Michael Weinstein, Ph.D., is a 2021 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Elizabeth McCann, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Meaghan Guckian, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Verna Delauer, Ph.D., Committee Member


connection to nature, emerging adulthood, environmental education, technology-mediated nature

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There is limited research examining the efficacy of online delivery for experiential, field-based, interdisciplinary coursework in environmental education geared towards undergraduate students, and how connection to nature can be understood through the theory of emerging adulthood. This research employed a convergent mixed methods approach to explore the experiences of 11 undergraduate students enrolled in an online, introductory ecology course, and how their experience of connection to nature was influenced through the course, technology-mediated nature embedded within the course, and how their identities as emerging adults were impacted by their connection to nature. Quantitative methods employed included pre/post surveys, while qualitative methods employed semi-structured interviews and reflective journal assignments. Based on this study, there are specific cognitive components of nature connection that may be delivered effectively in online education, while student attention is drawn to the affective components of nature connection that technology may not deliver. This study suggests that the ability of information technology to provide novel insights about ecological connections can be leveraged to increase conceptual understanding of environmental functioning and issues. Findings from this study illustrate the importance of connection to nature in shaping the identities of emerging adults, and the results can be applied broadly to programmatic development in college-level environmental education, as well as online environmental education for various audiences.


Michael Weinstein

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0001-5977-018X