University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 7572-7576
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.1922
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
High education Institutions (HEI), as well as public administrations and enterprises have already accepted the importance of including the sustainable development goals (SDG) in the design of our current and future societies. This central position for sustainability concerns have been progressively encouraged over time and, nowadays, it is one of the main challenges in higher education [1]. In engineering studies, the term “Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD)”, emphasizes the necessity of teaching engineering contents focused on developing technologies and designing goods or materials including environmental and social concerns [2]. EESD is essential to teach the future engineers how to promote methods and strategies that encourage a more sustainable world. The existing literature about EESD points out several difficulties when trying to renovate the engineering studies curriculum and include SDG. An important drawback is related to the fact that traditional books and learning contents only focus on the economic benefit obviating social or environmental impacts. There is still a lack of integrated didactic materials devoted to broaden the vision of sustainability in technical studies. Indeed, the curriculum of engineering studies is restricted to specific fields of knowledge and concepts such as multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching are very difficult to implement [1]. Several HEI have designed actions directed to the implementation of sustainability in engineering courses, but the majority of them were developed as extra activities meaning that the previous learning content wasn´t changed and that students received an extra load of work associated to the “sustainability concept”. Therefore, there is still a long way to fully integrate sustainability into the curriculum of engineering studies.

In this work, we present an experience designed to implement the sustainability concept in the curriculum of the Renewable Energies Engineering Bachelor Degree of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The mail goal has been to create an activity related to sustainability and to insert it in the subject as part of the official content, thus, include it as a part of the final evaluation, with the aim of finding a way of making room for these concepts together with the intrinsic engineering disciplines. The specific topic was “Hydrogen as a source of energy” and students were asked to deepen into the different ways of obtaining and using hydrogen as fuel and the concerns in environmental and social sustainability terms that each one has. The activity was associated to the Chemistry subject and it was developed in class hours. The results were presented and discussed in a poster session. The feeling was positive in terms of acquired knowledge and attitude of the students towards the topic. The rest of classic contents associated to the subject were redesigned somehow and all the learning content was imparted together with the mentioned activity.

[1] I.S. Rampasso et al., 2018, An analysis of the difficulties associated to sustainability insertion in engineering education: Examples from HEIs in Brazil. Journal of Cleaner Production 193, 363-371.
[2] S. Sivapalan and M.J. Clifford, 2019, Engineering Education for Sustainable Development. In: Leal Filho W. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education. Springer, Cham.
Teaching sustainability, engineering studies.