Elsevier’s James Harper has just written a valuable new guidance article for the Engineering Ethics Toolkit on Why information literacy is an ethical issue in engineering. We got together with him to discuss this further.

 

James, where did your passion for this issue originate and how can the resources available for information literacy be put to use both by faculty and students?  

We live in a time marked by an unprecedented deluge of information, where distinguishing reliable and valuable content has become increasingly difficult. My concern was to help engineering educators meet the critical challenge of fostering ethical behaviour in their students in this complex world. Students are in real need of an ethical compass to navigate this information overload, and the digital landscape in particular. They need to acquire what we call ‘information and digital literacy’, specifically, learning how to research, select and critically assess reliable data. This is both a skill and a practice.  

For students, how does this skill relate to the engineering workplace? 

From observing professional engineers, it’s clear they require comprehensive insights and data to resolve problems, complete projects, and foster innovation. This necessitates extensive research, encompassing case studies, standards, best practices, and examples to validate or refute their strategies. Engineering is a profession deeply rooted in the analysis of failures in order to prevent avoidable mistakes. As a result, critical and unbiased thinking is essential and all the more so in the current state of the information landscape. This is something Knovel specifically strives to improve for the communities we serve. 

Knovel – a reference platform I’ve significantly contributed to – was initially built for practising engineers. Our early realisation was that the biggest obstacle for engineers in accessing the best available information wasn’t a lack of resources, but barriers such as insufficient digitalisation, technological hurdles, and ambiguous usage rights. Nowadays, the challenge has evolved: there’s an overload of online information, emerging yet unreliable sources like certain chatbots, and a persistently fragmented information landscape.  

How is Knovel used in engineering education? Can you share some insights on how to make the most of it? 

Knovel is distinguished by its extensive network of over 165 content partners worldwide, offering a breadth of trusted perspectives to meet the needs of a range of engineering information challenges. It’s an invaluable tool for students, especially those in project-based learning programs during their Undergraduate and Master’s studies. These students are on the cusp of facing real-world engineering challenges, and Knovel exposes them to the information practices of professional engineers. 

The platform is adept at introducing students to the research methodologies and information sources that a practising engineer would utilise. It helps them understand how professionals in their field gather insights, evaluate information, and engage in the creative process of problem-solving. While Knovel includes accessible introductory content, it progressively delves into more advanced topics, helping students grasp the complexities of decision-making in engineering. This approach makes Knovel an ideal companion for students transitioning from academic study to professional engineering practice. 

How is the tool used by educators? 

For educators, the tool offers support starting in the foundational years of teaching, covering all aspects of project-based learning and beyond. It is also an efficient way for faculty to remain up-to-date with the latest information and data on key issues. Ultimately, it is educators who have the challenge of guiding students towards reputable, suitable, traceable information. In doing so, educators are helping students to understand that where they gather information, and how they use it, is in itself an ethical issue. 

To learn more about the competence of information literacy check out our guidance article, Why information literacy is an ethical issue in engineering.

Knovel for Higher Education is an Elsevier product. As a publisher-neutral platform, Knovel helps engineering students explore foundational literature with interactive tools and data. 

46% of EPC members already have access to Knovel. To brainstorm how you can make the best use of Knovel in your classroom, please contact: Susan Watson, susan.watson@elsevier.com.  

Faculty and students can check their access to Knovel using their university email address at the following link: Account Verification – Knovel

Get Knovel to accelerate R&D, validate designs and prepare technical professionals. Innovate in record time with multidisciplinary knowledge you can trust: Knovel: Engineering innovation in record time

 

This blog is also available here.

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

Author: James E. Harper, Senior Product Manager (Knovel /Elsevier).

Keywords: Information literacy; digital literacy; misleading information; source and data reliability; ethical behaviour; sustainability. 

Who is this article for?: This article should be read by educators at all levels in higher education who wish to integrate technical information literacy into the engineering and design curriculum or module design. It will also help to provide students, particularly those embarking on Bachelor’s or Master’s research projects, with the integrated skill sets that employers are looking for, in particular, the ability to critically evaluate information. 

 

Introduction:

In an era dominated by digital information, engineering educators face the critical challenge of preparing students not just in technical skills, but in navigating the complex digital landscape with an ethical compass. This article explores how integrating information and digital literacy into engineering education is not only essential for fostering ethical behaviour but also crucial for ensuring sustainability in engineering practices. 

