Computing for Sustainability: Low hanging curricula

Posted on July 2, 2007


In Sustainability a “Pervasive Theme” or MIC (”Missing In Curriculum”)? we looked for sustainability in the computing curricula but didn’t find any there. Clearly it should be (well we think so).

If the high hanging fruit is paradigm change (ala Blevis), and medium hanging fruit is cross curricula integration (upscaling rethinking school lunch) and courses aligned with sustainability (eg taking into account Second Nature’s framework), what is the low hanging fruit? By this I mean the things that could be added to computing education without much fuss. This is not an exhaustive list, but computing graduates are currently under-prepared in the following areas:

  • Waste management
  • Ecolabelling
  • Preparation and response to ‘green’ RFP
  • Energy management
  • Carbon management
  • Reuse
  • Open source (with respect to sustainability arguments)
  • Environmental reporting (for themselves and in developing/supporting such systems)

In most cases these areas would complement existing material, or give context to what we are doing already . These areas, then, could be added to the curricula without having to drop existing material (thus avoiding McGettrick’s “crowded curricula” – the barrier of “what shall we drop to make room for this…?”).

None of these areas need conceptual transformation of programmes. Some areas are contentious and the approach should be one of critical inquiry.

What else should we put on this list?