Environmental management 2

This online module focuses on innovations in and the facilitation of environmental management concepts and practice. You will examine systems theories in detail and have the opportunity to investigate complex situations at domestic, organisational and community levels. Using London Heathrow Airport as a case study, you will gain different perspectives of environmental management situations, the views of stakeholders, how these are represented and the impact of these views for further action and innovation. This module is designed to follow and build on the ideas, tools and their uses introduced in Environmental management 1 (T219) and, like T219 includes some group work.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code T319
Credits 30
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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.

Vocational relevance

You will find the module useful if you are, or want to be, engaged in environmental management within an organisation, consultancy or a local community. Studying this module can also benefit you in your home, work, or community as it will help you to understand and use some conventional ideas and practices for environmental management in a range of situations. In addition, the module will extend your knowledge and practical skills by introducing innovative systems approaches to environmental management.


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 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.

Study materials

What's included

The materials for this module, with the exception of the printed Resource book, are delivered online.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • macOS 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will be responsible for monitoring your progress, marking and commenting on your written work and whom you can contact for advice and guidance. The module online forum also provides opportunities for lively and informative discussion with other students, tutors and members of the module team.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


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

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

You must also submit the end-of-module assessment (EMA) online.

If you have a disability

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

Mode of study

All of this module's study materials are online. Online materials are composed of pages of text with images, short audio/video clips generally no more than 5 minutes long (all with transcripts), diagrams and interactive media. Online materials also include links to external resources, online forums and online tutorial rooms.

Tuition strategy

This module provides two online tutorials. Although not compulsory, participating in tutorials and forums will help you consolidate your learning and tackle your assignments.

Working with others

You will be required to collaborate with other students and this is assessed. This includes looking at, and commenting on, others’ work; reflecting on others’ comments on your work; and/or working together with fellow learners on a project/task.

Practical work

Online practical work forms a required component of assessment. This includes some collaborative group work. This module extends your knowledge of the use of the online studio DisplayWall to share and develop ideas. You will use it for specific activities throughout the module.

Diagrams and other visual content

The study materials contain a considerable number of diagrams, graphs and photographs. Producing examples of these and diagramming is an important part of the study of this module and is assessed. Figure descriptions are provided for all figures.

Finding information

You may be required to search for, and make use of, third-party material online and this may be assessed. Alternatives for required/assessed research material can be provided to enable you to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module.

Specialist reading material

In this module you will be working with specialist reading material and articles. These are delivered online and via third-party online resources.


This module has Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs), which must be submitted online via the OU electronic TMA system, and an End-of-Module Assessment (EMA) submitted online.


You will receive feedback from your tutor on your submitted Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs). This will help you to reflect on your TMA performance. You should refer to it to help you prepare for your next assignment.


All University modules are structured according to a set timetable and you will need time-management skills to keep your studies on track. You will be supported in developing these skills.

Future availability

Environmental management 2 (T319) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2022.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.