Cornell Professor Lectured at School on MOOCs and Civic Ecology Education

On March 21, 2016, Marianne E. Krasny, a tenured professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Director of the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University, gave a lecture on her experience as an advocator teaching civic ecology courses on edX, one of the main MOOC platforms, in the School of Journalism and Communication in Tsinghua University. Dr. Jin Jianbin hosted the event.

PhD candidate Li Yue (Left), Dr. Marianne E. Krasny (Middle), Dr. Jin Jianbin (Right)

In her point of view, in the present socially networked era, social media cannot be absent from any teaching process. She has embedded social networks such as Facebook to improve the interaction and communication among students. Social media are found to be efficient platforms for students to share resources and discuss which makes students to be more engaged in an online course. Her MOOC like Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology, and Environmental Education: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Addressing Wicked Problems have achieved great success.

Professor Krasny interacts with the audience

Her practice is especially successful in her small online courses which usually accept only 20 to 30 students for each session. Besides listening to Dr. Krasny’s lecturers, students interested in environmental education and environmental protection from all over world will carry out environmental protection activities simultaneously in different countries and share their experience and results with each other through online platforms.

Dr. Krasny discovers that such method improves students’ environmental protection awareness, gives rise to new environmental protection and strengthens the social network of students. Presented audience of the talk are excited about such teaching approach and they raise a lot of questions to Dr. Krasny.

Marianne E. Karsny specializes in community environmental stewardship and environmental education in urban and other settings. She works with community-based organizations to examine how and why people care for nature and community in cities. She also directs the US Environment Protection Agency’s national environmental education training program EECapacity. Her research contributes to trans-disciplinary perspectives in social-ecological systems resilience, environmental education, online learning, educator professional development, and social innovation.
(By Ruan Yiqin)