Urban EE


Urban Environmental Education

7-week online course (this course may be offered again in 2020)

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

Registration closed


Description: 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 Instructors:

Course Dates: March 6—April 30, 2018. The course includes 6 weeks of lectures, readings and discussions, and two weeks to complete final project. The course requires 4 hours of work per week and offers a Cornell certificate upon completion of assignments.

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 chapters from Urban Environmental Education Review textbook.

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:

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

AssessmentContribute to all weekly discussions and submit the final 1–page assignment to receive a Cornell 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.

Week 7-8. Course Project

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


  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, 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.
  4. 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.
  5. How long is the course? This is an 6-week course with two additional weeks to complete the course project. For the final project, you will write a 1-page “lesson plan” for your environmental education program, based on ideas you learned in this course. After completing course assignments, you will receive an Cornell Certificate.
  6. 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. We also accept final assignments in Spanish.
  7. How will I receive course certificates? You will receive your course certificate and comments on your final assignment via email no more than two months after the end of the class.
  8. What social media are used in this course? We use an optional Facebook group where students and instructors share ideas and resources. Only course participants can be part of this Facebook group. Do NOT invite your friends or colleagues to this group. For Chinese students who cannot access Facebook, 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). Note that students gain a great deal from exchanging ideas and resources and “meeting” fellow educators on social media. However, participating in social media is NOT required to earn a certificate.
  9. 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.” Community groups can meet locally in person. They can can also use Facebook, WeChat, or other social media to link participants speaking particular languages (e.g., Spanish), people living in a certain geographic region (e.g., Hong Kong or Tanzania) or people 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).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Who are the course instructors?
    Alex Kudryavtsev, http://ak383.org
    Marianne Krasny, https://dnr.cals.cornell.edu/people/marianne-krasny
    Yue Li, http://yueyuelee.me
  13. 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. Community group names will be added as they become available.