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A pre‐ and post‐evaluation of integrating sustainability curriculum by inserting Okala modules into an interior design materials and methods course

Deborah Schneiderman (Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, USA)
Kara Freihoefer (College of Design, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 14 September 2012

990

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the integration of Okala curriculum into Interior Design coursework. Okala, as a teaching package, is utilized extensively in industrial design education. However, this study examines the expansion and insertion of Okala modules in an existing interior design curriculum. The Okala modules included were: broad ecological information, eco‐design history, and strategies and processes for ecological design implementation. To interpret if the integration was effective, an online survey was developed and distributed to students enrolled in the course.

Design/methodology/approach

The survey was administered at the end of the spring 2009 semester. To evaluate the effectiveness of Okala modules and the perceived perceptions of the students' awareness toward the environment – ecologically, economically and sustainably – the researchers used the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) questionnaire. Developed by Dunlap and Van Liere in 1978, the NEP has been a reliable instrument in several previous studies, has measured other populations' attitudes toward the environment, and correlates well with the intent of researching Okala modules.

Findings

The key findings suggest that the incorporation of Okala modules: heightened students' confidence that humans' ability to produce environmentally‐friendly technologies will not allow for environmental collapse; equalized students' feelings about humans' and nature's rights; and did not change students' perception about Earth's capabilities and limits. Overall, the study had successfully determined students' environmental feelings prior to and after course instruction.

Originality/value

This paper exposes the importance of integrating sustainable development and interdisciplinary coursework into the content of a curriculum‐required course.

Keywords

Citation

Schneiderman, D. and Freihoefer, K. (2012), "A pre‐ and post‐evaluation of integrating sustainability curriculum by inserting Okala modules into an interior design materials and methods course", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 408-423. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371211262344

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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