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Eva Kassens-Noor

UP488: Sustainable and Climate Resilient Cities
Best Blended
“Flipped lectures allow for outside exploration”
- Eva Kassens-Noor -

The central question guiding the content of the moving, flipping, tweeting classroom is: “How do you create a sustainable and climate resilient city?”

The goal for this course is to synergistically integrate three innovative teaching practices to enhance the students learning experiences through applied learning and enable them to gather real life learning experiences. The first teaching practice is the flipped classroom, in which classroom content - usually delivered through slides and upfront lectures - is provided online. The second idea is that science tells us students learn better when they move – walk, exercise etc. (Doyle and Zakrajsek, 2011). The third teaching practice is engagement, whereby student’s learning experience is enhanced when they frequently interact with the instructor and their peers (McKinney and Heyl, 2008). Combining these three teaching practices may provide powerful synergies and provide new insights into teaching and learning.

Moving - Google Maps

The course is built, in large part, on the premise of moving around campus. Consequently, instructions are released prior to class, and routes are designed with the help of the guest lecturers, and mapped using Google Maps. The intention is for students to follow paths that incorporate views of what is learned in class each week.

Flipping - Desire2Learn – Release Conditions

This course is blended in its heavy use of technology enhancements and the Desire2Learn system to facilitate and enable class time to be used for outdoor activities. Care is taken with the design of the syllabus and online course space to provide clear instruction on how content is to be consumed, in what order, for what purpose, and to what end.

The release condition functionality in Desire2Learn is implemented on course content hosted in the system to ensure that students are not proceeding through the lectures out of the intended order, or skipping work that needs to be done.

Tweeting - Twitter

The use of private Twitter accounts facilitates a mobile, active classroom as well as the ability to have sensitive conversations that cannot be overheard. The instructor tweets as @SCRCities2013 and, while she is not always in the same physical location as all of the students involved in the conversation, is still able to facilitate a shared learning experience.


Doyle, T., & Zakrajsek, T. (2011). Learner-centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning Into Practice: Stylus Publishing (VA). McKinney, K., & Heyl, B. (Eds.). (2008). Sociology Through Active Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE/Pine Forge Press.

Technologies included in this course:


Eva Kassens-Noor, Assistant Professor, Lead Instructor

Jessica Knott, IT Services Teaching and Learning, Instructional Designer

Nathan Evans, IT Services Teaching and Learning, Instructional Designer

Lukas Hagen, SPDC, coder, course support

Cal Coplai, SPDC, coder, course support

Peilei Fan, URP, survey validation

Pat Crawford, SPDC, survey design & validation

Deb DeZure, F&OD, survey design & validation

Nathan Moore, Geography, guest lecturer

Tim Mrozowski, Construction Management, guest lecturer

Julie Cotton, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, guest lecturer

Wayne Beyea, SPDC, guest lecturer

Louise Jezierski, James Madison, guest lecturer

Christina Kelly, Director – LandBank Flint, guest lecturer

Matthew Williams, Planner for the City of Flint, guest lecturer