Sustainable Design Lab (SDL) MA course as a school-wide elective course is based on the problem-based learning methodology. The course provides students with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to carry out an integrated design thinking and product development process, starting from generating and defining ideas up to prototyping, testing and implementation of products and services. SDL course provides students with the knowledge of sustainable business operations, sustainable product development and eco-design tools and methods (product life cycle analysis, the economic life circle, mapping systems, recycling, upcycling, zero waste principles, calculation of the effects of materials and components etc). The course aims at preparing students for the professional performance through a realistic and coherent cooperation in various areas and with different partners in order to understand their actions and creations in the background of the global economy, manufacturing, environment, legislation, society and communities and eco-design contexts. After the course the student is able to participate in sustainable product development process; to analyze and evaluate the environmental and social aspects related to product development; to use a variety of sustainable product development and design methods including knows how to carry out simplified environmental impact assessments for product or service.
The learning process is divided into two semesters. In the first semester, the studies are mainly in the form of lectures and seminars, providing the necessary theoretical knowledge of sustainable product design and development. An overview of the social and environmental problems, viable economic models will be given and the various systems and alternatives circular economy, principles and ways of calculation of the environmental impact methods will be analyzed.
The course aims to teach students to see the design as a tool for solving different problems that exist in society – the designer should be able to direct his/her choices consciously in accordance with the principles of sustainable principles and prevent the economic, social and environmental damage. On the basis of theoretical knowledge in parallel with lectures, a variety of projects shall be carried out as a group work which should base on real business or organization case what the team has to locate, map and resolve.
Through the 2nd semester projects, the students will learn to identify and solve problems themselves and to communicate with the various partners together with advising supervisors and mentors. Semester projects are executed together with various organizations and will cover themes of environmental services (eg. work environment) as well as product development projects.
The curriculum is developed according to the knowledge and experiences from various universities and in the frame of Erasmus+ Programme supported project “Student innovation labs – a way to sustainable and socially responsible growth” (Innolabs) Grant no. 2014-1-LV01-KA200-000521.