Introduction to Environmental Education
5-week online course (September 12 – October 16, 2017)
Registration deadline: September 5, 2017
COURSE EMAIL: CivicEcologyLab@gmail.com
Description: Learn about environmental education foundations and approaches—including place-based education, nature and adventure education, climate change education, and environmental action in schools and non-formal settings—through pre-recorded lectures, readings, and case studies. Participants can form local groups to take the course together, form bilingual groups to help participants with limited English, or try out new media like Comic Life to get their educational message across. You will apply research-based knowledge to start new or enhance existing environmental education programs, strengthen your professional networks by exchanging ideas and resources with peer educators around the world, and gain professional credentials.
Participants: Beginning and aspiring environmental educators, including teachers, nonformal educators, environmental or park managers, zoo or botanic garden educators, volunteers, and university students. This course can also support ongoing professional development of more experienced environmental educators. Available to students in any country. Materials are in English with Chinese translations.
Cost: Suggested $50 fee. Options available to pay a higher fee to sponsor another student or pay a lower or no fee if you have limited ability to pay or live in a country without credit card. See registration link.
Certificates: Participants who complete the course are awarded Cornell University certificates. Students who complete all assignments in Weeks 1-4 will earn the Achievement Certificate. Students who complete all assignments in Weeks 1-4 plus complete the course project will earn the Expert Certificate. Weekly assignments include watching lectures, readings, and discussion questions. Course project is a short lesson or activity plan for your current or future environmental education program.
Educational approach: The course is based in three principles: (1) Learning is social: we learn effectively within a social context, thus networking and exchange of ideas among participants is crucial; (2) Learning can lead to innovation: course participants can work together building on the course materials to develop new ideas for environmental education; and (3) Learning can foster practice change: we will discuss how course ideas and new ideas emerging in this course can be implemented in real environmental education programs. The course will use the edX edge learning management system and optional closed groups on Facebook, WeChat, Telegram, and other social media to facilitate idea and resource exchange.
Through this course, you will:
- Understand history, theories, and terminology that define environmental education.
- Compare and contrast various environmental education approaches.
- Expand your network of environmental educators to support your future projects.
- Produce activity plans appropriate for your current or future educational programs.
Course Instructors: Yue Li and Marianne Krasny, Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab
Dates: September 12 – October 16, 2017. Course includes 4 weeks of content (approximately 4 hours of work per week), plus 1 extra week to complete course project.
Week 1: Foundations
We introduce the course and environmental education and students introduce themselves and their work or studies.
- Lecture 1: Course introduction
- Lecture 2: Foundations of environmental education
Week 2: Formal and Nonformal
This week we focus on environmental education approaches as defined by where the program takes place. Formal environmental education takes place in K-12 schools while nonformal environmental education is provided by museums, botanical gardens, zoos, nature centers, libraries, after-school clubs, communities centers, camps, and other out-of-school settings.
- Lecture 3: Environmental education in the classroom and green schools
- Lecture 4: Nonformal environmental education
Week 3: Place and Nature
This week we review place-based, nature, residential and adventure programs. These programs can happen in both wild/rural and urban areas.
- Lecture 5: Place-based environmental education
- Lecture 6: Nature-based, residential and adventure programs
Week 4: Climate Change and Action
This week we focus on climate change education and education that fosters collective action.
- Lecture 7: Environmental action
- Lecture 8: Climate change education
Week 5 (Expert Certificate): Design Lesson or Activity Plan
Participants wanting to earn the Expert Certificate have one extra week to complete the course project, which entails applying the course material to design a lesson or activity plan.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Thank you!
- How long is the course?
This is an 5-week course (has approximately 4 hours of work per week). Four weeks are required, and one additional last weeks is optional.
- How long is each lecture? Do I have to watch the videos at certain times each week?
Each video lecture is about 7 minutes long. The video lectures are pre-recorded. You can choose anytime during each week to watch. We may schedule optional weekly video conferences to share ideas, which will be live sessions. In addition to video lectures, we will provide case studies and reading materials. You will also participate in discussion to interact with participants from around the world.
- What language will this course use?
We will mainly use English to teach the course and provide Chinese and Spanish subtitles for the video lectures. We welcome students from different countries and regions to form bilingual groups to help each other learn.
- What are the requirements to receive the Cornell Achievement Certificate?
You have to watch the lectures, do the readings, and submit your responses to all four discussion boards by end of course.
- What are the requirements to receive the Cornell Expert Certificate?
The same requirements as Achievement Certificate plus develop and submit a 1-page lesson, program, or activity plan (final assignment) for a current or future environmental education program.
- How will I receive course certificates?
Certificates are PDF files with your name and the course and instructor names. They are sent by email within two weeks after the end of the course.
- Can I submit the lesson, program, or activity 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 and Spanish speaking students can submit lesson plans in Chinese/Spanish (or both English and Chinese/Spanish) because we have teaching staff who speak Chinese/Spanish. If you are unable to submit your assignments in English, we suggest forming a local group and providing each other comments on your assignments.
- 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 (WeChat: xiaoyuelee). 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).
- 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 local community groups that meet in person and interest groups (e.g., nature education) using Facebook or other social media. If you create a community group, you should invite other course participants to join and share information relevant to this course and your group. Alternatively, you can join any community group created by others. Information about community groups will be posted on the course webpage as it becomes available.
- Can I share course materials with my colleagues and friends?
You are NOT allowed to share, copy, distribute, or forward any video lectures and case studies from this course. They are only for your own learning. However, you are welcome to share the course information page https://civicecology.org/course-eeintro/.
- Can I use this course for teaching my own students in a college or university?
Please contact the Civic Ecology Lab (Civicecologylab@gmail.com) to discuss using this online course (including course materials and discussion boards just for your students) to support courses in other universities and colleges.
- Who are the course instructors?
Marianne Krasny, https://dnr.cals.cornell.edu/people/marianne-krasny
Yue Li, http://yueyuelee.me
This course was developed by Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab and China’s Center for Environmental Education and Communications, Ministry of Environmental Protection.
COURSE EMAIL: CivicEcologyLab@gmail.com