SOI-105 Sustainability of Digital Education and its Infrastructure (online)

Instructor Lorenzo Angeli
Modality Online
Period Second semester

28/02/2023 at 17:00-19:00 @SOI
07/03/2023 at 19:00-21:00 online
14/03/2023 at 19:00-21:00 online
21/03/2023 at 19:00-21:00 online
28/03/2023 at 19:00-21:00 online
04/04/2023 at 17:00-19:00 @SOI

Details Course Code: SOI-105

Course objectives

The United Nations’ SDGs are a prime example of how achieving sustainability requires cooperation between many areas of knowledge. In this micro-course, we will explore a case study of this issue, rooted on digital education and its infrastructure.
At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the Western world scrambled to improve their digital education facilities, and build infrastructure that could support emergency remote teaching, including video-conferencing systems, virtual classrooms, collaboration platforms, and other pieces of technology.
The urgency of the switch, however, implied that little consideration was given to the long-lasting footprint and impact of these technologies.
While emergency remote teaching seems — for now — over, and some of that infrastructure has been dismantled, some of it remains, and much of it could benefit from a deeper analysis of its sustainability.
In this micro-course, we will discuss the sustainability of digital education from four perspectives: technological, environmental, pedagogical, and social/ethical. Each of these perspectives will be taught by a guest lecturer from a different European university: University of Trento, KTH, TU Delft and University of Rennes 1.
The course aims to build a critical look of change processes enabled by digital technology, and provide a concrete example of rethinking digital technologies under a sustainability lens.

Content summary

The course is structured in three phases:
1. Why sustainability is a multi-disciplinary issue
2. Case study lectures on the sustainability of digital education from four perspectives:
a) Technological
b) Environmental
c) Social/ethical
d) Pedagogical
3. Lived experiences of how (un)sustainable digital education manifests

Teaching methods

In-presence and online lectures, group discussion, small workshops.


Some bibliography will be provided by the lecturers as the course develops. For a general introduction to the problems tackled in the micro-course, students can refer to:
Selwyn, Neil, Felicitas Macgilchrist, and Ben Williamson. ‘TECHLASH’, June 2020.

TECHLASH #1 is out – digital education after COVID-19