Green Teaching


  • (202) 885-6077
    Hurst Hall, Room 204B

    Anna Olsson
    Manager of Training, Performance Management and Assessment

Certification Criteria

If you want to find out whether you would qualify for a Green Teaching Certificate, you can download a trial questionnaire that will give you an instant score once completed. Please note that this score will not be submitted, and that if you want to apply for a certificate, you will have to go through the formal certification process.

Download the Trial Questionnaire here!

The criteria that you are going to be asked about are listed below.

Reducing Paper Use | Saving Energy & Reducing Emissions | Other Measures

Reducing Paper Use:

  • Send your students your syllabus electronically and post it on Blackboard rather than printing copies for your students (5 points)
  • If you were to print a handout or syllabus, print double-sided and on recycled paper (2 points)
  • Request that students read the Academic Integrity Code online rather than printing it out (1 point)
  • If you were to assign student poster presentations, allow students to project these onto the wall, rather than printing posters (1 point)
  • Have students submit their assignments on Blackboard; grade them electronically, and return them to the students through Blackboard... (0) never; (2) some of the time; or (2) most of the time (0-2 points)
  • If you were to let students hand in hard-copies of their work, require double-sided printing, and allow single spacing and reduced margins (2 points)
  • If you were to give quizzes or tests, use Blackboard online-quizzes rather than giving quizzes on paper... (0) never; (1) some of the time; or (2) most of the time (0-2 points)
  • If you were to give in-class exams, have your students type their exams in a computer lab (0) never; (1) some of the time; or (2) most of the time (0-2 points)
  • Accept only electronic versions of all papers, tests and assignments (3 additional bonus points)
  • If you were to use paper for classroom activities, use scrap paper (1 point)
  • If you were to post PowerPoint presentations on Blackboard, save the file with six slides per page and eliminate graphics and colored backgrounds (2 points)
  • If you have a choice, use the chalkboard/whiteboard rather than the flip chart (1 point)
  • If you bring coffee or tea to class, be a role model to your students and use a reusable mug, rather than a paper cup (1 point)
  • Allow students to bring a laptop to class for note-taking (1 point)
  • If you take attendance, keep the record on a spreadsheet in electronic format, or record it on a voice recorder, rather than passing around a sign-in sheet every class (2 points)
  • Use a lecture-capture or podcasting program to record supplementary materials in video and audio format rather than posting notes (2 points)
  • If you were to assign books, assign e-books rather than printed books (1 point)
  • If you were to assign books, only require students to purchase books from which the majority of chapters have been assigned as required reading (1 points)
  • If you were to assign books, recommend an earlier version of the main text and provide materials on Blackboard to bring it up to date (1 point)
  • If you were to assign books, recommend buying used books, and inform students about required books as early as possible (5 points)
  • If you were to assign reference books, keep a copy available on reserve at the library (1 point)
  • If you were to assign articles and book chapters as supplemental or required readings, use e-reserves rather than hand out copies (5 points)
  • In the last session of the course, circulate a sign-up sheet for students who would like to sell their books, and provide this list to students in the following semester (2 points)
  • If you were to assign books, avoid ordering desk copies of your books unless you really need them (2 points)
  • If you were to post articles, book chapters and handouts on your Blackboard page, encourage students to read them rather than printing them (2 points)

Saving Energy and Reducing Emissions:

  • Use energy-efficient equipment, such as iPads or other tablets, rather than equipment with a higher energy consumption (5 points)
  • Turn off the lights if the room has enough daylight for your needs, and/or when you leave the room (5 points)
  • If possible, reduce the energy use in rooms with adjustable heat/AC (1 point)
  • If possible, turn off any electronic equipment that you are not using in the classroom (2 points)
  • If possible, when you leave your office for a break for the day, switch off all electronic equipment (2 points)
  • If possible, take the stairs to your office or your classroom rather than taking the elevator (1 point)
  • Schedule office hours before or after class so students do not need to make a separate trip to campus to meet you in person (5 points)
  • On snow days and on other occasions, hold class using the Virtual Classroom function in Blackboard, Collaborate, or another online forum, rather than rescheduling class on a different day (1 point)
  • Bike, walk, or use public transportation to come to class, rather than driving... (2) more than once a week; (1) once a week; (1) never but I drive a fuel-efficient car; (1) never but I carpool; or (0) never (0-2 points)
  • If you were to schedule an off-campus trip or meeting, encourage students to walk or take public transportation (rather than driving or taking cabs) (1 point)
  • If you invite guest speakers, use speakerphone or videoconferencing rather than bringing the speaker to campus (2 points)
  • Use the chat-function in Blackboard or Wimba, videoconferencing, or allow students to phone you rather than setting up appointments on days when you do not usually come to campus (2 points)

Other Measures:

  • If possible, teach about aspects of the environment within your subject area (2 points)
  • Have your students take the Sustainability Tour at AU as an assignment, or as part of a class (1 point)
  • Recycle transparencies and other materials from previous courses rather than reprinting them (1 point)
  • Include a Green Teaching initiative section in your syllabus informing students about the program, and encouraging them to support it (2 points)
  • Use the option of individualized questions to add a question about your green teaching to the end-of-semester student evaluations (2 points)
  • Allow CTRL staff to post a detailed summary of your Green Teaching on your Blackboard course pages for your students to view (5 points)
  • Allow CTRL staff to post a comprehensive online survey on Green Teaching on your Blackboard course pages at the end of each semester and encourage students to fill out the survey (2 points)
  • Recommend the Green Teaching Certificate to a colleague (2 point)

Bonus Points:

You can receive bonus points for any measure you are taking to make your course greener that is not listed in the Green Teaching Certificate Questionnaire.

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