At the Cornell University's Civic Ecology Lab, I develop and teach international online courses for professional development of environmental educators, such as:
Introduction to Environmental Education
Urban Environmental Education
Global Environmental Education
Each of these courses usually attracts hundreds of participants from dozens of countries.
In summer 2019, I taught the Green Cities summer course. Students' course essays are included in an ebook.
Based on research and my own teaching experience (including my mistakes!), I have developed and use the following teaching principles to organize my in-person and online courses:
Social learning. Effective learning is social, thus course participants should have opportunities to exchange ideas with peers, network with professionals, work on group projects, and interact course instructors and teaching assistants.
Learner-centered experience. My students have different interests, learning goals, and preferred learning styles. They become more motivated learners when, in addition to required materials, they can choose from a variety of optional learning materials and assignments that resonate with their interests.
Research-based. Course structure and materials must be based on conceptual ideas and empirical findings from research publications. Successful courses present both established theoretical frameworks and results of empirical research.
Critical thinking. Courses should foster critical thinking, and promote analysis and discussion of any learning materials.
Knowledge creation and innovation. Teaching should encourage higher-level thinking among students (see Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning) to help them use theory to improve practice, and advance their academic fields by creating new knowledge. For example, a final course assignment can be producing a new activity plan for educators, or developing a creative solution for an urban environmental issue.
Writing. Writing clearly is hard. But nothing else is so effective in organizing our thinking. I often give students writing assignments: from daily reflections in summer courses, to weekly discussion boards in online courses, to creative final projects.
Supporting risk. Within reasonable boundaries, I support students trying new and creative approaches to complete course assignments. They may face risk of failure, yet they can come up with novel perspectives, critique, and presentation of their projects.
DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, EQUITABILITY
I strive to support diversity, inclusion, and equitability in my academic practice. In a lecture that I wrote for my Nature Education course in 2019, I wrote this phrase that reflects my standpoint: “…educational systems must be welcoming for people who have diverse backgrounds – related to their physical and cognitive abilities, race, ethnicity, language, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, socioeconomic status, and cultural heritage.” Thus in my courses I show respect for and welcome diverse viewpoints, and try to make all voices heard because it’s crucial for students’ learning and well-being, and for creating new ideas.
Sample Video Lectures
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION OUTCOMES: SENSE OF PLACE
This video is part of the Civic Ecology Lab's "Environmental Education Outcomes" online course.
These example podcasts are based on my interviews with experts discussing different outcomes of environmental education. Topics of these podcasts: environmental citizenship, sense of hope, and critical thinking. Find more podcasts on the Civic Ecology Lab's channel: SoundCloud
30 Book Chapter Videos
We have worked with the authors of 30 chapters of our edited book "Urban Environmental Education Review" to produce short videos that review each book chapter: http://tinyurl.com/UEER-playlist