Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Green IT/IS Education and Training

Ellen England and Summer Bartczak produced the very useful paper "Where Can Green IT/IS Education and Training Be Found Today?" (Journal of Sustainability Education, 19 March 2012). They conducted a literature review and Internet search, looking for courses and training on sustainable computing.

England and Bartczak found that certification and training courses outnumbered college (university) courses.

Degree Programs in Sustainability

There were only two complete degree programs in green computing, both in the UK:
  1. University of Bradford Sustainable Computing MSc (in development), with core modules in Sustainable Computing Technology, Critical Contexts: Computing for the Environment, Developments for Sustainable Computing, Frameworks for Sustainable Computing, and a Research Dissertation and Project. Unfortunately this program does not appear to have proceeded past the planning stage.
  2. Leeds Metropolitan University MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Green Computing, was offered in 2012/2013. The MSc appears to have been renamed Sustainable Computing (in line with other such programs) and has core modules of Eco-Engineering, Green Computing Strategies, Green Computing Technologies, ICT & Environment, plus Project Management, Research Practice and a Dissertation.


One program not listed by England and Bartczak  is the Box Hill Institute (BHI) Vocational Graduate Certificate in ICT. This includes  Units of Competency (what the vocations sector call "courses") in
Principles Of Sustainability (VBN762), 
Manage Improvements in ICT Sustainability (VPAU779), Use ICT To Improve Sustainability Outcomes (VPAU780). BHI is unusual as it is a vocational institution which offers postgraduate programs.I visited HI in 2009 to discuss the proposed green computing offerings and drop off a copy of my course notes. I was impressed with the institution.

University/College Courses/Modules

Many of the courses mentioned by England and Bartczak appear to be no longer offered, such as "Principles of Green IT for Sustainability" from UC Berkeley Extension. The materials for University of Massachusetts' Cmpsci 691GC: Green Computing Seminar do not appear to have been updated since 2009. But Arizona State University's CSE 591: Topics in Green Computing and Communication was being offered in Spring 2013 (with Week 1 Slides by Sandeep Gupta available). Link√∂ping University offer TDDD50 Green Computing. , covering Global ICT footprint, life cycle, Power-aware computing, plus tools and metrics.

Boston University Metropolitan College are one of the few to list textbooks with their MET CS-504 Green Information Technology by David Shirley:
  1. Green IT: Reduce Your Information System’s EnvironmentalImpact While Adding to the Bottom Line, Toby J. Velete, Anthony T. Velete, and Robert Elsenpeter, McGraw-Hill, 2008
  2. The Greening of IT: How Companies Can Make a Difference for the Environment, John Lamb, IBM Press; 1 edition (May 7, 2009) 
Other recommended texts include:
  1. Green Project Management, Richard Maltzman and David Shirley, CRC Press, 2010 
  2. Foundation of Green IT: Consolidation, Virtualization, Efficiency, and ROI in the Data Center, Marty Poniatowski, Prentice Hall, 2009.

Boston University Metropolitan College's course also requires the student to purchase a Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor and use the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS).

Prof. Fred Chon provides extensive notes for his course CS 290N: Green Computing at University of California, Santa Barbara, but the materials were last updated in 2010 and it not clear the course is still running. The textbook is The Datacenter as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines, Urs Hoelzle and Luiz Andre Barroso, published by Morgan and Claypool, 2009.

Saint Xavier University offers Green Computing and Technology (CMPSC 107)as part of a suite of "Environmental and Sustainability Studies Courses".

Swarthmore College offers Socially Responsible Computing  (CS91) by  Professor Douglas Turnbull, with extensive notes provided on-line.

England and Bartczak also mention my course at the Australian National University, COMP7310: ICT Sustainability (previously "Green Information Technology").

England and Bartczak don't mention the green ICT courses offered through Open Universities Australia (OUA), a consortium of Australian bricks-and-motar higher education instutions who pool their online courses. Install and configure virtual machines for sustainable ICT (ICANWK402A) from Polytechnic West is offered through OUA. Also available thorough OUA is "Green Technology Strategies" from ACS (the same course I also teach at ANU).

Non-academic Certificate Programs

England and Bartczaklist certificate programs not offered through an academic institution. The most prominent of these is the British Computer Society's BCS Certificate in Green IT. The certificate consists of a Syllabus, with Accredited Training Providers who each to the syllabus and an examination. There is also the textbook Green IT for Sustainable Business Practice: An ISEB Foundation Guide" by Mark O'Neill (British Informatics Society Ltd, 2010).

RapidStart Pte Ltd in Singapore offer Green IT Certification at three levels:
  1. Certified Green IT Associate (CGIA)
  2. Certified Green IT Specialist (CGIS)
  3. Certified Green IT Professional (CGIP)
While RapidStart describes itself as an accredited training provider, it is not clear if the green IT courses have any form of external accreditation.

The Green Computing Initiative (GCI), offers three self-study courses and corresponding examinations:
  1. Understanding and Utilizing Green Computing Technologies (UUGCT) for the Certified Green Computing User Specialist examination (CGCUS03),
  2. Strategizing, Designing and Optimizing Green Computing Technologies (SDOGCT) for the Certified Green Computing Architect  examination (CGCA01),
  3. Implementing, Managing and Optimizing Green Computing Technologies (IMOGCT)  for the Certified Green Computing Professional examination (CGCP02).
Many of the certificates listed by
England and Bartczaklistappear to have been discontinued.


England and Bartczaklist list the Australian Computer Society's Green Technology Strategies module for the ACS Computer Professional Education Program, which I designed and teach. This module is also offered through OUA as "Green Technology Strategies" and uses the same course content as the Australian National University, masters course COMP7310: ICT Sustainability. (the ACS and ANU versions of the course have slightly different assessment). My book of course notes used for all three courses is available free on the web:
"ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future" (2011). As well as Kindle, iPad, ePub, PDF eBook and Paperback Editions.

A North American version of the course was developed by ne of my former students, Brian Stewart, at Athabasca University (Canada) as Green ICT Strategies (COMP 635).

More on the rationale behind the development of the course, which has been running since February 2009, is available in the conference paper and notes for "A Green Computing Professional Education Course Online" (ICCSE 2012).

This course predated the BCS green certificate and so may be the first such course, as well as the oldest still running and only one offered by four institutions internationally.

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