Learning Green



If we hope to create a sustainable world, we will need a new breed of thoughtful scientists marked by their determination to create technologies, products and processes that are "green." The problem is, the world is short on green scientists because they aren't being trained fast enough. We can't hope to develop sustainable technologies if we aren't successfully providing scientists with the background and tools they need to do the job.

The goal of this online initiative is to help change that.

Traditional approaches to education, while they are obviously effective, are capable of educating only so many students so fast. Online courseware isn't a substitute for direct human interaction in a classroom, but it does have the power to reach thousands of students and hundreds of professors and learning institutions simultaneously. If done well (and this is a big "if"), it can help accelerate the training of green scientists and researchers around the world.

The first courses we are developing are at the undergraduate and graduate level and provide rigorous training in green chemistry based initially on courses taught by the Institute for Green Science's founder and director, Terrence Collins. Dr. Collins taught the first course in green chemistry at the university level in 1992, and has been advancing the material ever since.

With the support of the Heinz Endowments and the Johnson Family Foundation, Learning Green is taking all of the knowledge and hard work that has gone into creating Dr. Collins' courses and developing a unique, highly interactive Introduction to Green Chemistry.

This course (and all of its supporting materials) will be made available free of charge to students, learning institutions and professors around the world who have access to the World Wide Web. They are welcome to use it however they feel it can help them.

As we progress, contributions will also be sought from Paul Anastas, Jim Hutchison, C.J. Li, John Warner, and many other seminal thinkers in the world of green science to create a variety of university level courses painstakingly designed to spread the skills needed to develop green technologies and thinking as rapidly and effectively as possible. We want to make sustainability contagious.


Truly Interactive Courseware

We know that education on the Internet isn't a new idea, but doing it well has proven difficult for those who have tried. A central goal of our effort is to go well beyond the sort of online courseware now available, which often consists of posting "digital paper" or long video lectures to websites with little thought about interactivity, design or integration. Past efforts often have clunky interfaces and repurposed course material. Under the direction of science author, documentary filmmaker and interactive designer Chip Walter, this initiative is thinking from the ground up how to combine video, online interaction, learning theory, cognitive science, user-friendly design and first-rate educational content in a way that makes the process of understanding new ideas and skills compelling, interesting and effective. We can't replace a great professor, but our goal is to try to do the next best thing.


Trying the Idea On For Size

Learning Green Tutorial

With this demonstration, we have developed and combined simple but innovative online tools that students can use to learn important and complex concepts about green science. (To learn more about these and the interactive lesson book we have created, please watch the Learning Green tutorial, right.) Rather than simply describe ideas, this demonstration allows visitors to sample the courseware's tools and content, draw their own conclusions and share their insights and solutions with us as we work to create a more effective and engaging experience.

So please explore the site and our interactive lesson book. Try out the modules we have created, read the course material, take the quizzes and play the learning games we have developed so far. We want to know what you think. But we ask you this: Don't simply tell us what we've done wrong. Tell us how you feel we can do it right. We want to hear your solutions.

You can provide us with your feedback online by sending us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We look forward to hearing from you!



More information about Learning Green