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The Challenge Of Teaching Sustainable Development Using A Multidisciplinary Project With Integrated Process Design

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Sustainability, Service Learning, and Entreprenuership

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

15.1211.1 - 15.1211.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15787

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

biography

Anouk Desjardins École Polytechnique de Montréal

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Anouk Desjardins has worked on the evolution and the teaching of the course Sustainable Development Capstone Project. After graduating in civil engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal she obtained a Master’s of Applied Science in 1999. Then she worked in industry as a process engineer. Since 2008 she joined Ecole Polytechnique as a research assistant for sustainable development projects and as a lecturer.

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biography

Louise Millette École Polytechnique de Montréal

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Louise Millette is, since 2002, the first (and only) woman to hold the position of Department Director at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. After graduating in civil engineering at Ecole Polytechnique, she obtained a Master’s of Applied Science from UBC and then a Doctorate from Ecole Polytechnique. An experienced environmental manager, she worked at Bell Canada for 12 years before joining Ecole Polytechnique as Director of the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering. Very involved on the municipal scene, Dr. Millette chairs two committees of “la Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal”: the Environment and Sustainable Development committee and the Urban Landscape Committee. She is a founding member and a major contributor to Montréal’s First Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development.

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Erik Bélanger École Polytechnique de Montréal

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Erik Bélanger has worked on the development of the course Sustainable Development Capstone Project. Since then, he has contributed to the evolution and the teaching of the course. He obtained his engineering bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Sherbrooke in 1999. After graduating he worked in industry as a design engineer before completing a Master’s of Applied Science Montreal at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. Since 2004 he has worked at Ecole Polytechnique as research assistant for sustainable development projects and as a lecturer.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Challenge of Teaching Sustainable Development Using a Multidisciplinary Project with Integrated Process Design

Introduction

The Sustainable Development Capstone Project is a course designed to demonstrate that every engineer, regardless of his or her specialty, must be concerned with sustainable development. It is a final year undergraduate technical project offered to students from all engineering disciplines, which is almost unheard of at the École Polytechnique de Montréal (Polytechnique). The course started in the 2008 winter term and was being given for a third time as this paper was being written. Students work in multidisciplinary teams on a sustainable development project in a context very similar to the real engineering working environment.

A multidisciplinary course provides major challenges for both teachers and students. These include the acceptance of a multidisciplinary technical course when it is a departure from current practice, the process of making students from various disciplines work together using an integrated process design, and the guidance and evaluation of multidisciplinary teams despite limited teaching resources.

This paper will present the course context, the challenges faced to get the course approved, the course description, the main difficulties related to the course organization, and the activities planned to ensure effective student guidance and evaluation. The paper will conclude with lessons learned from both the teacher s point of view.

Context

In 2005, Polytechnique completely reorganized all of its undergraduate engineering programs1 The degree in engineering at Polytechnique is a four-year program of 120 credits, 108 of which are for compulsory courses. One of the major changes to all programs was the addition of a project course to each year so that students could integrate technical learning and apply oral and written communication skills developed in complementary studies.

During this program overhaul process, each department suggested the improvements needed to address the desired competencies and to meet the requirements of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB)2. To propose such changes, the civil engineering professors compared the competencies achieved in each program course with the desired competencies using a matrix, as suggested in Civil Engineering, Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century3. This examination showed that the civil engineering program should better integrate environmental management and sustainable development into its courses to ensure that students develop the desired competencies.

The idea of contaminating the civil engineering program with sustainable development crystallized in the mind of Professor Louise Millette (Associate Professor and Director of the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering) following an analysis of the competencies matrix. Initially, she sought and obtained two teaching support subsidies in 2006 and 2007 to finance a pilot project that produced a series of capsules. These capsules are

Desjardins, A., & Millette, L., & Bélanger, E. (2010, June), The Challenge Of Teaching Sustainable Development Using A Multidisciplinary Project With Integrated Process Design Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15787

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