Due to the large numbers of students in Norwich Business School, the printing of teaching handouts can result in huge amounts of paper, money and resources being wasted.
The NBS Green Impact team have been working with students to reduce waste by only printing handouts for students that have requested them.
Dr Robert Jenkins, Lecturer in Business Statistics, and winner of the 2016-17 Green Impact Environmental Hero Award, identified one module where there were often piles of leftover handouts to trial the project. Working with the School’s support staff, he took five minutes at the start of a seminar to show students the number of unused handouts from a single NBS lecture (over a foot high) and to ask the students to complete an online poll on whether they wanted handouts.
The team were sensitive to the needs of students, and those who wanted to have a set of handouts received them. Meanwhile it has also given a voice to those students who don’t want handouts, and has moved away from the assumption that everyone wants paper resources. Robert used a weekly ‘handout watch’ in lectures, where the number printed out and the number left-over was recorded. A reduction of 50 sets was achieved and no student has complained about not having a handout.
To further reinforce this approach, effort was made to reduce the size of the handouts. Editing lecture notes to accurately reflect key content has helped to further reduce pages printed. Material was also offered in a variety of digital formats.
The project has stimulated debate within NBS and it is hoped that some or all of the methods will be taken up by other teaching colleagues.