Designing a comprehensive methodology to integrate sustainability issues in CDIO projects The global agenda of sustainability is increasingly demanding the acquisition of technical skills and the development of specific personal competences of future professionals. This fact is encouraging the instructors of engineering schools to develop new and innovative learning strategies that cope with this challenge. A historical review of how the topic has been included in engineering curricula in the last decades shows that the focus has been primarily put on economic and environmental aspects, while the ethical and social impacts have been considered to a lesser extent. We therefore propose in this study a new methodology to overcome this situation, since we understand that all the sustainability domains should be addressed jointly and in an integrated way. In the context of CDIO projects, the development of course contents, applied methodologies and evaluation rubrics is usually dissymmetric. Life-cycle assessment methodology usually fits well to CDIO model when the challenge is to design, implement and operate a range of specific products, but in the case of more complex systems or processes, an adaptation is required in order to enhance in the students a broader and more strategic vision. Additionally, the definition of social value and the measurement of social impacts are issues not yet sufficiently clear both in the academic and practical fields, while the quantification of the social footprint appears not to be appropriate in CDIO scope. The pilot methodology we present was implemented in the course 2014-15 in “INGENIA”, a 12 ECTS compulsory subject taught in the first year of the Master in Industrial Engineering of the Technical University of Madrid. Working by groups, students developed concepts of products or system such as mechanical and electronic and bioengineering devices, drones, electricity market, etc. With the purpose of integrating sustainability criteria in their prototypes, several workshops were held in which not only the economic, social and environmental impacts were analysed but the strategical, long-term vision, stakeholders’ needs and ethical aspects as well. Using the ABET competences framework, ex-ante and ex-post evaluations were conducted in order to assess how the students strengthened personal outcomes related to sustainability (ABET competences (c), (f) and (h)). In this sense, the study shows significant improvement in many aspects of environmental, social and ethical dimensions. Moreover, since we continue developing and improving the pilot methodology in 2015-16, we also introduce in the paper more practical guidelines that we are addressing to the students by means of taking into account various approaches in particular socio-economic contexts or to differentiate specificities by industrial sectors or activity fields.
Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016