Creating sustainable students through project-based teaching

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Abstract

Design for Sustainability is difficult! Not least because there are few, if any operational definitions of sustainability that will allow us to move beyond speculation to planning and action for radically new ways in which to satisfy our needs at vastly reduced environmental and social loads [WCED, 1987]. This paper describes a case study, where 27 students from 19 different countries and 12 educational backgrounds were subject to an intensive two-week course on sustainability and innovation. The case describes a number of interesting points, regarding both the subject of sustainability and innovation and also in terms of the teaching/learning method applied. In this case study sustainability is described as being the driver for innovation, in so much as it is necessary to create radically different solutions, if one is to achieve solutions that have a factor 4, 10 or 20 [Reijnders, 1998] less impact on the environment. The intensive nature of the course described in the case study allowed for a whole project approach to be applied, where important teaching elements were encapsulated in project tasks, thus making the material and methods learned directly relevant and applicable to the project as it unfolded. The case study is backed up with a series of other experiences [Andreasen et al., 2000], where new methods of teaching are developed and tested, and where the creation of a mindset is seen as the overriding factor for success when working with such problem formulations as creating sustainable products through radical innovation. Key results from this case study have since been applied in other teaching (both within the university and to industry), and have helped to further insight into how to apply Design for Sustainability in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design 2002 7th International Conference on Design
Place of PublicationZagreb
PublisherFaculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture
Publication date2002
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Event7th International Design Conference - Dubrovnik, Croatia
Duration: 14 May 200217 May 2002
Conference number: 7

Conference

Conference7th International Design Conference
Number7
CountryCroatia
CityDubrovnik
Period14/05/200217/05/2002

Keywords

  • Ecodesign
  • Product life
  • PD methods
  • Business model re-configuration
  • Customer activity cycle
  • Open
  • Product and service development
  • Value system
  • Value-centric model

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