June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Design in Engineering Education
14.467.1 - 14.467.8
Development and Outcomes of a Design for the Environment Course Abstract
We have developed a Design for the Environment (DfE) course which is a dynamic mix of non- traditional lectures and hands-on DfE laboratory experiments that are infused with real-world interactions. Our engineering teams (E-teams) partner with local green industries and organizations to identify and engineer relevant product and process innovations in the context of sustainability. The DfE course was partially designed using objectives from the Sustainability in Higher Education Assessment Rubric (SHEAR), an ABET-aligned rubric that identifies and describes eight elements essential to courses aiming to teach concepts of sustainability to students. The key feature of this course is a semester product or process development project where the students work closely with green industries with the aim of addressing sustainability challenges. Students learn about product design and innovation in concert with issues of sustainability. During the semester the students interact with the companies and participate in hands on learning labs that develop an understanding of methods to solve problems related to sustainability. We will discuss the concepts of this course as well as discuss course assessments.
Introduction The Design for the Environment (DfE) course has been incorporated into the undergraduate and graduate engineering curriculum within the Swanson School of Engineering (SOE). DfE was funded by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) whose focus is on encouraging the incorporation of sustainability and product innovation into curricula. The learning objective of the DfE course is for students to understand the social, economic, and environmental impacts between product and process design decisions. Since green technology is emerging as the most important industry of the 21st century1, it is critical that students are provided the opportunity to understand the linkage between their decisions, engineering designs and sustainability. This course is one of a growing number of sustainability courses offered within Pitt’s SOE. The course is a dynamic mix of authentic learning and hands-on DfE laboratory experiments that are infused with real-world interactions. Our engineering teams (E- teams) partner with local green industries and organizations to identify and engineer relevant product and process innovations and/or improvements. At the close of the semester, E-Teams participate in a design competition; winning E-Teams are awarded a residency at their partner company to implement their design. Most importantly, the aim of the course is for students to gain an understanding of how their actions and designs have a significant impact on global sustainability efforts.
Incorporating sustainability into product and process design as a design constraint is clearly a necessity as all designers must understand the limits on natural resources. As environmental concerns such as global warming and energy security continue to weigh on society, the next generation of students will need to be prepared to solve complex sustainability challenges. DfE is one element of moving towards sustainable development, and is a concept that has developed and evolved since the early 1990’s, largely initiated by the electronics industry. In general, DfE is a “specific set of design practices aimed at creating eco-efficient products and processes”2. DfE and industrial ecology are centered on the idea that industries can simultaneously achieve
Bilec, M., & Torick, D., & Marriott, J., & Landis, A. (2009, June), Development And Outcomes Of A “Design For The Environment” Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5235
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