Are you an instructor, and interested in potentially using EcoTypes as part of your course? Please see the FAQ below, and note that you can always ask a specific question here, and/or join our EcoTypes instructor GoogleGroup.
What are the permissions, fees, etc. for using EcoTypes?
My institution requires human subjects (IRB) clearance.
Since 2017, the EcoTypes initiated has been fully approved by the Lewis & Clark College Institutional Review Board. The IRB code is HSRC #2019-40, typically approved annually (current expiration 10 Nov 2022).
What are the ways that instructors typically use EcoTypes?
Since 2017, instructors in over 80 institutions of higher education in the USA, and a few in other countries, have used EcoTypes. Most commonly they simply ask students to take the survey, then they facilitate an in-class discussion. (See the summer 2021 changes FAQ below: given the survey is now much quicker to take, there are more options, even with limited time. We also now have an FAQ page devoted to helping students understand their survey report.)
If you wish to provide your students greater background prior to taking the survey, we recommend the EcoTypes FAQ page designed to answer many questions students have asked, and/or the Axes, Themes, and EcoTypes page for a quick, visual overview of these three components. Or, you can recommend to them this video!
There are far more learning activities that can be done. One simple next step would be for students to consult the Going Deeper boxes on their reports and many EcoTypes pages. You can feel free to use the prompts in these Going Deeper boxes for a variety of writing and discussion assignments.
Learning about their EcoTypes can potentially help your students cultivate fuller, more creative approaches to environmental issues, as summarized in Three Steps to Growth. We appreciate your feedback on the extent to which this and other resources toward going deeper are helpful.
Ultimately, EcoTypes is most useful as a learning resource in conjunction with in-depth documentation, which we plan to do by way of a book to be published in 2022. In the meantime, we can provide an instructor packet to assist in more in-depth readings and discussions.
Can you tell me more about the survey data you store?
The EcoTypes survey is fully anonymous and GDPR compliant: no unique identity information is collected, and the use of anonymous data disclosed. (If a student forgets the entry key they were provided with their survey report, there is thus no way to retrieve the report for them to view, nor to delete their data if requested.) Some optional demographic data are collected at the end of the survey, but these are of a nature most respondents will not find to be sensitive.
All terms of the survey are provided on the first page. (You may need to come up with an alternative assignment if you wish to give your students the option not to take the survey, given these simple terms.)
Important! if you wish to receive a copy of your students’ data—a popular feature of EcoTypes to date—they must enter an institutional code in the dropdown box at the end of the survey. Please contact us to agree on a code, and to specify a date by which your students will have completed the survey; we’ll then export your data into a .csv file and email it to you, and provide a guide to help you understand and use your data.
We can also provide recommendations on how you might use your students’ data to their learning benefit: for instance, you could get an idea of the distribution of the five EcoTypes among your students, and potentially split them up into heterogeneous groups by EcoType. Or, you could analyze theme data for the greatest variance (differences among student responses), and focus on that theme—Place, Knowledge, or Action—in your discussions, knowing that there will be differences among students.
What resources can I consult to better teach EcoTypes?
The original EcoTypes site was packed with resources for instructors and students—too many, we heard. We are currently expanding and updating these resources into a book (possible publication date: end of calendar year 2022), which you can use as a supplement in your courses; if interested, check the book notification box on our question form.
We plan in the meantime to provide most resources from the original website to instructors in a packet; send us a request and we’ll provide you one.
Finally, you may wish to read this publication to get a more scholarly background on EcoTypes (note that some more recent features of EcoTypes are not mentioned):
Proctor, James D. 2020. “EcoTypes: Exploring Environmental Ideas, Discovering Deep Difference.” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 10 (2): 178–88. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-020-00592-y.
How can I keep in touch with other instructors using EcoTypes?
Please feel free to join our EcoTypes Google Group, designed for instructors using EcoTypes in their classes. As of summer 2021, the group includes over 150 members, and offers a wealth of insight into educational applications of EcoTypes.
What’s new starting summer 2021? What should we know?
Starting summer 2021 we have introduced some key improvements in EcoTypes,* and we will all learn together how to get the most educational benefit from these improvements:
- The EcoTypes site is accessed via ecotypes.us. If you’ve used the old EcoTypes site in past, there may be a redirect, but make sure and note this change!
- The site has been fully redesigned to be more colorful, image- and video-rich, and fun. We want your students to explore the site, and to use site resources to understand their survey results.
- The site has a set of Going Deeper exercises throughout, which students can do on their own or as part of guided reflection and writing assignments. It also offers a three-step process to help students cultivate fuller, more creative approaches to environmental issues via EcoTypes.
- The survey is now much shorter, and can be completed in about 10-15 minutes. This may give you more opportunities, e.g., to administer the survey at the start and end of your course to compare changes.
- The survey is fully anonymous. This means that instructors desiring their student survey data (see FAQ) will need to arrange with Prof. Proctor for their students to select a unique institutional code. It also means that instructors will need to come up with their own ways of tracking who has completed the survey, e.g., to award credit.
- The survey report is immediately delivered online, and retrievable in future via a special code at the top of the report. This may make it easier for students to retrieve and share their reports at any time, but does require online access unless the report is printed or saved as PDF.
- The survey report has a helpful FAQ for students to better appreciate the underlying statistical methodology and interpret their results.
- The survey report now includes EcoTypes, not just axes and themes. We are very excited about the learning potential of these EcoTypes!…but have only begun to explore how best to incorporate them into a course.
There is another change starting summer 2021: the website no longer contains the detailed content on each axis and theme, and additional online resources, as we have decided they would best reside in a companion book. We hope in the meantime to provide existing resources from the original website to instructors in a packet; send us a request and we’ll provide you one.
*See also What’s New in ’22? for additional recent developments.