701-0007-00L  Tackling Environmental Problems I

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersC. E. Pohl, P. Krütli, B. B. Pearce
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionGerman
CommentOnly for Environmental Sciences BSc.


AbstractEach year in the case study we analyse a different problem from the field of sustainable development and develop solutions to it.
ObjectiveStudents are able:
- to compile a case study dossier for a given topic. The dossier presents (a) the state of knowledge and (b) the need for further knowledge and action.
- to integrate knowledge of diverse perspectives in a qualitative systems model, to identify problems within the system and to suggest possible solutions from a specific stakeholder's perspective.
- to make an inquiry on a given subject, structure the results, interpret the results in relation to the research question, write a report and present the results.
- name the different roles within a group, explain the role(s) they are suited for, self-organise in groups, identify problems of collaboration and constructively address the problems.
ContentIn the first semester the students compile what is known about the problem, its causes and possible solutions. Each group of students makes an inquiry to a given part of the overall problem. The inquiry includes a thematic as well as stakeholder analysis.

During synthesis week, which takes place during semester break, the results of the different part inquiries are integrated in a qualitative system model. The students identify specific problems within the system and develop solutions.

Most of the time students work independently in groups. Tutors support the students in key steps. Introductions are given for:
- The overall topic of the case study,
- Inquiry, scientific writing and managing references (by experts of ETH library),
- Role behaviour and collaboration in groups,
- Preparing reports, posters and presentations,
- Qualitative system modelling (Systaim),
- Developing solutions (design thinking, Checklands' soft systems methodology).
Lecture notesStudents will compile the case study dossier.
LiteratureLiterature on methods will be provided during the case study course.