Urban EE

Urban Environmental Education

8-week online course (April 10–June 4, 2017)

3      Final CEL Logo

1. About the Course  |  2. Course Contents  |  3. FAQs  |  4. Community Groups

Course enrollment is now closed. Please check back periodically for future offerings.


DescriptionPDF flyer. Urban environmental education includes any learning practices that foster individual and community well-being and environmental quality in cities. Similar to how cities are innovation hubs, urban environmental education generates novel educational approaches that advance the field of environmental education more broadly. Urban environmental educators and their programs can benefit by adapting ideas from inspirational examples of other urban environmental education programs, and from recent research in this field. In this course, you will learn about UEE, including: (1) urban contexts; (2) theoretical underpinnings, (3) educational settings, (4) participants, and (5) educational approaches in urban environmental education. The course, offered by the Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab (https://civicecology.org), is based on cutting-edge ideas from the “Urban Environmental Education Review” book (http://tinyurl.com/UEERbook).

Course Facilitators:

Course Dates: April 10—May 21, 2017 (6 weeks). Take two additional weeks after May 21st to work on a course project and receive an additional certificate. The course requires 4 hours of work per week.

Participants: Participants with any level of experience and from any countries are welcome. The course is designed for current and aspiring environmental educators, university students, urban planners, and other professionals interested in environmental education, community and youth development, nonformal education, environmental justice, environmental governance and planning, and sustainable cities.

Goal: To help participants improve their knowledge of urban environmental education, and their educational programs.

Educational approach: In this course, three ideas inform our teaching philosophy. (1) Learning is social: we learn effectively within the social context, by exchanging our perspectives, and by constructing knowledge collectively. This course provides rich opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer learning. We encourage networking among course participants, learning from each other, and communication with course instructors. (2) Learning objectives reflect various levels of learning according to Bloom’s taxonomy, including: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating information about urban environmental education. We include materials and assignments that help you reflect on your own learning goals, generate new ideas, and critically explore research-based and practice-based ideas. In addition, the course offers a variety of learning materials to choose from and to meet your needs and interests. This course gives participants much freedom in choosing their assignments, which will prepare them to fulfill the final assignment. (3) Participants will benefit from the course by progressively working on their course projects, by applying what they learn from the course to their practice in current or future urban environmental education programs.

Learning outcomes. In this course, participants will choose their learning goals:

  1. Explore theories, terminology, practices, issues and opportunities that define urban environmental education.
  2. Describe your own program’s settings, goals, and participants.
  3. Outline how you can apply urban environmental education research and practice ideas to your own educational program.
  4. Compare and contrast various educational approaches and settings in urban environmental education.
  5. Learn to critique and evaluate urban environmental education programs and related research.
  6. Produce new or original materials or activities related to urban environmental education.
  7. Expand your network of urban environmental educators.

Cost: $50, which includes free access to 25 textbook chapters.

Also, as part of our commitment to making our online courses available to anyone anywhere, and to creating a rich global online learning community, those without the ability to pay can sign up for free. In addition, we also offer participants a $100 registration fee option to anonymously sponsor a student who is unable to pay. Course participants a $100 registration fee option to anonymously sponsor a student who is unable to pay. Register now!4

Materials included in the course:

  • “Urban Environmental Education Review” book chapters.
  • “Urban Environmental Education Review” videos

Technology: We use the Canvas learning management system. We can also use optional social media (Facebook and WeChat) for networking among participants and ideas exchange.


  1. Required: Contribute to all weekly discussions in Weeks 1-6 to receive a Cornell Achievements Certificate.
  2. Optional: Participate in Weeks 7-8 to create a 1-page lesson plan for your environmental education program and receive an additional  Cornell Expert Certificate.


Week 1. Introduction

  • Introduction
  • Task: Introduce yourself and your environmental education program.

Week 2. Urban Context

  • Advancing Urbanization
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Four Asian Tigers
  • Cities as Opportunities
  • Task: Answer weekly questions on the discussion board. Optional: network via Facebook or WeChat.

Week 3. Theoretical Underpinnings

  • Environmental Justice
  • Sense of Place
  • Climate Change Education
  • Community Assets
  • Environmental Governance
  • Task: Answer weekly questions on the discussion board. Optional: network via Facebook or WeChat.

Week 4. Educational Settings

  • Nonformal Educational Settings
  • Community Environmental Education
  • School Partnerships
  • Sustainable Campuses
  • Task: Answer weekly questions on the discussion board. Optional: network via Facebook or WeChat.

