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

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Part 3: For lecturers and academic designers

3.1 Exploring tools to assess carbon-based environmental impacts of teaching and learning activities in higher education

Here we introduce two Carbon Calculator tools that you can use to explore and calculate the energy consumption and carbon impacts associated with your teaching activities and learning provision on a particular course. (The principles behind such calculators and related ecological foot printing tools are discussed in Environment: treading lightly on the earth [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] which is also available via iTunes U.)

These are part of the SusTEACH toolkit, which was designed for the SusTEACH sustainable teaching and learning project at the OU.

This includes the Carbon Calculator presented to students in Part 2 of this course. The SusTEACH Carbon Calculator for Students is presented here as a resource for lecturers to help students to explore and calculate the key sources of energy consumption and carbon impacts associated with their learning activities on a course.

A second Carbon Calculator (the SusTEACH Carbon Calculator for Lecturers) is introduced with a similar design, aimed at lecturers teaching in higher education at undergraduate or postgraduate level in a campus-based university or with a distance learning provider.

Both of these tools could be used together to provide a full carbon-based environmental assessment of your course. If you would like to calculate the total carbon impacts associated with teaching and learning on your course/module, you could use these tools to collect data on your students’ impacts and your impacts as a lecturer. The calculators both use the ‘per student per 100 hours/10 CATS credits’ measure of energy consumption and carbon impacts, and this makes it easy to collect comparable data for review on an annual basis.