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Environmental management 2

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This module focuses on innovations in and the facilitation of environmental management concepts and practice. You’ll examine systems theories and investigate complex domestic, organisational and community situations. Using London Heathrow Airport as a case study, you’ll gain different perspectives on environmental management situations, stakeholders’ views, how they are presented, and their impact on further action and innovation. This module builds on the ideas, tools and their uses introduced in Environmental management 1 (T219).

What you will study

This module engages with environmental management at three levels beginning with domestic issues in the household, before extending to look at the organisation and the wider community.

This will be based on a major case study of London Heathrow Airport, as the benefit of airports to a society are counter-balanced by the environmental concerns which airports present and recognise that they require some form of environmental management. The module provides you with the ability to model and explore the environmental concerns and dilemmas embodied by this ubiquitous transport form; discover some innovative environmental management ideas and practices; and develop your understanding and skills in these methods and techniques that will be relevant to your own context.

Using tools and techniques taken from both environmental management and systems thinking, you will progress through the following four-stage learning cycle in each of the three module blocks:

  • Reflecting – on a variety of environmental management situations
  • Connecting – our perspectives and ideas regarding different aspects of situations
  • Modelling – situations using a variety of conventional and innovative tools and techniques
  • Action – taking action to improve the situation.

This will encourage you to explore the means and methods by which environmental management thinking and approaches can be systemically applied in a number of contexts and themes.

Block 1
In this block you’ll explore the concept of the ‘environmental manager’; who they are and what they do. The theme of investigation is ‘the household’ and you will be engaged in a range of online activities exploring different perspectives on the role of the ‘environmental manager’ and how you ‘manage’ the environmental impact of your household. You will be introduced to a range of perspectives and will explore your own evolving role as an ‘environmental manager’ as a profession and as citizenship. The block introduces the case study which is explored in more depth in Blocks 2 and 3.

Block 2
This block uses the case study to focus on innovation by organisations in relation to environmental management. You will explore what an innovative organisation responding to environmental imperatives looks like and some drivers of innovative environmental management in organisations including: economics; leadership; learning; and public pressure. Using examples of organisational activities in airports, you will use systems techniques to make sense of the situations organisations face, how innovation relating to organisations and environmental management ‘happens’, as well as developing critical perspectives on organisations, their approaches and practices.

Block 3
The final block continues with the case study as you look at sustainability at the level of the group or community, and the usefulness of systems thinking in this context. You will apply the context of noise and air pollution from the perspectives of the community and those that surround it. You will see that environmental management engages with many perspectives and stakeholders. It is not a simple fix and it does not just involve technical processes.

Working online in a small group, you will tackle a complex environmental management issue. This will give you an understanding of the challenges of collaborative learning and helping other members of a group.

For the module as a whole, there are associated texts, interactive and personally challenging activities and a range of audio and video resource. This module offers insights and unique footage of airport life, including film clips from the Airport Live! BBC television series first aired in 2013.

If you are considering progressing to The engineering project (T452), this is one of the OU level 3 modules on which you could base your project topic. Normally, you should have completed one of these OU level 3 modules (or be currently studying one) before registering for the project module.

You will learn

By the end of the module you will be able understand and describe:

  • systems theories, tools and methods used and critically evaluate your own competence in using them
  • diverse environmental impacts at the level of the individual, organisation and community
  • a range of theories, tools and methods relating to systems and environmental management
  • the wide ranging policy implications involved in designing sustainable communities.

You will also be able to:

  • use systemic theories and methods to review and investigate complex environmental management situations
  • explain when and how to use systemic representations and where iteration is needed
  • select initial systems and other methods appropriate for helping learning and sense making
  • assess the worldviews of stakeholders within the case studies
  • use information and communication tools to gather, analyse and synthesise a variety of data and information
  • apply critical and reflective devices to assess, in a systemic manner, environmental activity.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.

The OU level 2 module Environmental management 1 (T219) would be ideal preparation.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T319 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Environmental management 2 (T319) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2024.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

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