Full Program »
Developing a Database of Circular Design Online Educational Resources
With the rise of user-generated content and openly available knowledge in recent years, many design tools and methods on sustainability and Circular Economy have been developed and self-published online by practitioners and educators. In addition, there are many resources (e.g. policies, reports, tools, etc.) published by non- and intra-governmental organisations with the purpose of promoting sustainable practices and facilitating education for sustainability. While the number of openly available resources rises, these resources often remain out of sight due to the lack of proper documentation and indexing. As part of Circular Design: Learning for Innovative Design for Sustainability (L4IDS) Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance project, universities, SMEs and design centres from four European countries (i.e. Ireland, Catalunya, the Netherlands and Sweden) have collaborated to develop an Online Educational Resources (OER) Database. This database serves to document and categorise readily-available resources to address this gap. The purpose of the database is to act as a bridge between online resources and practitioners, design educators and researchers, enabling them to find and utilise available tools and methods for both educational and practitioner purposes.
For this purpose, the team initially conducted desk research to find available resources online. A categorisation strategy was suggested based on the other outcomes of the project (i.e. Circular Design Internships for undergraduate students and Professional Development Courses for professionals). The list of resources was then added to, and the categorisations revised, based on feedback and input from the entire project team. OER were categorised under four main themes - (1) First-timers, (2) Practitioners, (3) Businesses, Services and Policies, and (4) Design Education – and 16 sub-themes. The database was then incorporated and trialled through four consecutive Circular Design Internships in partner countries as well as through the Professional Development Course conducted in Ireland revealing the strengths as well as limitations of the database in undergraduate design education, professional development and self-learning. This paper presents the development process of the OER Database and its implementation in two different learning programmes. In addition, several gaps in readily-available OER were identified to promote future development of freely accessible educational materials by design educators in Europe and beyond. OER database has the potential to contribute to the dissemination of accessible, readily-available educational tools for sustainability and Circular Economy, and to facilitate collaboration among design educators through open knowledge sharing.