Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Engineering and Public Policy
Supporting standards education for engineering students is a critical need for industry. In this project, we discuss the impact of incorporating standards education into courses on environmental management and sustainability. The research involved a pre-assessment of student knowledge about the ISO 14040 Environmental Life cycle Assessment standards, examining the coverage of standards materials in courses, and assessing gains in standards knowledge through a post-assessment. Participants included approximately 200 students from nine universities where courses in LCA, environmental management and sustainability are taught annually. Each course uses the same on-line textbook to teach various concepts associated with LCA. Over the period of research, we expanded and enhanced the textbook content related generally for engineering standards, the standards making process and organizations; specifically for the ISO 14040 LCA standards, and its uses in professional practice. Comparisons are made in individual student gains pre- and post-course, and in cohort gains prior to changing the content in the textbook.
Initial analysis indicates both positive gains in student learning about standards, and added awareness in later cohorts with additional content on standards in their text. Further work is to be completed on instructor attitudes towards the standards content and coverage.
This work helped to fill a gap in teaching environmental performance assessment by formalizing curricular elements associate with the development of the underlying standards, as well as how those standards enable the comparative assessments of processes, products, and companies. This will allow many people, beginning at the undergraduate level, to understand the important role that standards have played, and continue to play, in this domain. They will also see how the critical interconnected development of standards and practice are enabling innovative sustainable opportunities to understand and improve environmental performance.
This work was supported by a Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement awarded by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Matthews, D. H., & Matthews, H. S. (2018, June), Assessing and Enhancing Standards Education for Environmental Management and Sustainability Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29818
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