S2-S&SI1-3 - Teaching Sustainability, Ethics and Scientific Writing: An integrated approach

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Ola Leifler1 , Lars Lindblom1, Mikael Svensson1, Madelene Gramfält1, Arne Jönsson1
1 Linköping University, Sweden

This Innovative Practice Full Paper presents an approach to integrate  three critical elements in Computer Science education. 

The call to imbue computer science graduates with strategic skills needed to address our pressing global sustainability challenges is extremely important, and a great challenge to degree programmes in computer science and software engineering. Doing this successfully requires great care, and possibly several iterations across an entire curriculum. mproving skills in searching for, reading, and producing academic texts are often neglected skills, as are skills in understanding ethics; what norms and values that guide our choices of methods for solving problems, To handle these problems that academic writing, ethics and sustainability are treated separately and out of context, thereby lowering student engagement with the topics, we have successfully integrated them into one, coherent, subject on professionalism in computer science. By integrating the three subjects, we do three things: a) describe a multi-faceted but integrated engineering role; b) integrate the three aspects of the role we focus on in education and avoid giving the image that these are add ons; and c) increases the likelihood of motivation in taking on the more unusual parts of the engineering role.  


In this paper, we present our approach to integrate all three of these critical elements in Computer Science education. Our approach uses a flipped-classroom style with students playing educational games, participating in discussion seminars and conducting critical analyses of other students’ choices in IT system design. Much emphasis is on the students academic writing abilities, including critical information search and a student peer-review procedure. Also, we do this using an integrated assessment format where four teachers from different disciplinary backgrounds jointly assess material from students, which stimulates discussions among ourselves about what and how to assess, and provides a practical way to integrate assessments. We present results from attitude surveys, course evaluations and the contents of the students’ final reflections. In conclusion, our approach demonstrates a clear shift in how students perceive sustainability, showing that it is possible to achieve changes in attitude, towards the subjects as such and their importance for computer scientists.