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Green IS in Teaching: Specialist or Generalist?

Colin Pattinson
Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
Neil A Gordon
University of Hull, UK

It is becoming recognised that the question of "sustainability" or ("green-ness") has a significant role to play in the teaching of information systems in higher education. In response, some institutions have developed specialised courses, typically at graduate level, either as components of wider programmes, or in their own right. Others have integrated the topic into undergraduate teaching, perhaps as a component of systems analysis and design courses, treating environmental impact as a design constraint within a solution. Computer science programmes may use their computer architecture-themed modules to introduce the relationship between hardware design and energy use or the ethics and professionalism strand may be developed through consideration of electronic waste or the legal issues around the need for compliance with legislation. This shows that there is considerable variation possible in breadth and depth of content, and raises the question of appropriateness, suitability of material and targeting at an appropriate level. There also exists considerable potential for variation of emphasis in presentation according to students' motivations: some might respond positively to a focus on cost-saving; others on behaving "responsibly" and environmental sustainability; others may approach the question from the perspective of a sceptical approach to the claims for "green-ness". Of course, these should not be exclusive, but the initial approach to a topic can significantly impact the style of work and themes selected. We consider a grading and taxonomy of material, giving indications of the information, case studies, research and practical activity most suitable for students of differing background and interest.

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Reference:Pattinson, C., Gordon, N.A. (2011). "Green IS in Teaching: Specialist or Generalist?," Proceedings > Proceedings of SIGGreen Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 11(7). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/11-7
Keywords:Green Computing, Sustainable Development
Item Type:Article - Volume 11 Article 7 (2011)
Email: Colin Pattinson (c.pattinson@leedsmet.ac.uk)
Neil A Gordon (n.a.gordon@hull.ac.uk)

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