On the surface, taking an online class seems that it has little connection with going green. However, they allow colleges to expand their course selections without hiring additional instructors. Students earn course credits without the hassle of
commuting with these added benefits.
– Lower toxic emissions
– Minimize exhaust fumes
– Online access to college services
– Reduce gasoline use
Increase Student Enrollment
Online classes increase college enrollment without adding to operation orenergy costs. Students taking classes off campus do not use common areas like student lounges, cafeterias, and libraries. When studying at home, off-campus students consume less electricity by not sitting in a campus classroom. Fewer students on campus decrease greenhouse emissions that cause environmental climate changes.
Used and Digital Textbooks
Textbooks and printed material require reams of paper to print them; however, college students can reduce the need for paper used by making a few changes. When possible, buy digital textbooks instead of hard copy versions.
Digital textbooks eliminate the need for printing, storing, and transporting books. Although many printers use soy-based inks, there are the costs for printing, shipping, and storing textbooks. A campus bookstore has to pay for heating and cooling the sales floor, administrative area, and storage room. Bookstore staff shelves, moves, and rotates stock. Reduce energy waste when there are less hard copy textbooks in campus bookstores.
However, if a paper textbook is the only option, buy or buy a used one. By doing so, it reduces the number of hard copy textbooks and saves on printing new editions. According to the Nature Conservancy, it takes 60 to 70 percent less energy to produce recycled paper.
Used textbooks help to complete the cycle by reusing, reducing, and recycling, and multiple students get to use the same book. In addition, when students take advantage of textbook buyback programs, they receive money and another student is able to rent or buy the textbook.
It is true that paper is recyclable; however, paper made from virgin pulp requires more than double the energy than using recycled pulp for reclaimed or recycled paper. In order to go green, print as little as possible and read class information and digital textbooks from a computer. To avoid eyestrain, get a text-to-speech program with a natural voice that reads back notes, online text, digital textbook information, and text from word processing programs.
Before hitting the print button, decide if the information is worth printing. For example, only print the syllabus and weekly to-do lists for each class. Before turning in a printed paper, ask the instructor for permission to turn in a paper electronically. Students save time submitting papers this way and they get an electronic date stamp. The instructor skips printing altogether, makes comments directly in a word processing document, and sends it back to the student electronically.
Printing less material saves toner or ink and paper. If printing is necessary, use recycled paper, ink, and toner cartridges. Recycle used cartridges through the printer manufacturer or a third-party recycling center. Make notebooks from printed pages instead of purchasing them constructed from virgin pulp.
Take notes using a laptop or tablet. Create shortcuts or macros and format lecture notes in an outline format that is easy to navigate using a word processing program.
Students enrolled in online classes do not use campus facilities such as libraries, cafeterias, student lounges, and classroom space. In addition to that, students studying at home help colleges go green and save energy. Make sure computer equipment is Energy Star rated and use energy saving LED light bulbs.
Colleges have online access to their libraries where students check out digital information, perform searches, and reserve books. Even when they have to pick up their reserved books from the library, they do not spend time and gas only to find out a book is unavailable. Better yet, reserve material online from the local library and receive a voicemail or text message as soon as it arrives.
Technology helps enhance students’ online experiences.
– Adviser, support, and tutor services
– Buy textbooks
– Earn degrees
– Register for classes
– Student admission
A college lessens its impact on the environment when making green choices.
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