University of Illinois Special Topics Course Focuses on Sustainable Electronics

During the Spring 2014 semester, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students will have the opportunity to take a special topics course related to sustainable electronics.

Entitled Sustainable Technology: Environmental and Social Impacts, ENG/TE 498 is a collaboration of the College of Engineering’s Technology Entrepreneur Center and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI). TEC’s Dr. Brian Lilly is the professor of record, and ISTC’s Joy Scrogum and Kirsten Walker are instructors.

The class introduces the environmental and social impacts associated with technology at each stage of the product life cycle (design, manufacture, consumption, and disposal/recovery). Electronic products will be used as a case study and provide the framework for discussion of complex legal, economic, social, and environmental considerations.

Planned outcomes are to provide students with:

  • training in the sort of “systems thinking” required to recognize and address potential environmental and social impacts associated with technologies they use and develop.
  • an introduction to the concept of the product life cycle and life cycle analysis
  • an opportunity to hear from experts in the fields of sustainable electronic product development, electronics recycling and end-of-life management
  • an appreciation for the perspectives of various stakeholders
  • an appreciation for the complexity and breadth of issues surrounding electronics
  • the inspiration to apply concepts of sustainable product design, use, and end-of-life management in their personal lives and careers.

Students will complete weekly assignments, typically involving responses to required reading material. A brief mid-term paper and a final project will also be required.

Day & location: Mondays, 10:00-11:50 a.m., Room 1302, Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science

To register, UIUC students should look in the online course catalog under ENG 498 or TE 498, Special Topics. For more information, contact Joy Scrogum at

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