Teaching Idea

When discussing sustainability  it is interesting to acquaint students with various methodologies for evaluating organizations’ efforts. You can use the Lowell Sustainable Production Methodology or a Life-Cycle Framework (looking at sustainability from raw materials through to the end of use by the consumer).  You can take any company and have students analyze its efforts through either of these frameworks (I have used Nike, BP, and Nordstroms) because they are all from different industries and operate very differently. Nordstroms, for example, is at the end of a long value chain whereas BP is involved in both upstream and downstream activity.  After they have investigated these companies, I ask them to tell me what they would have liked to have seen on their websites to make their sustainable activities more transparent and understandable to consumers.

Martha Reeves post on Harvard Bus School resources

There are several interesting resources available from Harvard Business School for Educators on the topic of sustainability in business enterprises. The website will give you a short abstract of the article. Materials are free to educators. Here are a few titles:

Unruh & Etterson, Growing Green: Three Smart Paths to Developing Sustainable Products.
Werback, A. A Different Way to Formulate Your Business Strategy for Sustainability
Krushwitz & Velken, First Look: Highlights From the Third Annual Sustainability Global Survey.
Lubin et. al. Sustainability Strategy: Transform the Enterprise

Paperless grading

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education focuses on one math faculty member’s rationale for and experience with paperless grading. This faculty uses a variety of applications to provide feedback to students, depending on the nature of the assignment and the format in which it was originally submitted, including MS Word (track changes/commenting), annotating pdfs and Jing (posting the short feedback videos to Screencast.com). See also some comments by a different Math faculty member about her experiences with digital grading.