About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8509-8512
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1983

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY INTO THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN COURSE

S. Motavas, S. Satti

University of British Columbia (CANADA)
Sustainability knowledge and holistic systems thinking are now among the key engineering graduate attributes in many academic institutions, recognizing the prominent role of engineering education in sustainable development. As a result, interest in the incorporation of sustainability into the engineering curriculum has steadily grown. Although it is essential to teach the fundamental concepts of sustainability through stand-alone courses, it is also imperative to provide opportunities for the engineering students to repeatedly put their sustainability knowledge into practice throughout their engineering degree. This can be achieved by integrating sustainability into engineering design courses and adopting a holistic approach to decision making. While such integration has been accomplished in some engineering disciplines, sustainability considerations are often missing in electrical engineering design courses. This work was aimed at exploring the possibility of integrating sustainability into a second-year electrical engineering design course by blending the technical considerations and sustainability principles in the decision-making stage.  

“Electrical Engineering Design Studio I” is a project-based course in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia. The course project consists of designing and building a robot that is capable of performing certain tasks, using electronic devices and microcomputers. Our primary objective in this work was to shift the emphasis of the course from just the performance of the robot to broader measures, including the impacts and sustainability of the design. For this purpose, a quadruple bottom line (QBL) approach was incorporated into the decision-making process, which took into consideration the functionality of the robot as well as the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, social, and economic impacts). Weighted decision matrices were created based on the criteria corresponding to each aspect of the QBL and evaluated during the design and testing stages of the project. To our knowledge, this approach has not previously been implemented in any other electrical engineering design course. 

In this paper, we will describe the details of our approach and the adjustments made to the curriculum and the assessment process. We will also discuss the course outcome and share our thoughts on the challenges of balancing technical competencies and sustainability awareness throughout the course. Although the integration of sustainability into an electrical engineering design course is not free of challenges, the course results and the students’ feedback suggest that our approach can provide an effective framework for promoting holistic systems approach, critical thinking, and ethical responsibility in electrical engineering students, as well as students of other engineering disciplines.
@InProceedings{MOTAVAS2018INT,
author = {Motavas, S. and Satti, S.},
title = {INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY INTO THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN COURSE},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.1983},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.1983},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {8509-8512}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Motavas AU - S. Satti
TI - INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY INTO THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN COURSE
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1983
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 8509
EP - 8512
ER -
S. Motavas, S. Satti (2018) INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY INTO THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN COURSE, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 8509-8512.
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