The intertwined nature of information and digital literacy in engineering is undeniable. Engineering practitioners need to be able to select and critically assess the reliability of the information sources they use to ensure they comply with ethical practice.  The Engineering Council and Royal Academy of Engineering’s Joint Statement of Ethical Principles underscores the need for accuracy and rigour, a core component of these literacies. Faculty members play a pivotal role in cultivating these skills, empowering students and practitioners to responsibly source and utilise information. 

 

The challenge of information overload:

One of the challenges facing trained engineers, engineering faculty and students alike is that of accessing, critically evaluating, and using accurate and reliable information.  

A professional engineer needs to gather insights and information to solve problems, deliver projects, and drive innovation. This involves undertaking as much research as possible: looking at case-studies, standards, best practices, and examples that will support or disprove what they think is the best approach. In a profession where the analysis of failures is a core competence, critical, dispassionate thinking is vital.  In fact, to be digitally literate, an ethically responsible engineer must know how to access, evaluate, utilise, manage, analyse, create, and interact using digital resources (Martin, 2008). 

Students, while adept at online searching, often struggle with assessing the credibility of sources, particularly information gleaned on social media, especially in their early academic years. This scenario necessitates faculty guidance in discerning reputable and ethical information sources, thereby embedding an ethical approach to information use early in their professional development. 

 

Accuracy and rigour:

Acquisition of ‘information literacy’ contributes to compliance with the Statement of Ethical Principles in several ways. It promotes the ‘accuracy and rigour’ essential to engineering. It guarantees the basis and scope of engineering expertise and reliability so that engineers effectively contribute to the well-being of society and its safety and understand the limits of their expertise. It also contributes to promoting ‘respect for the environment and public good’, not just by ensuring safety in design, drawing up safety standards and complying with them, but also by integrating the concept of social responsibility and sustainability into all projects and work practices. In addition, developing students’ capacity to analyse and assess the accuracy and reliability of environmental data enables them to recognise and avoid ‘green-washing’, a growing concern for many of them. 

 

Employability:

In the workplace, the ability to efficiently seek out relevant information is invaluable. In a project-based, problem-solving learning environment students are often confronted with the dilemma of how to refine their search to look for the right level of information from the very beginning of an experiment or research project. By acquiring this ‘information literacy’ competence early on in their studies they find themselves equipped with skills that are ‘workplace-ready’. For employers this represents a valuable competence and for students it constitutes an asset for their future employability. 

 

Tapping into specialised platforms:

In 2006 the then-CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt famously said “Google is not a truth machine”, and the recent wave of AI-powered chatbots all come with a stark disclaimer that they “may display incorrect or harmful information”, and “can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.”  Confronted with information overload and the difficulty of sifting through non-specialised and potentially unreliable material provided by major search engines, students and educators need to be aware of the wealth of reliable resources available on specialised platforms. For example, Elsevier’s engineering-focused, purpose-built platform, Knovel, offers trustworthy, curated engineering content from a large variety of providers. By giving students access to the same engineering resources and tools as professionals in the field it enables them to incorporate technical information into their work and provides them with early exposure to the industry standard. For educators, it offers support for the foundational years of teaching, covering all aspects of problem-based learning and beyond. It is also an efficient way of remaining up-to-date with the latest information and data on key issues. The extensive range of information and data available equips students and engineers with the ability to form well-rounded, critical perspectives on the various interests and power dynamics that play a role in the technical engineering challenges they endeavour to address. 

 

Conclusion:

By embedding information and digital literacy into the fabric of engineering education (such as by using this case study), we not only promote ethical behaviour but also prepare students for the challenges of modern engineering practice. These skills are fundamental to the ethical and sustainable advancement of the engineering profession. 

 

Knovel for Higher Education is an Elsevier product. As a publisher-neutral platform, Knovel helps engineering students explore foundational literature with interactive tools and data.  

46% of EPC members already have access to Knovel.  If you don’t currently have access but would like to try Knovel in your teaching or to brainstorm how you can make the best use of Knovel in your classroom, please contact: Susan Watson,  susan.watson@elsevier.com. Check out this useful blog post from James Harper on exactly that topic here.

Faculty and students can check their access to Knovel using their university email address at the following link: Account Verification – Knovel

 

References:

 

Additional Resources:

 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

What are the top ethical issues in engineering today, and how can you incorporate these in your teaching?

In our Engineering Ethics workshop at the 2023 SEFI Conference at TU Dublin, we asked participants what they felt were the top ethical issues in engineering today. This word cloud captured their responses, and the results reveal concerns ranging from AI and sustainability to business and policy and beyond.

