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Title: An investigation into effective methods for teaching social sustainability within product design in British and Irish Universities
Author: Watkins, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 2007
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2014
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Consideration of sustainability in product and industrial design courses is becoming more common and relevant within higher education in the UK. However little is known about how widespread the teaching is and what is actually understood as sustainable design with discrepancies in the definitions used in different institutions. Literature highlights that many universities now engage with the tangible environmental aspects of sustainable design, whilst the intangible social aspects are left unaddressed. This thesis explores methods for encouraging and enabling students to address the social aspects within sustainable product design (SPD) education. The first research stage presents the results of a nationwide survey, which investigated how widely SPD is taught, which social aspects are addressed, how SPD is taught and assessed and the attitudes and awareness of it amongst academics. The second research stage presents further research into best practice in SPD through detailed interviews with leading academics in the field. A third research stage built upon the findings from both these studies, and sought to address a perceived weakness in SPD education; the lack of understanding and consideration of the social aspects in sustainable product design in teaching and project outcomes. Three Rethinking Design workshops were developed and tested at five universities in the UK and Ireland. These workshops were designed to introduce students to the wider social aspects of SPD, through the use of audio visual group based workshops. The design of the workshops enabled a learning environment where a deep understanding of the social aspects of Sustainable Product Design could be developed through; group work, discussion and critical reflection, which led to students exploring design thinking responses, suggesting that deep learning, had occurred.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social sustainability ; Design education ; Product design ; Higher education ; Sustainable product design