concept | shared insights for change agents

Sustainability results from the ability to transform through creating next practices of future-needs’ learning and doing-acting-performing.

praxiSDG – a combination of praxis, i. e. in the philosophical sense a way of doing sth. or the use of sth. in a practical way, and the acronym of the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs of the United Nations 2030 Agenda – is a service-learning module intending to attract participants with a strong sustainability agenda across disciplines and study semesters.

Designed, commissioned and customized for different higher-education institutions, praxiSDG engages participants in a proactive, self-determined and experiential way through projects that live up to partner-organizations’ needs and expectations in a predefined scope. Hence, praxiSDG is understood as a next practice of learning and doing, which aims at enabling participants to strengthen and unfold their ability to transform as a basis for sustainability action.

praxiSDG is a service-learning course open to students of all disciplines and study semesters that...
  • provides theoretical-conceptual background in the areas of volunteerism and civic engagement, e. g. rural-urban commons, co-creation, common public interest, service learning and sustainability-related terminology, e. g. SDGs
  • enables insights into different opportunities for sustainability-oriented commitment in institutionally-structured, non-profit fields of activity; and
  • facilitates a specifically contextualized commitment determined by the need of the partner organization, e. g. through campus-community partnerships.

Furthermore, praxiSDG fosters...

  • analysing individual, discipline-specific and professional strategies of engagement;
  • reflecting of  experiences in a structured and systematically-guided way;
  • preparing  professional presentations of one’s genuine service-learning experiences; and
  • practicing project-based, interdisciplinary team work with heterogeneous needs and prerequisites.

notion | what makes praxiSDG a unique learning experience

praxiSDG is a one-semester – usually three to four months – service-learning course open to students of all disciplines and study semesters. Willingness to actively engage in an innovative study format and interest in becoming part of a self-effective sustainability challenge are the few prerequisites for participation.

Thanks to a blended-learning set-up consisting of both in-person and online sessions, it is open to students of several universities in one region.

steps | how praxiSDG works

The module is roughly divided into three phases: the kick-off phase, closely accompanied and facilitated by the teaching tandem (1), the project phase, which is supported by individually-tailored consultation sessions and e-tutoring (2), and the reflection phase, in which the results of the project phase are presented and reflected in an academically sound framework, again with close methodological support of the teaching tandem (3):

1. kick-off | selecting projects and formulating project questions

  • students are presented with a buffet of project ideas provided by partner institutions coming from the non-profit/civil-society sector.
  • students pick their favorite projects and form teams of about three to four students. The teams come together with their project partners and discuss individual tasks for each team member.
  • students develop an individual project question that captures the agreed service for the partner organization and will lead the students through the project. 
  • one particular SDG – and if applicable, a corresponding sub-goal/target – is selected and serves as a thematic focus during the project phase.

2. project phase | providing service at the partner organization and documenting learnings

  • students fulfill their 60-hour workload commitment in the course of about eight to ten weeks, working on the project question.
  • throughout the project phase, students are encouraged to closely keep track of their work, including their discussions in the respective teams, exchange with the partner organization, progress and set-backs in the project implementation, and their personal experiences and learnings.
  • they collect so-called pieces of evidence and note them down by using wikis, working journals or learning logs.

3. reflection phase | presenting learning experiences and designing the e-portfolio

  • students start preparing their project presentation to be presented at the final session of the course.
  • students prepare a both product- and process-oriented e-portfolio with the aim of organizing, systematizing and evaluating the knowledge gained.
  • an analysis of the learning process can take place, which takes the learning itself as the object of reflection, in order to develop and continuously improve methodical learning competence. The result will be a learning journey, documenting both progress and setbacks.

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