Green Teaching

"Green Teaching" can constitute a number of different modalities (teaching strategies), including reducing paper or paperless teaching, reduction of energy use in the classroom, and reduction in use of classroom supplies other than paper.

Reduction in Paper Use

Post important documents and readings electronically. Use Sakai, WordPress or other websites to post syllabi, handouts, class notes, and pdfs electronically rather than handling out paper copies. Use library e-reserves to provide students with copyright-cleared access to electronic readings (see the copyright rules for e-reserve materials). Encourage students to view these materials on their laptops or tablets rather than printing, and suggest electronic methods for note-taking such as Evernote.

Ordering Recycled Content Paper

Talk with your supervisor in your department or the person who coordinates purchasing of office supplies through Duke's Staples Advantage procurement system. After logging in, use the Shopping List drop down menu toward the top of the screen to view the "Recycled Paper" shopping list.

Choose from among several types of recycled paper found on the list. Paper is available in 30%, 50% and 100% recycled content. For extra savings, look for products with the green dollar sign "Hot List" symbol.

Use an E-textbook/E-book

Electronic versions are now available for many textbooks and other books faculty may want to use in their courses. There are a number of different providers of e-textbooks (it may depend on what one means by "e-textbook" or "e-book"), and different e-textbooks have different features and capabilities.

E-books can mean anything from a pdf posted online, to an interactive website, to an app on an iPhone or iPad, to a book as purchased from a vendor such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble to be read on their Kindle or Nook devices. Some e-books are available for viewing or "check-out" through public or university libraries, including Duke libraries.  Some libraries (including Duke libraries, see Duke Libraries e-reader page) loan e-reader devices such as Kindles or Nooks pre-loaded with a selection of e-books. E-books available online through the Duke Library catalog are viewed your web browser.

E-textbooks can mean any of the above books when used for teaching/classroom purposes, or can specifically refer to (more or less interactive) replicas of printed textbooks provided by some of the big textbook publishers (Kno, Flat World Knowledge), or sometimes can refer to a collection of open educational materials chosen to replace a traditional textbook (MERLOT, Connexions). E-textbooks are also available as iPod or iPad apps and now in the Apple iBooks store.

The format of all of these options vary, as do the purchasing/licensing constraints, the functionality to support learning (highlighting, note-taking, etc.), and the method used to access and view the books. Faculty interested in using e-books instead of traditional paper textbooks may request a consult from the Center for Instructional Technology to discuss options and consider the impact on students.

Use Online Resources Instead of a Textbook

Some faculty are turning toward collections of online learning materials in place of a traditional paper textbook. Faculty may find relevant materials at MERLOT, Connexions, MIT Open CourseWare, Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative, and from other resource sites.

Accepting Assignments Online Instead of on Paper

First create a rubric to outline what you are looking for (see some suggestions about rubrics). Then require students to submit assignments via email or (easier) via the Assignments tool in Sakai. The Assignments tool allows students to upload their papers within Sakai, and Sakai tracks which students have submitted and which haven't.

Giving Tests Electronically

Tests can be administered via the Tests and Quizzes tool in Sakai. If the test is "open book," faculty do not need to worry about students accessing other materials on their laptops while taking the test, although students should be advised of the best practice guidelines for taking tests in Sakai.

If the test is "closed book" faculty may prefer to use a browser lock-down mechanism to constrain student access to other materials while taking the test. Some options are Respondus Lockdown Browser (built into Sakai), or a tool such as Electronic Blue Book (used by Duke's Law School). Alternatively faculty may design the test in a way that makes it difficult or impossible for students to look up the answers (questions requiring analysis, evaluation and critical thinking on topics unique to each student's situation).

Grading Tests and Assignments Electronically

Most question types on Sakai tests are graded automatically, based on the correct answer key entered by faculty. Short answer/essay questions on Sakai tests can be viewed and graded in the Test and Quizzes tool. Feedback to students can be entered there, as well.

For assignment grading, first download the assignments from the Assignment tool in Sakai (if necessary). Use either a laptop/desktop or a tablet-style device such as an iPad to mark-up and grade the assignments.

Some options on a laptop/desktop include using Microsoft Word "track changes" or "commenting" features, using Acrobat Pro or other pdf reader that allows mark-up, or using Jing or other quick recording tool to record video/audio comments. When grading textually, one helpful tip is to have prepared comments about common errors which you can copy/paste, and to enter scores/comments on a copy of the rubric document.

On an iPad open the documents to be graded in iAnnotate, GoodReader or similar iPad app that allows saving markups. Mark up/grade, then save back to Dropbox or other method to return the papers to the students.

Return marked-up assignments and rubrics by email or via the Assignments tool in Sakai (preferred). Enter the assignment grades into the Sakai Gradebook.

Giving Class Surveys Electronically

If you wish to provide a poll/survey (ungraded, anonymous) to your students, the tool supported at Duke is Qualtrics.

Other Actions for Green Teaching

Reduce energy use

In any classroom, turn off the lights if not needed, and turn off the projector and other A/V equipment when not needed.

Reduce air and car travel

Use webconferencing, telephone or Skype to bring guest speakers to class, instead of having them fly or drive to campus.

For service learning classes requiring community engagement, arrange carpooling or provide public transit options to reduce car trips. Use web conferencing/Skype to reduce numbers of trips to off-site locations.

Reduce and recycle materials

In laboratory courses, analyze experiment procedures and set-ups to minimize reagent and lab organism use. Perform virtual experiments when they will effectively meet student learning goals. Learn more about reducing the environmental impact of labs and the Duke Green Lab Certification.

Encourage students to recycle materials used in class, where applicable (including beverage containers they bring to class).

Certification description for syllabus

Professors can include the description below in their syllabus to indicate and explain their participation in the Green Classroom Certification:

"This course has achieved Duke's Green Classroom Certification. The certification indicates that the faculty member teaching this course has taken significant steps to green the delivery of this course. Your faculty member has completed a checklist indicating their common practices in areas of this course that have an environmental impact, such as paper and energy consumption. Some common practices implemented by faculty to reduce the environmental impact of their course include allowing electronic submission of assignments, providing online readings and turning off lights and electronics in the classroom when they are not in use. The eco-friendly aspects of course delivery may vary by faculty, by course and throughout the semester. For more information on the Green Classroom Certification, visit: sustainability.duke.edu/action/classroom."