Summer 2009 Course Listings

IST 444 Online - Summer 2009

Sustainable Living Class

Sustainable Living introduces you to diverse global perspectives and practical personal solutions related to environmental, economic and social sustainability. The course presents a historical, ethical and technical review of the impact that our daily decisions make on the global condition.  Most important however is we learn to make decisions on a daily basis related to energy, food, land use, water and air, waste, housing, personal health, and community.  In this class you will create your own Personal Holistic Goal and learn to make decisions toward that end.  You will be presented with a framework for changing yourself, your community and the world, and learn to speak effectively about the need for change.

 Dates: July 6 - August 7, 2009

Instructor: Dr. John M. Gerber, UMass Professor of Plant Science and

Sustainability Studies

Office: 308 Bowditch Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01002

Contact: (413)545-5301 or


 Student Learning Objectives:

  • To understand global challenges to sustainability from economic, environmental and social perspectives.
  • To understand the impact of personal decisions on local, regional, national and global sustainability.
  • To increase awareness of alternatives to current practices that impact long-term sustainability. 
  • To evaluate your personal life goals and practice decision-making tools to move toward these goals.
  • To change personal behavior consistent with your personal life goals. 

 Required Textbook: The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift by Andres R. Edwards is available at some local bookstores, or may be purchased new or used at Amazon or other on-line sources.  Be sure you have a textbook BEFORE the class begins. 

 Format: This class is a lecture and discussion format delivered in an on-line environment.  You will have access to the instructor via WebCT, however I will not be available "24/7".   The class is delivered over a five-week period and while there is some flexibility it is important to move along with the class completing a unit each week.  This class is designed so that you can complete the course successfully by investing approximately two hours per day.

Technology: To view the lectures with notes, make sure you have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Videos are generally best viewed using the free RealPlayer available at ( If you have any problems with technology, please contact the UMass Online Tech Support office for help here 

According to UMass Online, in order to take this course you must:

  • have access to a personal computer (Mac or Windows) with at least 128MB RAM (256MB preferred)
  • be familiar with basic computer skills
  • be connected to the internet
  • have an e-mail program and account
  • have at least a 56 kbps modem (DSL or Broadband Cable recommended)
  • have a Java capable browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari)