Debate as a tool in engineering and sustainability education

Abed Alaswad*, Sarah Junaid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Debate is an active education tool which is widely used to teach undergraduate students in social science and humanities courses, but less common in Engineering and Computing courses. Debate, in this context, refers to the establishment of contradictory positions on a topic or question and inviting students to form 'teams' or parties each tasked with the responsibility of promoting those positions to an audience through mediated oral discourse. A well-integrated debate can help students to improve their understanding of the subject, improve their critical thinking, increase the retention of the information gained, enhance communication and teamwork skills, promote their confidence and help them to better construct their ideas and thoughts in a logical and sound structure. It is well known that integrating this approach in an active learning environment will promote a student's engagement and motivation to learn. In this paper, the practice of integrating the debate on the climate change response pathways (Adaptation, Mitigation and Geoengineering) in a final year course taken by Mechanical Engineering students will be presented. The effect of using this practice on students' engagement, module feedback and marks will be highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International CDIO Conference
EditorsMaria Sigridur Gudjonsdottir, Haraldur Audunsson, Arkaitz Manterola Donoso, Gudmundur Kristjansson, Ingunn Saemundsdottir, Joseph Timothy Foley, Marcel Kyas, Angkee Sripakagorn, Janne Roslof, Jens Bennedsen, Kristina Edstrom, Natha Kuptasthien, Reidar Lyng
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789935965561
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event18th International CDIO Conference, CDIO 2022 - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 13 Jun 202215 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International CDIO Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2002-1593


Conference18th International CDIO Conference, CDIO 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors received no financial support for this work.

This work is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  • Active learning
  • CDIO Standards: 1, 2, 3, 11
  • Debate
  • Sustainability education


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