Sustainable technology innovation course. Constructive and community-oriented learning postgraduate education
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The International Seminar on Sustainable Technology Innovation is a course offered within the framework of the Master of Sustainability of Barcelona Tech University. The main goals of the course are: to connect experts, future researchers and policy-makers on real topics where long-term technological system renewal is needed in order to fulfill sustainability requirements; to increase the understanding of sustainable development in the long term and the role of technology therein embedded in systems; to increase the capability to apply foresighting, forecasting and backcasting; to contribute to the development of the scientific work competences of students; to increase the ability of teachers to teach the approach of future imaging, foresighting, forecasting and backcasting; to become an experts’ meeting point; and to create networking activities among different groups and institutions. The Course introduces methodology of Backcasting scenarios in real sustainability problems. The learning environment is international, transdisciplinar, intergenarational and intercultural. It includes stakeholders’ dialogues and discussions. The course is organized around current sustainability-relevant topics, which are analyzed in case studies based in different contexts: going from developed to developing countries and from local to global cases. Students apply scenario methodologies to the case studies in order to set up the most contextualized sustainable strategies. In 2012, UPC Barcelona Tech is running the course for the fifth time. This year it is organized within the Erasmus Intensive Program framework financed by EU. Students and lecturers from 6 European universities and with different backgrounds are participating in the course. The course is divided into 4 phases: 1- Local situation analysis. From March to May students analyze the topic in their own countries/regions. 2- Case study analysis. In May, students are grouped into international, multidisciplinary teams and define the current state of the case studies, as well as the questions and challenges that they pose. 3- Seminar at UPC. In June, students, lecturers and stakeholders meet in Barcelona, where the course is run for two weeks in a presential framework. 4- Evaluation of the course. Students analyze their learning experience in terms of competences acquisition. So far more than 130 students, 30 lecturers and 50 stakeholders have participated in the course. The topics analyzed in the course vary each year and are related to relevant sustainability challenges: urban solid waste management; food & drinks packaging waste; overfishing and marine ecosystem degradation; sustainable mobility and agro-ecology. This paper explains more about the learning environment, as well as the challenges and lessons learnt when organizing such a course, and the gains made by students.
CitacióSegalas, J.; Tejedor-Papell, G. Sustainable technology innovation course. Constructive and community-oriented learning postgraduate education. A: International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. "Proceedings of EDULEARN12 Conference". Barcelona: 2012, p. 0540-0547.