Week 5. Participants

  • Early Childhood
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Adult Education
  • Inclusive Education
  • Task: Answer weekly questions on the discussion board. Optional: network via Facebook or WeChat.

Week 6. Educational Approaches

  • Cities as Classrooms
  • Environmental Art
  • Adventure Education
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Ecological Restoration
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Urban Digital Storytelling
  • Participatory Urban Planning
  • Task: Answer weekly questions on the discussion board. Optional: network via Facebook or WeChat.

Optional Week 7. Course Project

  • Task: Create a 1-page course project (lesson plan).

Optional Week 8. Course Project Discussion

  • Task: Share and discuss lesson plans.


  1. What is the course email?
  2. Why do you have three types of enrollment for different fees? We are committed to creating equal access to the course materials and to instructor feedback regardless of where a student lives or his/her ability to pay for the course for two reasons. First, we think that students living in countries where they cannot pay for a course, either because they do not have systems to transfer funds to the US (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran, Somaliland) or because the basic $50 fee is beyond their reach, are students who may benefit most from our courses and from access to instructors. Second we have seen from our past courses that learning about the environmental education experiences of students from these countries benefits all students (and instructors!). We think the $50 fee is reasonable for most educators. We are aware that some course participants are able to pay more and would feel good about sponsoring a student who is unable to pay.
  3. If I pay $100, is the fee tax deductible? We will send you a thank you note acknowledging your contribution for tax purposes. The letter will say you can deduct $50 from your taxes.
  4. If I pay $100, can I link with the student I sponsor? No, we would like to keep who pays and who doesn’t pay anonymous. However, you will be able to connect with students from many different countries through the course social media.
  5. Can I sponsor more than one student? Yes, we would be grateful for your support of other students, especially in developing countries, who otherwise cannot afford paying for this course. Please contact helpdesk@ecornell.com to sponsor additional students. Thank you!
  6. How long is the course? This is an 8-week course. Six weeks are required, and two additional last weeks are optional. You will receive a Cornell Achievements Certificate after you complete six weeks and answer questions on six weekly discussion boards. After you complete six weeks, you can enroll in two additional weeks in which you will write a 1-page “lesson plan” for your environmental education program, based on ideas you learned in this course. After those two additional weeks and submitting your “lesson plan,” you will receive an additional Cornell Expert Certificate.
  7. What are the requirements to receive the Cornell Achievements Certificate? You have to submit your responses to all six discussion boards at the end of each of six weeks. All other activities are optional.
  8. What are the requirements to receive the Cornell Expert Certificate? Submit your responses to all six discussion boards and then you can enroll in the last two weeks with no additional payment. In the last two weeks you are required to develop and submit a 1-page “lesson plan” for your environmental education program.
  9. Can I submit the “lesson plan” in my native language? We strongly encourage you to submit all assignments in English so that instructors and other students can give you feedback. Chinese students can submit lesson plans in Chinese (or both English and Chinese) because we have teaching staff who speak Chinese. If you are unable to submit your assignments in English, we suggest forming a local group and providing each other comments on your assignments.
  10. How will I receive course certificates? After week 6 (if you responded to all 6 discussion boards) you can download from our website a PDF file of your Achievements certificate. After week 8 (if you submitted a lesson plan) you can download a PDF file of your Expert certificate.
  11. What social media are used in this course? For most participants, we will use an optional Facebook group where students and instructors will share ideas and resources. Only course participants can be part of this Facebook group. Do NOT invite your friends or colleagues to this group if they are not in this course. In countries where Facebook is not available we will use a WeChat group. To enroll in this group, please contact Yue Li (yl983@cornell.edu). You are also welcome to create additional social media to share ideas and help each other with assignments in countries that have their own platforms (e.g., KakaoTalk in Korea, Telegram in Iran).
  12. Can I communicate with peers from my region during this course? Prior to the course, we will invite course participants to create or join “community groups.” We expect to create several community groups on Facebook (or other social media) that can be joined by people living in a certain geographic region (e.g., Hong Kong or Tanzania) or with a particular interest (e.g., nature education). If you create a community group, you should invite other course participants to join it and share information relevant to this course and your group. Alternatively, you can join any community group created by others. Information about all community groups all be posted at the end of the syllabus webpage (https://civicecology.org/course-UEE).
  13. Can I share course materials with my colleagues and friends? You are NOT allowed to share, copy, distribute, or forward any readings from this course. They are only for your own learning. All book chapters in this course are copyright protected, and nobody is permitted to share them outside this course. Course syllabus cannot be shared. However, you are welcome to share YouTube videos from this course.
  14. Can I use this course for teaching my own students in a college or university? Please contact the Civic Ecology Lab (Civicecologylab@gmail.com). For a fee, we can arrange using this online course (including course materials and discussion boards on Canvas just for your students) to support courses in other universities and colleges.
  15. Who are the course instructors?
    Alex Kudryavtsev, http://ak383.org
    Marianne Krasny, http://mariannekrasny.wordpress.com
    Yue Li, http://yueyuelee.me
  16. I noticed that this course includes 25 chapters from the Urban Environmental Education Review book. Where can I access the remaining five chapters? The “Urban Environmental Education Review” book contains a total of 30 chapters. To read all 30 chapters, you can purchase the hard copy of the book from Cornell University Press (this website also has the Table of Contents): http://cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100988800


