ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses

Caird, Sally; Lane, Andrew and Swithenby, Ed (2013). ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses. In: Caeiro, S.; Leal Filho, W.; Jabbour, C. J. C. and Azeiteiro, U. M. eds. Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities round the World. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, pp. 375–386.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02375-5_21

URL: http://www.springer.com/energy/energy+efficiency/b...


The research involved a carbon-based environmental assessment and data analysis of 30 Higher Education (HE) courses in campus-based and distance education systems in fifteen UK institutions that were using a range of teaching models to provide teaching, learning and assessment. The increasing pervasiveness of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) combined with new pedagogical approaches and practices to using them, is creating innovative teaching models. There has been little research on the environmental sustainability of complex HE teaching models whether face-to-face, distance-taught (print-based), online, or blended. This raises questions about whether greater use of ICTs in HE has better or worse environmental impacts than more traditional models. To be able to compare environmental impacts across a wide range of HE courses, we developed a classification of teaching models, using lecturers’ ratings to establish the use of online, face-to-face, print-based distance, or ICT-enhanced blended teaching models. Next the environmental assessment methodology was designed to inform data gathering and analysis of the key sources of carbon impacts associated with HE courses, including: staff and student travel; purchase and use of ICT devices and educational materials; residential energy consumption; and campus site operations. This chapter examines the role of ICTs in UK-based HE teaching models and their carbon-based environmental impacts, and identifies models and practices that will benefit sustainability drives in HE.

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