Philadelphia University offers a free online course on sustainable design, which begins on June 1st, 2014 (registration ends on May 15th, 2014).



Who should take this course?

Intermediate: If you have built environment experience, this course will help you make the leap from “casual greening” to “authentic sustainability.”

Beginner: If you are new to sustainability and the built environment, learning modules contain extra interactions to help build your foundational knowledge to bring you up-to-speed and teach you about authentic sustainability.


How much time is required to complete the course?

There are three levels of participation in the course:

The Grazer (Causal learner) 2 hours/week

2 hours of video watching per week


The Student (working professional) 5 hours per week

2 hours of video watching per week
1.5 hours per week interacting with learning modules
1.5 hour per week occasionally engaged in discussion board

The Scholar (Taking the course for credit) 14 hours per week*

2 hours of video watching per week
1.5 hours per week interacting with learning modules
1.5 (right?) hours per week engaged in discussion board (professor moderated)
4 hours per week of readings (necessary to get good grades on the assignments/be prepared for assignments)
4 hours per week completing the assignments
* For those pursuing the LEED® Green Associate Exam, an additional 3 nights of study is recommended.


What are the assignments?

The course includes a variety of assignments. Some are short 2-page papers posted in the discussion board for peer evaluation. The midterm project is a case study that becomes part of a larger data base of sustainability projects that are organized, compared and contrasted through the four lenses of Integral Theory. There are some short quizzes in the second half of the course flowed by a final project that is still in development.


Course Logistics

This is a 3 credit course with 42 hours of on-line instruction. Because this is a massive open on-line course, interaction with the professor is limited.

The course will feature a variety of ways to take in the content. They include:

High quality HD Videos of PowerPoint lectures with narration – click here for a sample
Skype sessions and interviews with prominent figures in sustainable design
Text-based learning modules with interactive quizzes – click here for a sample
Faculty moderated and peer-to-peer online discussions

What do I get in the end?

You will receive a certificate of completion if all assignments are completed by the end of the course.

You can receive 3 graduate credits if the following conditions are met:

Signed course participation form
Completed assignments posted before the end of the course
Student registers at Philadelphia University as a non-matriculating student
Student pays the tuition required for a 3-Credit course at Philadelphia University
Student will receive a transcript from the Registrar when all conditions above are met
The Fine Print:
Philadelphia University is a Middle States accredited university. However, different universities have different standards for accepting transfer credits. PhilaU accepts no responsibility for whether the 3 credits will be accepted by the home institution


When does the course begin?

The course begins on June 1st, 2014. Registration ends on May 15th, 2014


How do I register?

To register for the course simply click here and you will be taken to the Blackboard CourseSites login page.


Will I receive CEU Credits?

At this time the course has not been approved by GBCI for LEED® CE credits. However, students may self-report the hours for the class. Please follow all guidelines as listed on the GBCI website. The number of hours that can be claimed will vary on the level of involvement in the course.

At this time, this course does not have AIA CEU’s available.


What books are required?

There are no required books.

The online learning modules and PDF readings are stored within the Blackboard CourseSites platform. However, the following books are highly recommended for deeper study:

Design Education for a Sustainable Future by Rob Fleming
Plan B 4.0 by Lester Brown
The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability by the 7 Group
Integral Sustainable Design by Mark DeKay
Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber
Visit the PhilaU Bookstore.
Course History

This course had its beginnings 8 years ago as it became the foundational education experience for the MS in Sustainable Design program at Philadelphia University. Over that time, over 300 students have taken the course both on-campus and on-line. Because the course has traditionally included students from any major it is purposely broad in scope. The course has evolved into a very deep exploration of sustainability values followed by a comprehensive presentation of corresponding sustainable design methodologies. Each week remains broad in scope with opportunities for students to take very deep dives into the content. The MS in Sustainable Design Program has received awards from the United States Green Building Council and the National Institute of Building Science. Over 150 students have graduated from the program since 2006.

Philadelphia University