The environmental impact of teaching and learning
The environmental impact of teaching and learning

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The environmental impact of teaching and learning

4.4 Exploration of tools to assess carbon-based environmental impacts of learning designs and teaching models in higher education

Here we introduce the SusTEACH Planning and Modelling Tools, which are designed to support the planning of more sustainable courses, modules and qualification programmes, and are part of the SusTEACH toolkit. These tools were developed by modelling the energy consumption and carbon impacts found in the SusTEACH study associated with specific teaching delivery methods, including face-to-face, online, ICT-enhanced and traditional print-based distance teaching methods.

The tools provide measures of the environmental impacts of teaching model designs using a standard measure of energy consumption (MJ) and CO2 emissions (kg) ‘per student per 10 CATS credits’, which is equivalent to 100 study hours. Before exploring these tools, first watch the video introducing The SusTEACH Toolkit:

Download this video clip.Video player: The SusTEACH Toolkit
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Transcript: The SusTEACH Toolkit

Screen capture -Introduction to the SusTEACH Toolkit

The online SusTEACH Planning Tool asks lecturers and academic designers to consider how they plan to deliver teaching, learning, assessment and communication on a new or existing course or module and provides an assessment of the likely carbon impacts associated with this plan. When you have completed your responses select ‘MY REPORT’ and this produces personalised feedback based on your proposed teaching delivery methods, which may involve the use of face-to-face teaching, print-based distance teaching and ICT-based and online teaching methods, and the likely associated carbon impacts.

You can also explore the toolkit further online by clicking on the ‘TOOLKIT’ button. The toolkit includes The SusTEACH Methodology which is a detailed resource on conducting a carbon-based environmental impact assessment of courses and modules in UK Higher Education.

The toolkit also includes The SusTEACH Modelling Tool, an operational desk tool for lecturers and qualification directors that allows the modelling of courses, modules and full qualification programmes to estimate the energy consumption and carbon impacts associated with different teaching models. With this tool you can choose Function 1 to model the impacts of one or more courses or modules with the same design. You can choose Function 2 to model the impacts of several different courses or modules and extrapolate this to estimate the impacts of a qualification programme. By clicking the RATING TOOL button you can model the carbon impacts of courses or modules, using the guidance to consider your expectations about student travel, accommodation and purchases of books and your proposed teaching methods. Select the number of courses or modules. The RESULTS button provides an estimate of the energy consumption and carbon impacts associated with your course or module design. The ‘MODELS COMPARISON’ button allows comparison between your modelling and the impacts of different teaching models. (PRINT SUMMARY) You may SAVE and print your report to pdf.

Presenter: Dr Sally Caird, The Open University

Further information: SusTEACH toolkit http://www9.open.ac.uk/ SusTeach/ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

The SusTEACH project team:  Andy Lane, Sally Caird and Ed Swithenby

End transcript: The SusTEACH Toolkit
The SusTEACH Toolkit
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