June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.378.1 - 13.378.11
Designing and Delivering an Environmental Management Course for Engineering and Sciences Students
Environmental education for engineers and scientists is becoming increasingly important and popular throughout the world. There is a need to develop courses which introduce students to interdisciplinary environmental management principles and tools, and expose them to various real world problems. To promote interdisciplinary environmental education and research, North Dakota State University (NDSU) has introduced a graduate program in Environmental and Conservation Sciences (ECS) in 2003. As part of this interdisciplinary program, a course in environmental management for ECS and civil engineering students was introduced. The course was designed as a graduate level course and was made available to civil engineering undergraduates as a technical elective. The challenge was to address a widely diverse student group with different academic backgrounds. The course has been taught twice since its introduction in 2006. The course is intended to give students an understanding of current environmental issues and tools for environmental management. The issues are examined from the worldwide perspectives of science, engineering, business and society. At the end of the course students are expected to have a comprehensive knowledge of integrated environmental management with a global perspective. It is designed to help them in environmental decision- making from a socio-economic-environmental standpoint. Case studies are undertaken to bring clarity to the concepts introduced.
There is no recommended text book for this course, and publications from various nonprofit and governmental organizations including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) are used. Various models used for environmental analysis and decision making are introduced. The instructor’s knowledge gap is filled by inviting guest speakers to cover various topics. Students extensively use the Blackboard, a software system designed to facilitate the management of and access to educational information delivered via the Internet, for group discussion and course materials transfer. A discussion forum is kept open on the course Blackboard allowing students post course assessments anonymously as the course progresses. Student inputs are used to decide on the nature of assignments and projects. Two projects are taken up during the semester and the learning process centers around these projects. Typically students work on an environmental management (EM) project and a life-cycle assessment (LCA) project. Inductive teaching techniques have been used with a ‘revise your course as you go’ policy. The apparent disadvantage of an academically diverse student population has been used as an advantage through the introduction of inductive project based teaching. The students in the course are from different countries and that helps them to have real global perspectives on various issues through class interactions. The culturally diverse student population and their efforts to relate the course to the global context make the class discussion lively and educative.
Environmental education for engineers and scientists is becoming increasingly important and popular throughout the world1. There is a need to develop courses which introduce students to
Bezbaruah, A., & Lin, W. (2008, June), Designing And Delivering An Environmental Management Course For Engineering And Science Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4376
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