This course explores how the most relevant research and theory from communication, psychology, sociology, and political science can be used to improve the practice of science, sustainability and environmental communication. Participants get an overview of the field as we examine how language, images, narratives, values, frames and media come together in advocacy and social marketing campaigns, and other forms of public participation for environmental protection. We consider how communication is used to accomplish practical goals, as well as how it affects people's beliefs about nature and environmental affairs. To do this we use readings, examples, cases, recorded lectures, discussions, and the insights of leaders in the field. Participants have the opportunity to work on communication projects that are relevant to their specific interests.
This course will be relevant to the following participants:
Course participants come from all over the world.
We will do our best to tailor the course to the needs of participants. We pledge to make this an accessible and memorable learning experience.
The course covers the following topics, subject to slight alterations:
Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:
Participants need to be able to devote at least 10 hours a week to the course for each of the 10 weeks that the course is in session. You will need a computer, tablet or phone with a webcam and microphone, and a good Internet connection. You will need these so that you can watch streaming videos, listen to streaming audio, participate in Skype sessions, and watch and record Flipgrid videos. For the Skype calls you’ll need a free Skype account. No account is needed for Flipgrid. The course will be taught in English and the readings and other materials will be in English. Also, written work must be in English, so you will need to be fluent or close to it.
The course will run for 10 weeks. Because participants come from all over the globe, course materials can be accessed at whatever time is convenient for each participant. Each week there will be 2 "classes," Tuesdays and Thursdays (New York time) which participants can "attend" on their own schedules that day. For each class, a reading or two will be posted the previous week. Readings should take an average of about 1 hour. Typically, an audio introduction and a video lecture will be posted on the day of the class. Additional materials may also be posted. Participants will discuss the day's topic in the course forums and may be asked to undertake additional challenges related to the topic. The expectation is that participants will spend approximately 2 hours per class (4 hours per week) watching the lectures and engaging with the discussions in the forums. As time zones permit, we will try to have one live discussion of no more than 1 hour each Friday (New York time) using Skype. Over 10 weeks, the total class time will be at least 40-50 hours, roughly the equivalent of a one-semester university course.
In addition, participants should plan to spend approximately 2-4 hours per week working on assignments/projects. There will be three short assignments in the first six weeks of the course, and one final project to complete by the end of the course. The final project can be customized to suit the professional interests of each participant.
Participants can choose either a graded option, a pass/fail option or an audit option. Participants who choose the graded option will be assigned a letter grade. Their work will be evaluated by the instructor and feedback will be provided. Participants who choose the pass/fail option will receive feedback from the instructor and a pass/fail grade. Participants who choose an audit option will receive no feedback or grade.
Participation (30% of final grade) throughout the course is a major component of evaluation. There are three short assignments (10% each) focusing on environmental discourses, language and visualization in the first six weeks of the course. Then there is a final project (40%) involving planning an environmental communication campaign OR developing a project related to the participant's work. There are no tests or exams.
The course runs on Moodle, an online learning platform. No client software is required; you just login using a modern web browser such as Safari, Firefox or Chrome. We will also use email and Skype. Coffee helps too.
The course is taught by Dr. Mark S. Meisner. Dr. Meisner holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from Queen’s University at Kingston and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental communication, environmental studies, and communication at York University, McMaster University, Royal Roads University, the State University of New York, and the University of Puerto Rico. He has developed graduate and undergraduate curricula in environmental studies and environmental communication and served as the lead of those programs. He has also worked as a management consultant, writing instructor, editor, administrator and IT consultant. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA).
We offer the course twice a year, beginning in January and September. If we don't get at least 12 people registered for a given session, we will postpone the course until the next session. If that happens, registered participants will have the option of postponing their registration to the next session or cancelling and having their fees fully refunded.
All participants who successfully complete the course receive a Certificate of Completion and a letter certifying completion from the IECA.
Past participants have obtained course credit for the course from their institutions. Your school would have to make that decision though, probably by reviewing the course to see if it meets their standards. We intend the course to meet the standards of a university graduate course.
There is no syllabus as such. This page contains most of the relevant information that you would find on a syllabus, except for the readings. Since we change the readings each session, we don't list them here. But the topics covered in the course are listed above, as are the course objectives, means of evaluation, etc.
Members of The IECA can receive discounted rates for the course, depending on their membership category. Fees are lower when you register by the early bird deadline (see the Registration block above for the date).
At this time we cannot offer exemptions or scholarships. Sorry.
Once fees are paid, WE CANNOT OFFER REFUNDS unless the course is postponed or we can find someone to fill your spot before the course begins.
The enrollment for each session is limited, after which we will have a waiting list. If there are enough people on the waiting list, we will consider opening a second section. Please see the Registration block in the upper right of this page for current information about pre-registration or registration.
Please contact Dr. Mark Meisner with questions: mark at theieca dot org
Please fill out the form below to pre-register for the course. We will let you know when the registration payment system is open before we open it to the public.
If you have an account on the IECA site already, then please login before proceeding. If not, then just fill out the form.