Trying to convince
teenage kids to eat vegetables and take shorter
showersSetting up carpooling with
co-workersConvincing spouse to stop letting the
water run when he does the dishes!Bringing
lunch or coffee to work in reusable
containersEncouraging the boss to allow
recycling bins at workSetting up a compost
pileRethinking the grocery shopping experience
(packaging, processing, imported foods, meat)
Setting foot in a health food store
Examples of pedagogic outcomes Creates a
closer community in a distance learning
environmentCreates teamwork among
studentsAllows for a personal connection
between instructor and studentsEnds the course
on a practical note that they can relate to their
real lives
Summary of outcomes for students
  • discovering that talk is cheap and that action
    is far more challenging
  • a shift in awarenessrecognizing the need to
    think about their environmental impact before
    they act.
  • realizing that lifestyle changes have time and
    convenience costs, but that some changes can save
    both time and money, and improve quality of life
  • becoming aware that small changes early in the
    project are easy, but substantial changes, made
    towards the end, can be more difficult
  • most students welcome the break from yet another
    term paper

Other outcomes
  • the Lifestyle Project created a strong sense of
    community and teamwork in an on-line course (the
    same can be seen in a face-to-face course)
  • the take-home nature of the Lifestyle Project
    means that its effects commonly extend into the
    community, to family, friends and beyond
  • we discovered that the reflective (and especially
    reflective writing) capabilities of our students
    were poorer than we thought, and that more
    training is necessary here
  • student feedback supports the concept that
    learning through experience is more effective
    than many other forms of learning,

Thank you For more information http//
November 2007 issue of Geotimes
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)