Asee peer logo

Teaching Sustainable Engineering and Industrial Ecology using a Hybrid Problem-Project Based Learning Approach

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ETD Green Energy/Sustainability

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Vedaraman Sriraman Texas State University, San Marcos

visit author page

Dr. Vedaraman Sriraman is a Piper Professor and University Distinguished Professor of Engineering Technology at Texas State University. He has served as the Associate Director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State University. Dr. Sriraman's degrees are in Mechanical and Industrial engineering. His research interests are in engineering education, sustainability, and applied statistics. In the past, he has implemented several grants from the NSF, NASA and SME-EF. Dr. Sriraman has served as the faculty advisor to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Foundry Society and the Society of Women Engineers and as the Foundry Educational Foundation Key professor. He has also received several teaching awards at Texas State University. Currently, Dr. Sriraman serves as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Texas State University.

visit author page


Anthony Torres Texas State University, San Marcos

visit author page

Dr. Torres, a native of New Mexico, joined the Department of Engineering Technology (Concrete Industry Management program) in August 2013 where he teaches Concrete Construction Methods and a variety of project management courses. He received both of his graduate degrees, Ph.D. and M.S., in Civil Engineering (Structural), from the University of New Mexico. He obtained his B.S. degree, also in Civil Engineering, from New Mexico State University. Dr. Torres’ research areas include the science and advancement of materials, such as concrete and cementitious materials, glass fibers, and composite materials. Dr. Torres’ research interest also extends to the classroom, where he is constantly evolving his courses to provide the best education to his students.

visit author page


Araceli Martinez Ortiz Texas State University, San Marcos

visit author page

Araceli Martinez Ortiz, PhD., is Research Associate Professor of Engineering Education in the College of Education at Texas State University. She leads a comprehensive research agenda related to issues of curriculum and instruction in engineering education, motivation and preparation of under served populations of students and teachers and in assessing the impact of operationalizing culturally responsive teaching in the STEM classroom. As executive director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research, she collaborates on various state and national STEM education programs and is PI on major grant initiatives through NASA MUREP, NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education and NSF DUE . Araceli holds Engineering degrees from The University of Michigan and Kettering University. She holds a Masters degree in Education from Michigan State University and a PhD in Engineering Education from Tufts University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Recently there has been an increased societal awareness of the environmental impacts of industrial activities. Many universities have included courses in sustainable engineering and industrial ecology in their engineering/technology curriculum to better prepare tomorrow’s engineering professional. A unifying thread that runs through such courses is a “life cycle” based holistic approach to product, process and infrastructure design. Application of appropriate pedagogy is key to active student engagement in the learning process and to the application of concepts to the solution of technical problems. In this paper a hybrid problem-project based pedagogical approach to teaching sustainable engineering and industrial ecology is described. Problem based learning was used to promote self- directed student learning of key course concepts in which teams of students solved problems in product or process design. These problems typically were related to the lecture topic that was to be covered for the day. Project based learning was used as a central organizing principle for the course and to enable students to apply the principles of life cycle assessment (LCA) of environmental impacts of a product. The project, which was assigned early in the semester and due at the end, drove all of the learning activities for the semester. Based on the assessment of student learning in 2015 and 2016, the pedagogical strategies adopted are promoting the comprehension and application of sustainable engineering and industrial ecology toward the development of environmentally sound products and processes.

Sriraman, V., & Torres, A., & Ortiz, A. M. (2017, June), Teaching Sustainable Engineering and Industrial Ecology using a Hybrid Problem-Project Based Learning Approach Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28925

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015