When incorporating ethics into a lesson or module, educators might want to find teaching resources that address a topic that’s recently been in the news or something of particular relevance to a group of students or to a project brief. But how can this be done efficiently when there are now so many teaching materials available in our Toolkits?

Fortunately, sifting through available resources in the Ethics Toolkit is now easier than ever, with the release of the new Toolkit search function. The Toolkit search allows users to:

  • Choose from a list of suggested keyword tags;
  • Search by multiple keyword tags or their own search terms;
  • Refine the search results by one of more of the following filters: engineering discipline; educational level; type of content.

It even pulls resources from across different toolkits, if so desired.

Not only will this help you discover and find materials that are right for your educational context, but the search function could even become a teaching tool in itself. For instance, you could poll students with the same question we used in the SEFI Workshop, asking them what they think the top ethical issues are in engineering today, and then design (or co-design) a lesson or activity based on their responses and supported by resources in the Toolkit. If you don’t find resources for a particular issue, that could be a great learning opportunity to0 – why might these topics not be addressed? Of course, you can always create a resource that fills a gap and submit it to be a part of the Toolkit: we would love to see a student-developed case study or activity.

Let us know how you have used the Toolkit search function, and if there are ways we could improve it. Happy searching!

This post is also available here.

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

Dr Emma A Taylor, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor, Cranfield University and Professor Sarah Jayne Hitt, PhD SFHEA, NMITE, Edinburgh Napier University, discusses embedding ethics in engineering education through wide use of deaf awareness: a gateway to a more inclusive practice.

“An ethical society is an inclusive society”. This is a statement that most people would find it hard to disagree strongly with. As users of the EPC’s Engineering Ethics Toolkit and readers of this blog we hope our message is being heard loud and clear.

But hearing is a problem:

One in five adults in the UK are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. That is 12 million adults or 20% of the population. In the broader context of‘ ‘communication exclusion’ (practices that exclude or inhibit communication), this population figure may be even larger, when including comprehension issues experienced by non-native speakers and poor communication issues such as people talking over one another in group settings such as during meetings.

This ‘communication exclusion’ gap is also visible in an education context, where many educators have observed group discussion and group project dynamics develop around those who are the most dominant (read: loudest) communicators. This creates an imbalanced learning environment with the increased potential for unequal outcomes. Even though this ‘communication exclusion’ and lack of skills is such a huge problem, you could say it’s hidden in plain sight. Identification of this imbalance is an example of ethics in action in the classroom.

Across all spheres, we suggest that becoming deaf aware is one way to begin to address communication exclusion issues. Simple and practical effective tips are already widely disseminated by expert organisations with deep in the field experience (see list of resources below from RNID). Our collective pandemic experience took us all a great step forward in seeing the benefits of technology, but also in understanding the challenges of communicating through the barriers of technology. As engineering educators we can choose to become more proactive in using tools that are already available, an action that supports a wider range of learners beyond those who choose to disclose hearing or understanding related needs. This approach is inclusive; it is ethical.

And as educators we propose that there is an even greater pressing need to amplify the issue and promote practical techniques towards improving communication. Many surveys and reports from industry have indicated that preparing students for real world work environments needs improving. Although they often become proficient in technical skills, unless they get an internship, students may not develop the business skills needed for the workplace. Communication in all its forms is rightly embedded in professional qualifications for engineers, whether EngTech, IEng, CEng or other from organisations such as the UK’s Engineering Council.

And even when skills are explicitly articulated in the syllabus and the students are assessed, much of what is already being taught is not actually being embedded into transferable skills that are effectively deployed in the workplace. As education is a training ground for professional skills, a patchy implementation of effective and active practice of communication skills in the education arena leads to variable skill levels professionally.

As engineers we are problem solvers, so we seek clarification of issues and derivation of potential solutions through identification and optimisation of requirements. The problem-solving lens we apply to technology can also be applied to finding ways to educate better communicators. The “what” is spoken about in generic terms but the “how”, how to fix and examine root causes, is less often articulated.

So what can be done? What is the practical framework that can be applied by both academics and students and embedded in daily life? And how can deaf awareness help get us there?

Our proposal is to work to embed and deploy deaf awareness in all aspects of engineering education. Not only because it is just and ethical to do so, but because it can help us see (and resolve) other issues.  But this won’t, and can’t, be done in one step. Our experience in the field shows that even the simplest measures aren’t broadly used despite their clear potential for benefit. This is one reason why blogs and toolkits like this one exist: to help educators embed resources and processes into their teaching practice.

