EESD15: Engineering Education for Sustainable Development – Vancouver conference June 2015


EESD15 conference at UBC, Vancouver, June 9-12, 2015.

Four days in Vancouver went fast, teeming as they were with interesting talks, inspiring workshops, intriguing discussions and many tremendously stimulating meetings with people, all deeply engaged in engineering education for sustainable development.

From the conference I take all those meetings with my colleague university teachers from all around the world, with students, workshop leaders, and participating stakeholders of many kinds. To give just a few examples of the nearly 100 talks and workshops that were presented: Dr. Matty Janssen presented the work to organise a MOOC on sustainable development at Chalmers, Sweden; Dr. John Fitzpatrick at the University College Cork, Ireland, gave a very invigorating talk on experiences from introducing sustainability to the engineering curriculum and his view on the need to engage engineering students more with the economic and social dimensions of sustainability; Dr. Claes Fredriksson and Dr. Tatiana Vakhitova at Granta Desing held a half-day workshop on a 5-step methodology for teaching sustainability to engineers, supported with the CES EduPack software; Dr. Alan Young, a senior lecturer in graphic design at the AUT University, New Zealand, gave a quite contrasting talk on the importance of communication design – understood as the strategic process of creating the form, content and delivery of information, including marketing and advertising – within the engineering design process; Dr. Rien van Stigt at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, presented together with four of his students a computer game for demonstrating complexity and system dynamics, in this case relating to railway planning and construction. The three key note talks presented by Dr. Jim Cooney, McGill University; Dr. Cynthia Atman, University of Washington; and Dr. Karel Mulder, Delft University of Technology; were all very inspiring indeed and at least Dr. Atman’s talk will definitely have a lasting effect on my own practice in pedagogical research.


Key note presentation by Dr. Jim Cooney at the conference opening in the beautiful First Nations House of Learning building. (Photo by Annina Takala)

Many thanks to the presenters of those talks and all others! Also, many thanks to all delegates that were at our own talk and to those that participated in our workshop on the use of games in our teaching. The full text paper is now available online.

The EESD15 was the seventh international conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development, and it was recently held at University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers at the University of British Columbia for a rewarding and very well-organised conference; to my cooperation partners at the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge for a great work together with our paper and workshop on education games; and to my colleagues at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm for giving me the opportunity to work with this project and presenting at the conference.