Sustainability in Computing Education: A Systematic Literature Review

Anne-Kathrin Peters, Rafael Capilla, Vlad C. Coroama, Rogardt Heldal, Patricia Lago, Ola Leifler, Ana Moreira, João Paulo Fernandes, Birgit Penzenstadler, Jari Porras, Colin C. Venters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Research shows that the global society as organized today, with our current technological and economic system, is impossible to sustain. We are living in an era in which human activities in highly industrialized countries are responsible for overshooting several planetary boundaries, with poorer communities contributing the least to the problems but being impacted the most. At the same time, technical and economic gains fail to provide society at large with equal opportunities and improved quality of life. This article describes approaches taken in computing education to address the issue of sustainability. It presents results of a systematic review of the literature on sustainability in computing education. From a set of 572 publications extracted from six large digital libraries plus snowballing, we distilled and analyzed 89 relevant primary studies. Using an inductive and deductive thematic analysis, we study (i) conceptions of sustainability, computing, and education; (ii) implementations of sustainability in computing education; and (iii) research on sustainability in computing education. We present a framework capturing learning objectives and outcomes as well as pedagogical methods for sustainability in computing education. These results can be mapped to existing standards and curricula in future work. We find that only a few of the articles engage with the challenges as calling for drastic systemic change, along with radically new understandings of computing and education. We suggest that future work should connect to the substantial body of critical theory, such as feminist theories of science and technology. Existing research on sustainability in computing education may be considered rather immature, as the majority of articles are experience reports with limited empirical research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages53
JournalACM Transactions on Computing Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2024


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