Information and Learning Technology
Introduction: In an age of ever-changing technology, it is in an institution’s best interest to keep pace with technological advancements. These advancements not only allow better, more efficient virtual information storage, but also allow for easier dissemination and sharing of information, something that is critical to education in the 21st century. As a result of these technological advancements come more efficient systems of energy usage, reducing electricity consumption, which is typically powered by the burning of fossil fuels. Information and learning technologies can also be made more efficient through reducing materials consumption in printing* as well as moving to online learning**. Equally important is the recycling of electronic waste (known as E-waste), which includes numerous household devices such as refrigerators, as well as computers and cell phones. E-waste accounted for 20-50 million metric tons of global municipal waste in 2006 (Robinson 2009).
Since the previous plan: Campus electricity consumption is down 6% since 2005, in part due to upgrades made to information and learning technologies. All campus computer labs are set to energy efficiency settings and all printers are set to print two-sided as default. Initially computer labs were using 100% recycled-content paper, and recently switched to 30% recycled content-paper because of high-volume usage and printer maintenance issues. Online course offerings have increased, potentially reducing students traveling to campus, reducing parking space issues as well as fossil fuel emissions (although this is likely minimal).
*A 2001 survey of students at UC Berkeley found that approximately 30,000 sheets of paper were used per day by students to print solely emails (not including attached documents or other printed items) (Riley 2001).
**In a 2007 study of 20 UK courses, 13 of which were campus based while the remaining 7 were print-based and online distance learning, Roy et al. (2007) found that distance learning courses used 87% less energy and produced 85% fewer CO2 emissions than traditional full-time on campus courses. Similarly, part-time on-campus courses reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 65 and 61%, respectively.