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Finding healthier materials to specify for your building projects isn’t easy. It can be time-consuming and resource intensive. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start because there’s just too much information to sift through, or the information is too technical.
With this in mind, Healthy Materials Lab has created a four-course online certificate program. The Healthier Materials and Sustainable Buildings program will equip you with the right tools to make informed decisions and supply the necessary background information on basic construction materials, their chemical makeups and their relationship to human health. Each online course is completely self-paced so you can take it on your own time. Completing the entire program satisfies 18 AIA (HSW), 23.5 IDCEC (HSW) and 23 USGBC (GBCI) Continuing Education Credits.
Interested in learning more? Hear from graduates of the program in the video below.
“An astonishing pool of information” - Leila B., Designer (Austin, TX)
“I look forward to bringing these topics and questions into client meetings. I work with architects, engineers, and owners. Thinking about kickoff charrettes and goal setting meetings, I see a lot of opportunities for incorporating human health into our design process.” - Jimmy O., Sustainability Consultant (Oakland, CA)
“This course is really unique…with it you are really making the link between architects and other professionals like doctors, etc.” -Xavi R. (Barcelona, Spain)
“I feel more knowledgeable about potential hazardous building products and now know where to find more information about healthy and hazardous chemicals.” - Lisa S., Furniture Designer (London, England)
See below for the Healthier Materials and Sustainable Building program syllabus.
Materials and Human Health
Building Products and Chemistry
Healthier Materials: Design and Specification
Executing a Healthier Project
Q: Who should take this course?
The courses have been created for all of us who are interested in and involved in the design, creation, maintenance, renovation, and break down of the built environment. Even experienced architects and designers will learn new and useful information about the burgeoning field of human health and building products.
Q: I have a full-time job, is this certificate designed for people like me?
Yes! We have created this program with busy professionals like you in mind. This is a self-paced course, so you can take it whenever your schedule permits.
Q: I am currently enrolled as a student at The New School how can I enroll in these courses for free?
We offer matriculated students free resources in Canvas that contain the content of these courses. You may engage with these resources by requesting access from Jonsara Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can formally register for these courses by consulting your Academic Advisor for approval. Then, you may register at cpe.newschool.edu. You will be charged tuition for the courses. Payment is required at the time of registration.
Q: I am a faculty member or employee at TNS, how can I enroll in these courses for free?
Please follow TNS guidelines to apply for a tuition waiver
Q: Can you explain what it means that the certificate is 4 classes & 24 hours?
The program consists of 4 courses - Materials and Human Health, Building Products and Chemistry, Healthier Materials: Design and Specification, and Executing a Healthier Project. Each course averages 3.5 - 7 hours, with a combined length of all of the videos at approximately 24 hours
Q: How much work is involved in taking these courses?
Students are required to watch all of the videos, and there are short quizzes at the end of each section in courses 1 and 2, on which you must score 100% in order to progress to the next section. These quizzes are not difficult, and can be retaken them as many times as you feel are necessary. The courses also include takeaways and references to support what is discussed in the videos, which you can download and refer back to during and after the course.
Q: At what rate can I take the classes? For example, can I take one class per semester?
Yes, this is a self-paced program, so you can take the classes at whatever rate works best for you. Please bear in mind that there is a registration fee which is applied per semester but if you were to take all four courses in one semester you would just pay one registration fee!
Q: If I don't finish the four-course option in one semester, may I re-register in the next term for free?
No, you will have to pay the registration fee for the next term.
Q: What is the recommended timeframe for taking one of these courses?
Though this program is self-paced, we recommend allowing two weeks to finish each course.
Q: Do I have a time limit for completing each course?
You will have access to each course for the duration of the semester, after which point the online interface will be open for review only for an additional 60 days. We recommend allowing two weeks to finish one of these courses.
Q: What are the semester dates? Are they similar to any other typical academic calendar?
Yes, the dates follow The New School academic calendar.
Q: Do I have to take the courses in order?
Yes — the information in these courses is cumulative, and they are designed to be taken in the sequence in which they are offered.
Q: Do I have to take all four courses?
Although all four courses are required to receive the certificate, you can choose to take as many of the four as you would like. Because they must be taken in order, you can’t take courses 2, 3, or 4 without completing the course(s) that come before it.
Q: I will be taking the course from outside of the U.S. Will the time difference be a problem?
No, you can take the course whenever is most convenient for you, regardless of your location and time zone, as all materials are pre-recorded and accessible online.
Q: In what format are the classes delivered? Via what platform? How does student/instructor communication happen?
The courses are delivered via Canvas, The New School’s virtual learning platform, and the content is delivered via videos, quizzes, downloadable PDFs, and links to relevant resources. There is also a discussion board at the end of each module, which you can use to ask our team questions about what you’re learning.
Q: Do I need to get a certain grade on the quizzes in order to pass the course?
The courses are not graded. However, there is a lot of information packed into each video. After each module of the course, there is a quiz on the material covered in that section. To make sure you don’t miss anything important, you have to score 100% on each quiz before moving on to the next module. You can repeat the quizzes as many times as is necessary in order to achieve this.
Q: Are these courses for credit?
These courses are not for university academic credit. However, professionals can receive AIA or IDCEC continuing education credits for their course completion.
Q: Is there some sort of certificate at the end?
You will receive a certificate of completion for the program once the four courses have been completed.
Q: What is meant by AIA/IDCEU CEU HWS Credits?
Each course offers 4-7.5 AIA/IDCEC continuing education units/credits. As a registered member of the American Institute of Architects or one of the three professional Interior Design organizations in North America (ASID, IIDA, IDC), one is required to amass CEUs to keep their license/membership active. The credits that are available through our courses fall in the category of Health, Wellness, and Safety (HWS).