Roy, Robin; Potter, Stephen and Yarrow, Karen
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This chapter summarises the methods and main findings of a study of the environmental impacts of providing HE courses by campus-based and distance/open learning methods.
Surveys of 20 UK courses – 13 campus-based, 7 print-based and on-line distance learning courses – covering travel, paper and print consumption, computing, accommodation, and campus site impacts. Conversion of results into energy and CO2 emissions per student per 100 hours of degree study.
Part-time HE courses reduce energy and CO2 emissions by 60% compared to full-time campus-based courses and distance learning courses involve nearly 90% less energy and 85% fewer CO2 emissions than the full-time campus courses. The lower impacts of part-time and distance compared to full-time campus courses is mainly due to a reduction in student travel and elimination of much energy consumption of students’ housing, plus economies in campus site utilisation,. E-learning appears to offer only small energy and emissions reductions compared to mainly print-based distance learning courses, mainly because e-learning requires more energy for computing and paper for printing.
Assumptions were made in order to calculate the energy and emissions arising from the different HE systems. E.g. it was decided to include all the energy consumed in term-time accommodation for full-time campus students while part-time campus and distance learning students live at home only requiring additional heating and lighting for study. Future studies could include more distance and blended learning courses offered by institutions other than the UK Open University and impacts other than CO2 emissions.
Existing HE sustainability programmes should be broadened beyond considering campus site impacts and ‘greening the curriculum’. Indeed, were HE expansion to take environmental impacts seriously, then part-time and distance education should be favoured over increasing full-time provision.
|Item Type:||Book Chapter|
|Keywords:||Energy; CO2 emissions; higher education; distance learning; e-learning|
|Academic Unit/Department:||Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
|Interdisciplinary Research Centre:||Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)|
|Depositing User:||Robin Roy|
|Date Deposited:||19 Mar 2007|
|Last Modified:||14 Jan 2016 16:27|
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