Instructor: Doug Fisher (
Class Time: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 9:10 AM – 10:00 AM
Class Room: FGH 136
Instructor Office Hours: Mondays 10:15 – 11:15 (FGH 388) and Tuesdays 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm (FGH 388) and by appointment (typically at Warren College or Skype)
Prerequisites: CS 2231 and CS 3251 (or permission of instructor).

The general course narrative is a broad survey of relevant computing technologies and sustainability areas; with two extended intervals of cumulative reflection and synthesis; and culminating in an in-depth sustainability-relevant computing project of our design. The survey aspects of the course will be through weekly readings, exercises, and class discussion. Synthesis and reflection will be through take-home synthesis exercises at mid-term and towards the end of the semester.

Bring your laptop to class so that you can take notes, including on Google Drive; search the Web for relevant information; and answer questions on Blackboard.

All student work will be completed by the last day of classes, Thursday December 8 (see the Schedule).

Vanderbilt has no stated guideline (that I can find) on the amount you work per credit hour, but other universities state an expectation of an average of 3 hours per credit hour per week. You can search for it yourself on the Web, but this passes my sanity check (a 20 credit hour semester would have you working 60 hours per week on classes if every class were exactly at “expectation”, and a 15 credit hour semester would have you working about 45 hours per week on classes). For a 3 credit course like this course, that is approximately 9 hours of work per week, including class time (or 6.5 hours outside of class per week, distributed as shown in the parenthetical statements below).

A typical week will require

  • that readings (and other resources, like videos) be completed before class on Monday, and that your answer to a simple question on the readings be uploaded as well (about 2 hours);
  • that before class on Wednesday you identify 3 papers related to the week’s reading and other source materials, and that you upload titles and abstracts for these papers (about 1 hour); and
  • that before class on Friday you complete and upload a solution for a more substantive exercise (about 2-3 hours).

Each class meeting will be primarily discussion using a roundtable format in which each student participates.

By Fall break, you will have begun a semester project, and hours for other tasks will be adjusted so that additional hours per week will be available for work on your projects. The project itself will be responsible for your search for other resources and your exercise of computing knowledge.

If (and only if) you are taking the course for graduate credit, then there is an additional requirement (search for “graduate” on the project page).