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A methodology for teaching industrial ecology

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Purpose ‐ To describe a way of teaching industrial ecology (IE) and to show some tools that may help for the IE teaching. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In the paper, the development of lectures, practical lessons and projects on real industrial ecosystems are described. Also the teaching materials used are described. Findings ‐ The presented methodology for teaching IE has been a good means for the understanding of the IE concept. Some of the educational tools presented have helped the students to increase their awareness of the distance between IE and the real industrial field, discover that there are a lot of by-product exchange possibilities between industries, to develop their creativity, to connect the theory to practice in the industrial systems and have encouraged them to try to put the IE ideas into practice. This methodology has been useful for either small or big groups and for people with either the same or very different backgrounds. And it has been observed that the quality of the work is enhanced when the members of the group have different backgrounds. Practical implications ‐ The paper shows methodologies and tools that may encourage and help other teachers/professors to use them in their IE lessons. It may also help IE researches to know which real examples and methodologies help students to understand IE concept. This could encourage them to develop projects and research in those directions. Originality/value ‐ The paper fulfils the need of knowing real experiences in IE teaching and their results. And in special, experiences that have been tested for a long period of time and with a great number of students. All the experiences described in the paper have been created and put into practice by the author.
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Keywords: Ecology; Industrial engineering; Spain; Sustainable development; Teaching; Teaching methods

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-04-17

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