Course participants can create community groups of colleagues, friends, and people with similar interests to take the course together. Members of each community group can be course participants from the same university, work place, city, or country, or who share the same language or specific interests. So far, we have the following community groups, which any course participants are welcome to join:

  1. Latin Group for Urban Environmental Education. Contact: Maria Angelica Mejia Caceres (missangelux@hotmail.com). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1825803201074438. Other meetings will be through Skype.
  2. Urdu Language group. Contact: Shazia Parveen (shazia_ayub9@yahoo.com). Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shazia.ayub1
  3. Tibetan school EE group. Contact: Qian Cao (flora.cao@hotmail.com). Xining, China. Islamabad, Pakistan. This group will have online meetings.
  4. Environment friendly group. Contact: Weiyin Chang (cwy_forest@163.com). Beijing, China. The group will meet through WeChat or face-to-face. WeChat: tw_leo
  5. Campus seed group. Contact: Yueyang Yu (yuyueyang.china@gmail.com). Beijing, China. The group will meet face-to-face and via WeChat. For the WeChat code, contact Yueyang Yu.
  6. Beijing NGO group. Contact: Ma Lan (day-off@163.com). Beijing, China. Face-to-face meetings, please contact Ma Lan.
  7. Environmental Management Study Group. Contact: Rongshan Tang (ashintingae@126.com). Hangzhou, China. WeChat: 13588710729
  8. Environmental Educators Working in Coalfields Group. Contact: Bobby Hughes (rhughes@epcamr.org). Ashley, USA.
  9. UrbanEE@Shanghai. Contact: Yan Zhu (52618322@qq.com). Shanghai, China.
  10. UEE-Zhujiang delta study group. Contact: Jiayi Zhang (zhgecho@hotmail.com). Guangzhou, China. WeChat: 380691255
  11. UEE Midwest Environmental Educators. Contact: Natalie Moore (Moorenm72@gmail.com). Cleveland, USA. Online meetings and Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1951752718389125
  12. Sichuan group. Contact: Ping Wu (390906131@qq.com). Chengdu, China. Meet on WeChat.
  13. UEE group in KOREA. Contact: JY Kang (jy_kang@snu.ac.kr). Seoul, South Korea. We will use kakao talk (kakaotalk username: jyl4887@hanmail.net).
  14. URBAN EE. Contact: Tailin Du (dutailin123@163.com). City of the Shandong province, China. Online meetings through Wechat.
  15. Greater Boston Area Urban Environmental Educators. Contact: David Meshoulam (david.meshoulam@gmail.com). Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Meet on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1102862229820339) and possibly face-to-face.
  16. Sustainable Agriculture/School Gardens. Contact: Kathleen Carson (kathleen@gatewaygreening.org). St. Louis, USA. Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1254002018031888
  17. UEE Chesapeake Region. Contact: Alexis Thorbecke (athorbecke@aqua.org). Baltimore, MD, USA. Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1266896843417946
  18. New York State regional group. Contact: Shaye Weldon (shaye.weldon@dec.ny.gov). New Paltz, NY, USA. Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1044952628938694
  19. School year EE (prek-8). Contact: Shuo Gao (googao@hotmail.com). Seattle, US / Beijing, China. Facebook group: https://facebook.com/groups/1756943527929016
  20. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden EE Group. Contact: Wenhui Qiu (qiuwenhui@xtbg.ac.cn). Mengla, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. Face-to-face meetings.
  21. Urban EE Course–Western US group. Contact: Erica Tietjen (erica.tietjen@unlv.edu). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/471245829874364