It’s important to note that this proposal goes beyond deaf awareness and is really about reducing or removing invisible barriers that exist in communication and education, and addressing the communication problem through an engineering lens. Only when one takes a step back with a deaf awareness filter and gets the relevant training, do your eyes (and ears) open and see how it helps others. It is about improving the effectiveness of teaching and communication.

This approach goes beyond EDI principles and is about breaking barriers and being part of a broader student development approach, such as intellectual, emotional, social, and personal growth. The aim is to get students present and to be in the room with you, during the process of knowledge transfer.

As we work on making our engineering classrooms better for everyone, we are focusing on understanding and supporting students with hearing impairments. We are taking a step back and getting re-trained to have a fresh perspective. This helps us see things we might have missed before. The goal is not just to be aware but to actually improve how we teach and communicate.

We want our classrooms to be inclusive, where everyone’s needs are considered and met. It is about creating an environment where all our students, including those with hearing impairments, feel supported and included in the learning process. And stepping back and taking a whole human (“humanist”) view, we can define education as an endeavour that develops human potentialnot just an activity that produces nameless faceless quantifiable outcomes or products. As such, initiatives such as bringing forward deaf awareness to benefit broader communication and engagement provide a measurable step forward into bringing a more humanistic approach to Engineering Education.

So what can you do?

Through the EPC’s growing efforts on EDI, we welcome suggestions for case studies and other teaching materials and guidance that bring together ethics, sustainability and deaf awareness (or other issues of inclusivity).

We’re pleased to report that we are aiming to launch an EDI Toolkit project soon, building on the work that we’ve begun on neurodiversity. Soon we’ll be seeking  people to get involved and contribute resources, so stay tuned! (i.e. “If you have a process or resource that helped your teaching become more inclusive, please share it with us!”).

 

RNID resources list

 

Other resources

 

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

This article is also available here.

In developing the resources for the EPC’s Sustainability Toolkit, we took into account recent scholarship and best practices and reviewed existing material available on sustainability in engineering. You can find links to these online resources in our ever-growing library of engineering education resources on sustainability below. Please note, the resources linked below are all open-source. If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.

 

To view a page that only lists library links from a specific category type:

 

Knowledge tools

Listed below are links to resources that support educators’ awareness and understanding of sustainability topics in general as well as their connection to engineering education in particular. These have been grouped according to topic. You can also find our suite of knowledge tools, here.

Resource Topic Discipline
UN SDG website Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development Toolbox Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Newcastle University’s Guide to Engineering and Education for Sustainable Development Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
International Institute for Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
PBL, SDGs, and Engineering Education WFEO Academy webinar (only accessible to WFEO academy members) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
Re-setting the Benchmarks for Engineering Graduates with the Right Skills for Sustainable Development WFEO Academy webinar (only accessible to WFEO academy members) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
AdvanceHE’s Guidance on embedding Education for Sustainable Development in HE Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
UNESCO Engineering Report  Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
AdvanceHEEducation for Sustainable Development: a review of the literature 2015-2022  (only accessible to colleagues from member institutions at AdvanceHE – this is a member benefit until October 2025) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Wackernagel, M., Hanscom, L. and Lin, D. (2017) Making the Sustainable Development Goals consistent with sustainability, Frontiers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development (VIP4SD), University of Strathclyde (Video) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde (Study with us) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Siemens Skills for Sustainability Network Roundtable Article – August 2022 Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
Siemens Skills for Sustainability Network Roundtable Article – October 2022 Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
Siemens Skills for Sustainability Student Survey Student Voice  Engineering-specific
Students Organising for Sustainability Learning Academy Student Voice  General
Students Organising for Sustainability – Sustainability Skills Survey Student Voice  General
Engineers Without Borders-UK Global Responsibility Competency Compass Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  Engineering-specific
Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment Sustainability Skills Map Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
Arizona State School of Sustainability Key Competencies Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
EU GreenComp: the European Sustainability Competence Framework Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
International Engineering Alliance Graduate Attributes & Professional Competencies Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
Engineering for One Planet (EOP) – The EOP Framework Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  Engineering-specific
Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Circular Economy website Broader Context , Circular economy Engineering-specific
GreenBiz’s Cheat Sheet of EU Sustainability Regulations Broader Context , Regulations General
Green Software Practitioner – Principles of Green Software Broader Context , Software Engineering-specific
Microsoft’s Principles of Sustainable Software Engineering Broader Context , Software Engineering-specific
Engineering Futures – Sustainability in Engineering 2023 webinars  (You will need to create an account on the Engineering Futures website. Once you have created your account, navigate back to this link, scroll down to ”Sustainability in Engineering Webinars” and enter your account details. Click on the webinar recordings you wish to access. You will then be redirected to the Crowdcast website, where you will need to create an account to view the recordings.) Broader Context, Engineering Engineering-specific
Innes, C. (2023) AI and Sustainability: Weighing up the environmental pros and cons of Machine Intelligence Technology., Jisc – Infrastructure.  (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Artificial Intelligence Engineering-specific
Arnold, W. (2020a) The structural engineer’s responsibility in this climate emergency, The Institution of Structural Engineers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Arnold, W. (2017) Structural engineering in 2027, The Institution of Structural Engineers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Arnold, W. (2020b) The institution’s response to the climate emergency, The Institution of Structural Engineers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Litos , L. et al. (2023) An investigation between the links of sustainable manufacturing practices and Innovation, Procedia CIRP. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Manufacturing Engineering-specific
UAL Fashion SEEDS: Fashion Societal, Economic and Environmental Design-led Sustainability Broader context, Design General

