• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–3 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $25 USD

  • Institutions
  • Subject:
  • Level:
  • Language:
  • Video Transcript:
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time


  • The general population with an interest in creating small-scale citizen science projects
  • Health professionals, researchers, or educators who may wish to share course with potential citizen scientist partners.

About this course

Skip About this course

Science is for everyone and citizen science and community-engaged research has demonstrated that non-scientists can contribute in many ways to advancing health and wellness in communities. This course focuses on helping communities, organizations, and individuals make a difference in local public and environmental health by developing citizen science projects.

The 5-module course is asynchronous and self-paced, with approximately 15 hours of content and activities.

This course covers:

• Citizen science overview

• Project planning

• Collecting data

• Managing Data

• Communicating Results

Classes use a variety of instructional methods, including short lectures, activities, interviews, and quizzes.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn

This course will enable you to:

  • Describe ways that citizen science can make a difference in public and environmental health
  • Choose the best citizen science approach to meet project goals.
  • Explain the steps involved in initiating, planning, and managing successful citizen science projects.
  • Identify strategies for finding tools and resources for citizen science projects.
  • Describe methods for data collection in citizen science projects.
  • Explain best practices for equipping and training volunteers to ensure data quality.
  • Identify common ethical questions that should be considered when planning a citizen science project.
  • Develop a plan to communicate the results of your project.

Week 1:

Discover what citizen science is and how citizen scientists participate in research. Benefits and challenges of citizen science will be discussed, and you will explore how citizen science is used to improve community health and address environmental justice issues.

Week 2:

Learn strategies for planning local, small-scale citizen science projects, with a focus on non-scientists who want to motivate healthy changes in local communities. Learn about the steps to get started, develop a research question, form a planning team, and consider resources needed. Ethical considerations in citizen science will be discussed.

Week 3:

Explore options and strategies for collecting data in small-scale citizen science projects and how to identify the best tools and equipment for a project. Best practices for collecting data and training citizen science volunteers will be covered.

Week 4:

Find out how to manage and organize data collected by citizen scientists and why it is important—whether you are helping students learn about research, or trying to convince local leaders to make changes in your community. Learn the basics of organizing, “wrangling”, storing, and getting your data ready for sharing.

Week 5:

Learn strategies to effectively communicate the results of citizen science research to community leaders, local government, or other audiences. Identify a variety of communication tools and develop a plan based on project goals.

Meet your instructors

Alexa Mayo
Associate Director for Research and Information Services
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Katherine Downton
Head of Research and Education Services
University of Maryland, Baltimore

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain
$25 USD

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    edX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally