Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sustainable Development Education for ICT Professionals

On Thursday I attended Michael Smith's seminar on "Engineering Education for Sustainable Development" at the ANU in Canberra. Michael outlined initiatives for teaching environmentally sensitive techniques to engineers. I was a little worried this was all eco-greenie waffle, but he pointed out that they have produced training modules for real engineering courses, for use by UNESCO.

So far the materials for twelve lectures of a course on "The Role of Engineering in Sustainable Development" are available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. This allows the material to be modified, so they could be adapted for ICT professionals, or simply added to.

It should be possible to add some ICT modules to this materials for a joint approach for engineers and ICT professionals. This could be used in programs such as the ACS's Computer Professional Education Program , using the ACS's web based ACSLearn system. The materials produced so far for engineers would benefit from us of the ICE system, or similar, to create standards compliant learning modules.

Techniques for software engineering should fit well with a holistic sustainable engineering approach. This might even provide an answer to the last century's question as to why the paperless office did not work. ;-)

However, the issues need to be put in terms that hard headed engineers and ICT professionals are comfortable with. Citing books such as "The Natural Advantage of Nations: Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century", will most likely turn away a large number of practitioners, who will see this as some sort of political or religious movement, rather than science or engineering.

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