Green Computing through Virtual Learning Environments

Green Computing through Virtual Learning Environments

Rochell R. McWhorter, Julie A. Delello
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8170-5.ch001
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As technology has quickly evolved into more sophisticated forms, it is opening the options for educators and business professionals to expand learning opportunities into virtual learning spaces. This chapter discusses a number of technology trends and practices that can promote green computing as a way for organizations and individuals to be efficient in time, currency, and resources. Three technology trends that are disrupting the status quo are Cloud computing, 3D printing, and the analytics associated with Big Data. In addition, trends that appear to be taking hold include digital badges, the Internet of things, and how we are handling recycling and e-waste of our devices. A discussion around issues of energy required for data servers to power the technology is also presented.
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As virtual learning has come of age, green computing has been posited as a way for organizations and individuals to be efficient in time, currency and resources. Childs (2008) defined green computing as the “study and practice of using computing resources efficiently” (p. 1) that includes the lifecycle of technology: the design, manufacture, use, and disposal of computer hardware and software (Lo & Qian, 2010). In this chapter, the authors will focus on how existing technologies can be utilized efficiently in higher education and within industry to shrink travel time and cost, improve efficiency, and lessen environmental impact.

The following sections of this chapter will highlight various examples of green computing initiatives in higher education and the workplace that are making a real difference in lowering costs and increasing efficiency. Discussions include the use of cloud computing, mobile devices, digital badge technologies, real-time group meetings (RTGMs), and virtual and blended professional conferences. Each will be examined both for their potential for green computing as defined previously.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Badges: Graphic representation of an individual’s accomplishments, interests, or demonstrated skills.

Cloud Computing: Distributed computing where applications and files can be utilized over the Internet.

Real-Time Group Meeting (RTGM): Planned synchronous online meeting of a virtual team for the purpose of reflecting on new content, engage in problem solving, or completing a project or task.

Internet of Everything: Connectedness of digital devices to people and processes for improving efficiency.

Sociomaterial: Having characteristics of both social (represent a shared understanding) and material (document or technical infrastructure) practices.

Big Data: Large or complex datasets that too difficult to easily analyze with traditional processes including the utilization of predictive analysis for decision making.

Internet of Things: Connectedness of digital devices into systems where they can communicate.

Virtual Human Resource Development: Utilizing technologically integrative environments to increase learning capacity and optimizing individual, group, community, work process, and organizational system performance.

3D Printing: The creation of a physical object from a digital model including bioprinting for the creation of organs, limbs, prosthetics, and human tissue.

Online Professional Conference: Portions or complete schedule of audio or video of professional presentations, keynote address, and business meetings of a professional conference accessed in real-timethrough Web conferencing technology or archived for on-demand viewing.

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