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

Author: The Sustainability Resources Library was produced by Crystal Nwagboso (Engineering Professors Council).If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.
We’ve collated a library of links to groups, networks, organisations, and initiatives that connect you with others who are working on embedding sustainability in engineering education.

 

In developing the resources for the EPC’s Sustainability Toolkit, we took into account recent scholarship and best practices and reviewed existing material available on sustainability in engineering. You can find links to these online resources in our ever-growing library of
engineering education resources on sustainability below. Please note, the resources linked
below are all open-source. If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how
on our Get Involved page.

 

To view a page that only lists library links from a specific category type:

 

Collaboration resources

Organisation Type Sustainability focus
Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS) Student groups General
European Students of Industrial Engineering and Management (ESTIEM) Student groups Engineering-specific
People & Planet Student groups General
Student Platform For Engineering Education Development (SPEED) Student groups Engineering-specific
Global Spark Student groups General
Board of European Students of Technology (BEST) Student groups General
UN regional centre for expertise Networks General
Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education(EAUC) Networks General
RCE Scotland – Learning for Sustainability Scotland Networks General
UN Global Compact Network Networks General
Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC ) Networks Engineering-specific
International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) Networks Engineering-specific
Engineering for Change Networks Engineering-specific
Higher Education Sustainability Initiative(HESI) Organisations / Initiatives General
UK Fires Organisations / Initiatives Engineering-specific
Engineering for One Planet (EOP) Organisations / Initiatives Engineering-specific
Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK) Organisations / Initiatives Engineering-specific
SEFI Sustainability Special Interest Group Organisations / Initiatives Engineering-specific
Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP) Organisations / Initiatives General

 

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

This post is also available here.

Author: The Sustainability Resources Library was produced by Crystal Nwagboso (Engineering Professors Council). If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.

In developing the resources for the EPC’s Sustainability Toolkit, we took into account recent scholarship and best practices and reviewed existing material available on sustainability in engineering. You can find links to these online resources in our ever-growing library of engineering education resources on sustainability below. Please note, the resources linked below are all open-source. If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.

 

Jump to a section on this page:

 

To view a page that only lists library links from a specific category type:

 

Assessment tools

Listed below are links to tools that are designed to support educators’ ability to measure quality and impact of sustainability teaching and learning activities. These have been grouped according to topic. You can also find our suite of assessment tools, here.

Resource Topic Discipline
Newcastle University’s Assessing Education for Sustainable Development Assessment materials  General
Welsh Assembly Government: Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. A self-assessment toolkit for Work-Based Learning Providers. Assessment materials  General
The Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP) – Fourth edition Accreditation materials  General
Times Higher Education – Impact Rankings 2022 Accreditation materials  General
Times Higher Education, Impact Rankings 2023 Accreditation materials  General
The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment (UK-SPEC) Accreditation materials  General

 

Collaboration resources

Click to view our Collaboration resources page where you can find links to groups, networks, and organisations/initiatives that will support educators’ ability to learn with and from others. 

 

Integration tools

Listed below are links to tools designed to support educators ability to apply and embed sustainability topics within their engineering teaching. These have been grouped according to topic. You can also find our suite of learning activities and case studies, here.

