Environmental Education &
Community Engagement

This course may be offered again in April 2023.
An announcement will be posted in February 2023. 
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About the course

Imagine school students and community members designing a new garden to address food justice in their neighborhood. Or a parent-teacher association helping students reach out to elected officials to discuss environmental regulations that impact their school. Or an environmental education center that collaborates with community members to advance local climate action.
This course is about creating partnerships between environmental education programs and community members who aim to achieve shared goals through stewardship or advocacy. By involving youth and adults in environmental stewardship, environmental educators enhance environmental quality, social equity, and human well-being. They also engage local residents in advocacy to transform social systems that influence the environment.

The course materials, webinars, and interaction with each other, course participants will explore to engage community members in stewardship and environmental decision-making and action as part of environmental education. During this 4-week course, you will:

  1. Explore and create new ideas for community engagement goals and strategies by synthesizing practical experiences and theoretical frameworks,

  2. Exchange practical ideas for community engagement with peers and receive feedback from the instructors, and

  3. Develop a plan for community engagement in your own educational program.

The final project is creating a 1-page community engagement plan for your organization or coming up with new ideas for community engagement in environmental education, stewardship, and advocacy. Selected final projects will become part of an ebook that will be featured on the Civic Ecology Lab website and made available to other environmental educators.


This course is largely asynchronous. All materials are provided on the EdX Edge online learning platform. Course participants will learn from video lectures, readings, discussion posts, and case studies. The course also includes live/recorded webinars with experts in community engagement. On average, coursework takes about 5 hours per week each of 4 weeks (total 20 professional development hours).

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Dr. Alex Kudryavtsev

Research Associate

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Dr. Marianne Krasny


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Dr. Yue Li

Research Associate

Your will be guided by an experienced team from Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab:
  • Alex Kudryavtsev, Research Associate, who will be your main instructor. Alex’s research focuses on urban environmental education and civic engagement. You will communicate with Alex often

  • Marianne Krasny, Professor. Marianne is the Director of Civic Ecology Lab. She contributed to the development of this course.

  • Yue Li, Research Associate, who is experienced in environmental educator training and leading online courses. Yue will come to the course webinars, and coordinate course TAs.

  • Xin Yu (Fish) and Wanying Wu, Chinese teaching assistants. Fish and Wanying, along with other Chinese language assistants, will assist participants in China.

  • Kim Snyder, Course Administrator. Kim is experienced in helping participants feel supported and connected. Kim will be your main point of contact for any technical and logistical questions about the course.


Environment and education professionals, volunteers, university students, community leaders, and any citizens from any country. Discussions will be in English and Chinese.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, participants will:

  1. Critically reflect on the Community Engagement Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence, and apply their principles to your environmental education programs and communities;

  2. Expand your understanding of community engagement by synthesizing new ideas from weekly readings, lectures, webinars, and case studies;

  3. Develop new ideas for community engagement by synthesizing practical and theoretical ideas through the final project. Some final projects will be included in an ebook;

  4. Participate actively in a global online network of environmental educators who focus on community engagement.

Course Outline

Each week includes short recorded lectures, readings, and short assignments. During the course, we will also hold live webinars to allow course participants to hear from experts, ask questions, and discuss ideas with other participants and instructors. 

  • Week 1: Foundations. Review the foundations of community engagement in EE, and contribute to community engagement principles.

  • Week 2: Action. Explore how you can engage communities in environmental education through partnerships, collaboration, and achieving shared goals..

  • Week 3: Expanding. Exchange your experiences and create new approaches for community engagement in EE..

  • Week 4: Final projects. Synthesize what you learned and developed by writing a short essay, which may become an ebook chapter.


May 16 – June 12, 2022.

Assignments must be completed no later than June 9, 2022.


4 weeks (4-5 hours of work per week). During the course time, we will release most of the course materials including pre-recorded video lectures, readings, and discussion questions every Monday morning (time in New York). You can choose anytime during each week to review these materials and respond to discussion questions. Each week, we will host two-three webinars via ZOOM (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursday at 9am-10am NY time) and office hours (Monday at 9am-10am). Webinars will be recorded for participants who are unable to attend them synchronously. During the course, you will be working on final projects that apply “Community Engagement” Guidelines for Excellence to your own programs, or add new ideas to these guidelines. During the last week, you will submit your final projects by Thursday (June 9, 2022).


Participants who complete the course and submit the final project are awarded a Cornell University certificate (PDF). Weekly assignments include watching lectures, completing readings, and responding to discussion questions. Participants are required to participate in a minimum of one course webinar (or watch a recorded webinar). The required course project is a short essay that applies or expands the guidelines for community engagement.​

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We organize two weekly webinars. You can participate in them live or watch the recorded version.​


$60 fee. Most participants pay this fee.

Options available to pay a higher fee ($120) to sponsor another student, or pay a lower or no fee if you are unable to pay or live in countries without internationally accepted payment systems (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran).

Educational approach


The course is based on two principles: (1) Learning is social: participants learn by discussing ideas and sharing resources; (2) Learning should lead to action: participants will apply course content to their communities and environmental education programs, or add new ideas about community engagement to advance other environmental education programs.


EdX Edge (BNU Site for Chinese) for pre-recorded lectures, readings, and discussion questions (asynchronous). We will also use Facebook, WhatsApp and Wechat for optional informal discussions and sharing. We will host weekly webinars via ZOOM and post recordings on EdX Edge and BNU Site for participants unable to attend in person.


Frequently asked questions

1. What time(s) of the day will this course take place?

During the course, we will release most of the course materials including pre-recorded video lectures, readings, and discussion questions every Monday morning (NY time). You can choose anytime during each week to review. We will also host one ZOOM webinar each week. Webinars will be recorded for participants unable to attend in person.

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 live in a country that does not have a system to transfer funds to the U.S. (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran, Somaliland) or because the basic $60 fee is beyond their reach (economic hardship). Most course participants pay $60, which helps support our online courses. We depend on your course payment to pay our teaching staff, and 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 and EdX Edge discussion board.

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. What is the refund policy?

You may request a refund by Friday, May 20, 2022.

6. How long is the course?

This is a 4-week course. The first three weeks include course materials; the final week is finishing your final project.​​

7. 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. But you can also submit your final project in Chinese because we have teaching staff who speak this language.

​​8. How will I receive course certificates?

You will receive your PDF course certificate via email within two months after the end of the course.

9. What social media are used in this course?

We use optional Facebook, WhatsApp, and WeChat groups for participants and instructors to share ideas and resources. Only course participants can be part of these groups; please do not invite people outside this course.

10. Can I share course materials with my colleagues and friends?

You are NOT allowed to share, distribute, or forward any materials from this course. They are only for your own learning.

If after reading above, you still have questions, contact us at 

(Please write “Community” in the subject line.)

Useful documents: