Systematic curriculum integration of sustainable development using life cycle approaches

 

Bastien Roure (Master student, civil and building engineering, USherbrooke)

Supervisor: Ben Amor

Context

Engineers actions inescapably have impacts on the society that can be both positives and negatives. The common realisation of a need for sustainable development (SD) bring us to think back on our way of living and professional practices. To do so, the engineers need to be prepared during their university education. Curriculum integration is a challenging project and requires the development of certain protocols to ensure success.

Goal

The goal of this project was to propose and implement a framework for the systematic integration of SD through the lenses of the life cycle approach and the associated tools in order to attain effective curriculum integration. To provide this systematic SD integration framework, the project aimed to assess the effectiveness of the proposition through a case study.

Methods

The project proposes a module-based integration of SD in a civil engineering curriculum, given the connection between the two, at all undergraduate years. Life cycle approach has been chosen due to its holistic approach including the assessment of multiple environmental, economic and social indicators from cradle to grave. The proposed framework suggests the following five steps: mapping the curriculum, setting learning targets, developing an action plan for the assessed program, implementing the action plan and assessing the final performance. 

Applications

To assess its success, a student satisfaction survey was conducted, and teachers’ feedback was obtained; the results showed 85 per cent positive responses. The authors show how this study allowed the CE curriculum to be properly updated and brought in line with today’s engineering profession requirements with regard to SD.

The integration focuses on the application of life cycle approaches and tools such as environmental life cycle assessment and life cycle costing on CE content. Additionally, the presented approach can be easily adapted to other engineering curriculums and, to a certain extent, to other non-engineering curriculums.

Partners

Université de Sherbrooke

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