Resource Topic Discipline
Engineering for One Planet Framework Learning Outcomes Curriculum Development  Engineering-specific
Education & Training Foundation’s Map the Curriculum Tool for ESD Curriculum Development  General
University College Cork’s Sustainable Development Goals Toolkit Curriculum Development  General
Strachan, S.M. et al. (2019) Using vertically integrated projects to embed research-based education for Sustainable Development in undergraduate curricula, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Curriculum Development  General
Snowflake Education – Faculty Training: Teaching Sustainability Program Curriculum Development General
Siemens Case Studies on Sustainability Case Studies Engineering-specific
Low Energy Transition Initiative Case Studies Case Studies , Energy Engineering-specific
UK Green Building Council Case Studies Case Studies , Construction Engineering-specific
Litos, L. et al. (2017) Organizational designs for sharing environmental best practice between manufacturing sites, SpringerLink. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Case Studies , Manufacturing Engineering-specific
Litos, L. et al. (2017) A maturity-based improvement method for eco-efficiency in manufacturing systems, Procedia Manufacturing. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Case Studies , Manufacturing Engineering-specific
European Product Bureau – Indicative list of software tools and databases for Level(s) indicator 1.2 (version December 2020). Technical tools, Built environment Engineering-specific
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – Whole life carbon assessment (WLCA) for the built environment Technical tools, Built environment Engineering-specific
The Institution of Structural Engineers (ISTRUCTE) – The Structural carbon tool – version 2 Technical tools, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Green, M. (2014) What the social progress index can reveal about your country, Michael Green: What the Social Progress Index can reveal about your country | TED Talk. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Technical tools  General

Manfred Max-Neef’s Fundamental human needs (Matrix of needs and satisfiers)

”One of the applications of the work is in the field of Strategic Sustainable Development, where the fundamental human needs (not the marketed or created desires and wants) are used in the Brundtland definition.”

Technical tools  General
Siemens – Engineering student software  Technical tools Engineering-specific
Despeisse, M. et al. (2016) A collection of tools for factory eco-efficiency, Procedia CIRP. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Technical tools, Manufacturing Engineering-specific
Engineering for One Planet Quickstart Activity Guide Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Engineering for One Planet Comprehensive Guide to Teaching Learning Outcomes Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Siemens Engineering Curriculum Materials Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
VentureWell’s Activities for Integrating Sustainability into Technical Classes Other Learning Activities  General
VentureWell’s Tools for Design and Sustainability Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
AskNature’s Biomimicry Toolbox Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Segalas , J. (2020) Freely available learning resources for Sustainable Design in engineering education, SEFI. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Siemens Xcelerator Academy Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific

 

Knowledge tools

Listed below are links to resources that support educators’ awareness and understanding of sustainability topics in general as well as their connection to engineering education in particular. These have been grouped according to topic. You can also find our suite of knowledge tools, here.

Resource Topic Discipline
UN SDG website Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development Toolbox Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Newcastle University’s Guide to Engineering and Education for Sustainable Development Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
International Institute for Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
PBL, SDGs, and Engineering Education WFEO Academy webinar (only accessible to WFEO academy members) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
Re-setting the Benchmarks for Engineering Graduates with the Right Skills for Sustainable Development WFEO Academy webinar (only accessible to WFEO academy members) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
AdvanceHE’s Guidance on embedding Education for Sustainable Development in HE Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
UNESCO Engineering Report  Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
AdvanceHEEducation for Sustainable Development: a review of the literature 2015-2022  (only accessible to colleagues from member institutions at AdvanceHE – this is a member benefit until October 2025) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General

Wackernagel, M., Hanscom, L. and Lin, D. (2017) Making the Sustainable Development Goals consistent with sustainability, Frontiers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024).

Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development (VIP4SD), University of Strathclyde (Video) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde (Study with us) Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals General
Siemens Skills for Sustainability Network Roundtable Article – August 2022 Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
Siemens Skills for Sustainability Network Roundtable Article – October 2022 Education for Sustainable Development and UN Sustainable Development Goals Engineering-specific
Siemens Skills for Sustainability Student Survey Student Voice  Engineering-specific
Students Organising for Sustainability Learning Academy Student Voice  General
Students Organising for Sustainability – Sustainability Skills Survey Student Voice  General
Engineers Without Borders-UK Global Responsibility Competency Compass Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  Engineering-specific
Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment Sustainability Skills Map Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
Arizona State School of Sustainability Key Competencies Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
EU GreenComp: the European Sustainability Competence Framework Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
International Engineering Alliance Graduate Attributes & Professional Competencies Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  General
Engineering for One Planet (EOP) – The EOP Framework Competency Frameworksfor Sustainability  Engineering-specific
Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Circular Economy website Broader Context , Circular economy Engineering-specific
GreenBiz’s Cheat Sheet of EU Sustainability Regulations Broader Context , Regulations General
Green Software Practitioner – Principles of Green Software Broader Context , Software Engineering-specific
Microsoft’s Principles of Sustainable Software Engineering Broader Context , Software Engineering-specific
Engineering Futures – Sustainability in Engineering 2023 webinars  (You will need to create an account on the Engineering Futures website. Once you have created your account, navigate back to this link, scroll down to ”Sustainability in Engineering Webinars” and enter your account details. Click on the webinar recordings you wish to access. You will then be redirected to the Crowdcast website, where you will need to create an account to view the recordings.) Broader Context, Engineering Engineering-specific
Innes, C. (2023) AI and Sustainability: Weighing up the environmental pros and cons of Machine Intelligence Technology., Jisc – Infrastructure.  (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Artificial Intelligence Engineering-specific
Arnold, W. (2020a) The structural engineer’s responsibility in this climate emergency, The Institution of Structural Engineers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Arnold, W. (2017) Structural engineering in 2027, The Institution of Structural Engineers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Arnold, W. (2020b) The institution’s response to the climate emergency, The Institution of Structural Engineers. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Litos , L. et al. (2023) An investigation between the links of sustainable manufacturing practices and Innovation, Procedia CIRP. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Broader Context, Manufacturing Engineering-specific
UAL Fashion SEEDS: Fashion Societal, Economic and Environmental Design-led Sustainability
Broader context, Design General

 

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

Author: The Sustainability Resources Library was produced by Crystal Nwagboso (Engineering Professors Council). If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.

This post is also available here.

In developing the resources for the EPC’s Sustainability Toolkit, we took into account recent scholarship and best practices and reviewed existing material available on sustainability in engineering. You can find links to these online resources in our ever-growing library of engineering education resources on sustainability below. Please note, the resources linked below are all open-source. If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.

 

To view a page that only lists library links from a specific category type:

 

Integration tools

Listed below are links to tools designed to support educators ability to apply and embed sustainability topics within their engineering teaching. These have been grouped according to topic. You can also find our suite of learning activities and case studies, here.

Resource Topic Discipline
Engineering for One Planet Framework Learning Outcomes Curriculum Development  Engineering-specific
Education & Training Foundation’s Map the Curriculum Tool for ESD Curriculum Development  General
University College Cork’s Sustainable Development Goals Toolkit Curriculum Development  General
Strachan, S.M. et al. (2019) Using vertically integrated projects to embed research-based education for Sustainable Development in undergraduate curricula, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Curriculum Development  General
Snowflake Education – Faculty Training: Teaching Sustainability Program Curriculum Development General
Siemens Case Studies on Sustainability Case Studies Engineering-specific
Low Energy Transition Initiative Case Studies Case Studies , Energy Engineering-specific
UK Green Building Council Case Studies Case Studies , Construction Engineering-specific
Litos, L. et al. (2017) Organizational designs for sharing environmental best practice between manufacturing sites, SpringerLink. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Case Studies , Manufacturing Engineering-specific
Litos, L. et al. (2017) A maturity-based improvement method for eco-efficiency in manufacturing systems, Procedia Manufacturing. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Case Studies , Manufacturing Engineering-specific
European Product Bureau – Indicative list of software tools and databases for Level(s) indicator 1.2 (version December 2020). Technical tools, Built environment Engineering-specific
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – Whole life carbon assessment (WLCA) for the built environment Technical tools, Built environment Engineering-specific
The Institution of Structural Engineers (ISTRUCTE) – The Structural carbon tool – version 2 Technical tools, Structural engineering Engineering-specific
Green, M. (2014) What the social progress index can reveal about your country, Michael Green: What the Social Progress Index can reveal about your country | TED Talk. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Technical tools  General

Manfred Max-Neef’s Fundamental human needs (Matrix of needs and satisfiers)

”One of the applications of the work is in the field of Strategic Sustainable Development, where the fundamental human needs (not the marketed or created desires and wants) are used in the Brundtland definition.”

Technical tools  General
Siemens – Engineering student software  Technical tools Engineering-specific
Despeisse, M. et al. (2016) A collection of tools for factory eco-efficiency, Procedia CIRP. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Technical tools, Manufacturing Engineering-specific
Engineering for One Planet Quickstart Activity Guide Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Engineering for One Planet Comprehensive Guide to Teaching Learning Outcomes Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Siemens Engineering Curriculum Materials Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
VentureWell’s Activities for Integrating Sustainability into Technical Classes Other Learning Activities  General
VentureWell’s Tools for Design and Sustainability Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
AskNature’s Biomimicry Toolbox Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Segalas , J. (2020) Freely available learning resources for Sustainable Design in engineering education, SEFI. (Accessed: 01 February 2024). Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific
Siemens Xcelerator Academy Other Learning Activities  Engineering-specific

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

Author: The Sustainability Resources Library was produced by Crystal Nwagboso (Engineering Professors Council).If you want to suggest a resource that has helped you, find out how on our Get Involved page.

