Challenges of Integrating a Sustainability Interdisciplinary Profile in Computing Education: A Case Study


  • Bashira Jaradat NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Birgit R. Krogstie NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Sustainability, higher computing education, informatics, students’ attitudes, students’ self-motivation, interdisciplinary profile, computing education for sustainability, pre-professional identity.


Sustainability in higher computing education is becoming an increasingly
important direction adopted by educational institutions, IT industry, and
researchers. However, the incorporation of sustainability at the curriculum level
is challenging. Among the challenges are students’ attitudes towards the integration
of a sustainability profile (minor) within the core curriculum, as explored in
this paper. This research evaluates students’ attitudes to an existing undergraduate
computing education model, in which a sustainability profile is included. The
empirical focus is on the case of the integration of an elective sustainability profile
within the informatics curriculum at a Norwegian university. The case study
involves examining relevant documents and conducting interviews with students
who did not choose the interdisciplinary profile or, particularly, the sustainability
track, followed by an interview with the sustainability profile leader to discuss
students’ responses. The findings provide the faculty with feedback that can be
employed in effective planning to include a sustainability profile in computing
curricula. The study emphasizes that the incorporation of a profile that combines
technology and humanity subjects, such as sustainability, is challenging, mainly
due to lack of computing students’ interest in humanitarian topics. The findings
indicate that higher educational institutions need to consider the time and provide
sufficient information about the interdisciplinary subjects to students, especially
that the choice of interdisciplinary courses affects, and is affected by, students’
pre-professional identity. The most significant finding in the study is the necessity
of collective collaboration across the concerned disciplines to engage students
from different academic fields in sustainability.


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