Urban Environmental Education 

"Urban Environmental Education" online course

  • Hundreds of participants from over 50 countries have taken this popular course.

  • This course offers 20 learning hours.

This course may be offered again in the future.

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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 background, (3) educational settings, (4) participants, and (5) educational approaches in urban environmental education. The course is offered by the Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab (https://civicecology.org), and based on cutting-edge ideas from the “Urban Environmental Education Review” book (https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501707759/urban-environmental-education-review).

Invite your colleagues

Please invite your colleagues, friends, and anyone else to join this course. You are welcome to share the course Facebook announcement, or YouTube trailer. It's fun to learn along with your friends and colleagues! We accept new participants until November 5, 2019.

Course Instructors

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Course Dates

November 5—December 10, 2019. The course includes 5 weeks of lectures, readings and discussions. You’ll have to complete the course project any time during this course, and submit a one-page report during the last week. The course requires 4 hours of work per week and offers a Cornell certificate upon completion of assignments (20 learning hours total).


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.



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.


Suggested fee

Course fee is $60, which includes free access to 25 chapters from Urban Environmental Education Review textbook, other readings, educational videos, several outstanding webinars, and great networking opportunities. 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 a reduced fee. Alternatively, you can pay $120 to become a sponsor for a student who is unable to pay.

Materials included in the course

  • Urban Environmental Education Review” book chapters.

  • Urban Environmental Education Review videos.

  • Instructional videos.

  • Other readings.

  • Networking opportunities through discussion boards and social media.


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


Contribute to all weekly discussions, participate in at least one webinar (it’s okay to watch a recorded webinar if time is inconvenient for you), and submit the 1–page course project to receive a Cornell Certificate.


Week 1. Introduction and urban context

  • Course introduction, and meeting other participants

  • Advancing urbanization

  • Sustainable cities

  • Rapidly growing cities

  • Cities as opportunities

Week 2. Theoretical underpinnings

  • Environmental justice

  • Sense of place

  • Climate change education

  • Community assets

  • Environmental governance

Week 3. Educational settings

  • Nonformal educational settings

  • Community environmental education

  • School partnerships

  • Sustainable campuses

Week 4. Participants

  • Early childhood

  • Positive youth development

  • Adult education

  • Inclusive education

Week 5. Educational approaches, and course project

  • Cities as classrooms

  • Environmental art

  • Adventure education

  • Urban agriculture

  • Ecological restoration

  • Green infrastructure

  • Urban digital storytelling

  • Participatory urban planning


  1. What is the course email? CivicEcology@cornell.edu (Please write “UEE course” in the subject line.)

  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. Students can pay a reduced fee or not pay if they they do not have systems to transfer funds to the U.S. (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran, Somaliland) or because the basic $60 fee is beyond their reach (e.g., you are experience economic hardship). Most course participants pay $60, which enables us to develop and run online courses. We are grateful for your support!

  3. If I pay $120, 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 5-week course with two additional weeks to complete the course project. For the course project, you will write a 1-page course project in which you will outline an urban EE activity – which you can conduct after the course, and which is based on ideas you learned in this course. After completing course assignments, you will receive an Cornell Certificate.

  6. Can I submit the course project 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 Spanish because we have teaching staff who speak these languages.

  7. How will I receive course certificates? You will receive your course certificate via email no more than two months after the end of the course.

  8. What social media are used in this course? We use an optional Facebook, WhatsApp, and QQ group – where students and instructors share ideas and resources. Only course participants can be part of these groups, please do not invite people outside this course.

  9. Can I share course materials with my colleagues and friends? You are NOT allowed to share, copy, distribute, or forward any materials from this course. They are only for your own learning.

  10. Can I use this course for teaching my own students in a college or university? Please contact the Civic Ecology Lab.

  11. 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): https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501707759/urban-environmental-education-review/



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.


(We use time in New York)

Wednesday 11/6

  • 8:00am-9:00am (Eastern Time) — Course Introduction (Alex Kudryavtsev, Cornell University)

  • 9:00am-10:00am — Place-Based Education in Urban Settings (Mary Leou, New York University)

Wednesday, 11/13

  • 8:00am-9:00am — Urban Environmental Education: Urban Nature and Aesthetics (Jan van Boeckel, Independent Nature and Art Education consultant; Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Wednesday, 11/20

  • 8:00am-9:00am — Opportunities for Urban Environmental Education Across the City Landscape (Marijke Hecht, University of Pittsburgh)

Wednesday, 11/27

  • 8:00am-9:00am — Nonformal Urban EE: Public Space, Climate Change, and Participation (Bryce DuBois, Rhode Island School of Design)

Wednesday, 12/4

  • 8:00am-9:00am — Visual Arts in Urban Environmental Education (Hilary Inwood, University of Toronto)