The EPC’s Sustainability Toolkit is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Siemens. This resource is designed to help engineering educators integrate sustainability-related content into teaching.
 

Contents

The toolkit currently includes the following, but it is a growing resource and we are currently working on further content.

 

Our supporters

These resources have been produced by the Engineering Professors’ Council in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering and Siemens.

 

Licensing

To ensure that everyone can use and adapt the toolkit in a way that best fits their teaching or purpose, most of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Under this licence you are free to share and adapt this material, under terms that you must give appropriate credit and attribution to the original material and indicate if any changes are made.

 

Themes related to Sustainability in other EPC Toolkit resources

Please do take a look at the subset of resources from our other Toolkits that feature themes relating to sustainability.
Resource Tool type EPC Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-implementing-the-use-of-homegrown-mass-timber-for-residential-housing/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-recycled-materials-and-the-circular-economy/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-balancing-safety-costs-and-the-environment-in-the-inspection-of-wind-turbine-blades/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-developing-a-decarbonisation-roadmap/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-engineers-and-public-protest/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-feasibility-of-installing-heat-pumps-at-scale-to-reach-net-zero/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-debating-the-adoption-of-nuclear-energy/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/universal-and-inclusive-co-design-of-the-built-environment-and-the-transportation-systems/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-choosing-to-install-a-smart-meter/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-industrial-pollution-from-an-ageing-pipeline-and-its-impact-on-local-communities/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-choosing-a-career-in-climate-change-geoengineering/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit
https://epc.ac.uk/toolkit/case-study-business-growth-models-in-engineering-industries-within-an-economic-system/ Case study Engineering Ethics Toolkit

 

More to come

This is just the beginning – we are already working on expanding this toolkit with future projects, including: developing more case studies, devising a system to make the case studies searchable by engineering discipline, sustainability issues and so on. For more information, see our Get involved page.

 

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.
The EPC has introduced a major new initiative to ensure the engineers of tomorrow can rise to the challenges of the climate emergency: The Sustainability Toolkit, produced with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering and Siemens. EPC President, Prof John Mitchell invites you to explore.

 

Prof John Mitchell
Professor John Mitchell, EPC President

In order to ensure that recent engineering graduates are prepared to meet the challenges of today, it is imperative that they develop a greater level of sustainability knowledge and expertise. Sustainability should become the core tenet of engineering education, training and professional practice – a view supported by research undertaken by UCL and the EPC also published by the Royal Academy of Engineering today.

A rising number of groups are advocating that engineering programmes prioritise sustainability in addition to technical knowledge in order to provide aspiring engineers with the tools and perspective they need to be successful. A plethora of areas at the policy level demonstrate this including: The Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes in engineering (AHEP, 4th edition) standards demonstrating the significance of engineering’s impact on the environment.

As part of our commitment to support EPC member institutions to integrate sustainability content in their engineering education, we’re pleased to unveil twelve guidance articles, 18 different teaching resources including five case studies, and a library of links to sustainability communities and networks that promote collaborative efforts.

The toolkit will operate as an open-access platform where users can also submit their resources for review and inclusion. Additionally, it directs users to supplementary materials curated by a team of experts.

We’d like to express our gratitude to the Sustainability Toolkit Steering Group, our Sustainability Toolkit Contributors, and our brilliant supporters, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Siemens for their unwavering assistance and backing. Chris Wise, steering group chair, has been amazing at leading by example – with his expertise and passion for embedding sustainability into the curriculum, he ensured this project reached this point seamlessly.

Sarah Jayne Hitt (Project Manager), Crystal Nwagboso (Project Manager, Research and Editorial Lead/Analyst), and Johnny Rich (Chief Executive) have also done a fantastic job of keeping everyone on course and generating excellent tools guided by the best standards.

I’m immensely proud of our collaboration with Siemens and the Royal Academy of Engineering on the new EPC Sustainability Toolkit. We’re not just shaping educational resources. We’re shaping the engineers who will shape our future.

We sincerely hope you will find these tools helpful in integrating sustainability into the classroom. Kindly let us know about your experience using them and stay tuned as we’ll be expanding the toolkit. Do get in touch or see the Toolkit for further details about submitting your own content.
 
This blog is also available here

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

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