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Does the boat float? - The impact of teaching sustainable development in design and engineering

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conference contribution
posted on 2014-04-22, 13:19 authored by Adam de Eyto, Muireann McMahon, K. Muller, Renee Wever, G. DeWerk, Mariette Overschie
Education for sustainable development fundamentally calls for a change in the way we educate (teaching methodologies), what we teach (the curriculum and subject matter), and why we do it (learning outcomes & professional impact) (Bhamra & Dewberry, 2007). But what should this change look like in Engineering and Design?This paper outlines and compares a series of educational initiatives to inculcate literacy for sustainability within design & engineering that have been developed in the Netherlands and Ireland at TU Delft, University of Limerick and the Institute of Technology Carlow over the past 7-12 years. The approaches described are open to a range of design and engineering disciplines at an undergraduate, Master degree level, post graduate level and professional development levels in the three institutions. The data, gathered from an online survey as well as in-depth interviews with recent (2-5 years) graduates, addresses how they see the link between sustainability in their curriculum and in their practice.Through cross case analysis this paper identifies the impact of current best practices in education for sustainable literacy.The paper is intended as a pre-study for a more elaborate future study of the impact of SD education in Engineering and Design, and as such concludes with several propositions that will form the basis for that future study.While this paper does not offer a single ideal solution for educating for sustainable development, from the lessons learned, it does present an insight in to the impact of a range of educational approaches that have been proven to increase sustainable literacy and engagement.

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