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Integrating environmental sustainability issues into the curriculum through problem-based and project-based learning: a case study at the University of Cape Town

McGibbon, Carolyn, Van Belle, Jean-Paul
Current opinion in environmental sustainability 2015 v.16 pp. 81-88
carbon footprint, case studies, computer science, curriculum, information systems, learning, models, students, teachers
This papers aims to advance the discourse on how curriculum development can support the key competencies in sustainability and lead to real-world impacts. In particular, this paper explores the issues around incorporating a proxy for sustainability—Carbon Footprinting—into the Information Systems undergraduate curriculum within an educational setting of problem-based and project-based learning. Embedding Green Information Systems theory and practice into the coursework of students majoring in Information Systems and Computer Science brings an interdisciplinary advantage to the ‘wicked problem’ of sustainability. The unique contribution of this paper is that it explores how reflective practice enables students to become more aware and empowered through exposure to real-world problems, such as Carbon Footprinting. The theoretical framework is based on the ‘Shu ha ri’ model proposed by Cockburn [1] as well as the Green Information Systems framework by Butler [2] and the paper aims to extend the institutional influences of Green IS to include a collaborative element. This research paper should be of interest educators at the forefront of sustainability ventures.