On March 20th 2014 the first KTH-Sustainability Education Day was arranged at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The afternoon gathered teachers, researchers and other personnel from both KTH and other national universities for inspiration and discussion about how to integrate sustainable development in engineering education at university level.
Text by: Teresia Sandberg
We were privileged to welcome Jordi Segalàs from UPC Barcelona Tech and Magdalena Svanström from Chalmers University of Technology as keynote speakers. Both of these universities began their journeys within integration of environment and sustainable development in the courses and educational programs for decades ago.
The keynote speakers Jordi Segalàs from UPC Barcelona Tech. (right) and Magdalena Svanström from Chalmers University of Technology (left).
KTH examples: Training teachers and activating students
KTH teachers shared several examples and presentations of how they work with sustainable development in different subject courses and programs. One successful example is the pedagogical course for teachers ‘Learning for Sustainable Development (4.5 credits)’. The course consists of four parts, starting with basic knowledge about sustainable development and teaching in this subject, followed by a section of how sustainability can be integrated into engineering education. The course ends with course participants creating their own virtual course PM which is presented as a poster during the final seminar.
Another effective way sustainability has been integrated into education at KTH is through interactive course modules. ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development’ is one such module which consists of five lectures and four seminars. During the seminars, students play a board game called GaSuCo (Gaming for Sustainability through Communication) which includes mini-quiz questions and sustainability dilemmas, tightly connected to the lectures. During the past two years close to 1000 KTH students have taken this course module with excellent results. The interest for this course module is growing among teachers and more are keen on including it into their courses and programs. Special editions are developed for different subjects, such as information and communications technology.
Debate about teaching methods
KTH-Sustainability Education Day finished with a staged parliamentary style debate about the best method for teaching sustainable development. Half of the participants argued that sustainable development should be taught in separate courses, while the other half argued that sustainability must be integrated into all course subjects. The debate incited strong opinions and arguments from both sides and in the end the jury could not appoint a winning side. Luckily, both sides became friends during the following mingle.
The parliamentary style debate at the end of the day.
The program and all presentations from KTH-Sustainability Education Day can be found at http://www.kth.se/om/miljo-hallbar-utveckling/event-semiarier/kth-sustainability-education-day-20-mars-1.451250