Development of a hands-on toolkit to support integration of ecodesign in engineering programmes
Faculty of Design Sciences
Science citation index
Journal of cleaner production / Masson. - Science citation index
, p. 772-783
University of Antwerp
In recent years, the integration of sustainable development in higher education has received a growing amount of attention. During the last decade, initiatives have aimed at integrating sustainable development at higher education on various levels including education, research, outreach and operations. A limited, but growing number of initiatives focus on the educational level, especially regarding the integration of sustainable development in the curriculum. This growing attention results partially from the increasing pressure from industry on higher education that demands that universities prepare their graduates in education on sustainable development. This pressure has become an important driver for teaching staff to be more involved in the integration of the different aspects of sustainable development in the curriculum and courses of their educational programme. However, the number of studies that focus on the role of academic staff in the transformation towards education for sustainable development is limited. Even more, literature indicates that there is a strong need for methods and tools that can support educational staff in integrating sustainable development in curricula in higher education. This article presents a toolkit, the Ecodesign in Higher Education-kit, that fulfils this need by imparting available knowledge regarding sustainable development and more specifically ecodesign into the curriculum of higher engineering education. Ecodesign is considered a promising approach to sustainable production and consumption and is highly relevant for engineering education. Engineering education plays a critical role towards sustainable transformations. The article presents the development process of the toolkit itself, as well as the conceptualisation, materialisation and application of the tool. Application of the toolkit in several design and engineering programmes in Belgium shows that the toolkit supports, activates and empowers teaching staff in the process of integrating ecodesign in the curriculum. Other strengths of the tool include its ability to create connectedness between teaching staff as well as social learning and a raised awareness on ecodesign issues. Opportunities for future development and research should focus on a further incorporation of competences for sustainable development, assessment of ecodesign in the curriculum, a broader view on the longitudinal integration process, and on the effect of the use of the toolkit on the integration of ecodesign in the curriculum. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.