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Gaia Education’s Design For Sustainability course

Frequently Asked Questions

Our aim in this FAQ document is to provide you with a great self-service tool that ensures your success. Still need help after reading these? Please submit a question through Contact Us.

General Questions

  • Who can take the GEDS course?

    The GEDS course is open to everyone! No prerequisites. All you need is access to a computer with a current browser, an Internet connection and a commitment to learn.

  • How do I sign up?

    To sign up, go to the E-learning page and register for the course by entering all the information fields. Once you have submitted your payment your place is confirmed.

  • How do I pay for the course?

    As you register for the course, you will be asked to submit the payment to secure your space. You can pay via PayPal, credit/debit card or bank transfer. If you choose to pay via bank transfer, please notify us to send you a manual application form.

  • What browsers are supported for use with the GEDS course

    Our courses will work with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

  • What if I have technical trouble with registration, login or course access?

    Some problems with registration, login or access to the GEDS courses are caused by browser issues. We suggest:

    • switching to a current version of Chrome or Firefox.
    • checking your browser settings to ensure both JavaScript and cookies are enabled.
    • clearing your browser’s cache.
    • writing to for assistance. We will do our best to help.
  • What are the requirements to receive a Certificate of Completion?

    • Register and pay for the full course at once or per dimension.
    • Read and demonstrate to a facilitator that you understand all the materials for all four dimensions of the curriculum.
    • Complete two required activities per module within each dimension.
    • Engage in the peer forum at least once each module of each dimension.
    • Submit an immersion report after having spent at least 40 hours in an ecovillage or sustainability centre.
    • Complete a group design project in a Design Studio with a facilitator’s review of the final design.
  • Are courses accessible to students with disabilities?

    We aim to create an innovative online learning platform that is easily accessible for everyone, including students with disabilities. We want to improve the accessibility of the platform where possible and welcome your comments or questions.

  • Do GEDS courses offer university credits?

    Gaia Education does not issue university credits. We issue a Certificate of Completion indicating a minimum of 400 hours of study for the online GEDS course. The certificate is honored by some colleges, universities or other degree programmes when students enrol in them, depending on the institution’s policies and partnership agreement between Gaia Education and the particular institution. You are advised to check with the Degree programme before enrolling.

  • Are Gaia Education courses only offered in English?

    GEDS certificate courses are currently offered in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The Spanish programme is also offered as a Masters Degree through the Open University of Cataluña.

  • Can I access GEDS courses on my smart phone or tablet computer?

    At this time, Gaia Education does not fully support access with mobile devices. While many components of your courses will function on a mobile browser, some may not. We will soon launched our GEDS mobile apps for Android and iOS phones which will allow you to read the course contents and watch course videos on the go! We plan to make the app available on Android tablets and iPads in the future.

  • What happens if I have to quit a course? Will I be able to take the same course in the future?

    Once you register for the full course or a single dimension you have two years to complete the Design Studio portion to qualify for a certificate. If you wish to extend the course beyond the two year limit, you need to pay an additional 20% of the regular price of the full course or dimensions. Following Gaia Education’s policy, Gaia Education will not refund the full amount paid for registration of either the full course or a single dimension under any circumstances. Cancellations up to one week after the course starts will incur a 25% retention fee for administrative process. There are no refunds after the first week.

  • Do you have a GEDS guide? Where can I find more in-depth information?

    You can find more in-depth information by downloading the GEDS course handbook here.

About the Course

  • When does the course start and/or finish?

    You can find the start date and course duration on the course description page. For the 2018 – 2019 GEDS the dates are the following:

    Social Dimension: 15 October to 7 December 2018

    Ecological Dimension: 14 January to 8 March 2019

    Economic Dimension: 18 March to 10 May 2019

    Worldview Dimension: 20 May to 12 July 2019

    Design Studio: 22 July to 20 September 2019

  • How much work will I have to do to receive a certificate?

    This is largely up to you, since the course is designed to be covered at your own pace and to fit with your schedule. However, it is expected that you will dedicate approximately 10 hours a week, or 80 hours to each of the four dimensions, plus the Design Studio, for a total of 400 hours of online study. You are also required to spend at least 48 hours in a sustainability centre or ecovillage and hand in a report of your experience.

  • How can I find my course discussion forum posts?

    The discussion forum is active inside the course platform once you login to the course. You have to be registered and have the login information to access it.

  • Can I download the book for my course?

    Yes, you will be able to download textbooks in pdf format for each of the four dimensions and the Design Studio once you login to the course platform.

  • Can I take more than one dimension at a time?

    At the moment you can only follow one dimension at a time, since they run at different times. If you want to join the learning community or receive feedback from tutors etc, you have to follow the pre-arranged schedule.

  • What if I have a question or concern regarding the course?

    You can get answers to questions on any course issues by simply sending an email to

  • How can I meet/find other students?

    Once you enrol on the full online course and are able to login to the virtual campus, you will see the email addresses of other students and can correspond with them about the course.

  • How can I get technical help or support with my course?

    You can get help with technical issues by simply sending an email to

  • How do I unenrol from a course?

    Cancellation of any services made a minimum of 7 days in advance before the service, course or programme starts will receive 100% refund. Cancellations between 7 to 0 days prior to the start will receive a 75% refund. Cancellations made during the first week after the registered course or programme start will be refunded up to 50%. There are no refunds after the first week of the course, but you can pause your inscription and continue in the next edition of the same course, according to our Refund, cancellation and postponement policy.

  • Can I re-take the course?

    In case you wish to postpone your participation, you need to communicate with us at by maximum mid point of the course (usually fourth week). If you don’t communicate or you do so after mid point, you may need to pay admin fees (10% of the course price).

    If no communication has occurred during the time of the course, the participant has not logged in or has not submitted work, or the communication came after midpoint (usually the fourth week), you may still be able to retake the course by requesting to be re-registered and paying 25% of the cost of the course (when taking the course the following year). You may need to pay full amount if you come back to take the course more than a year after the first registration.

  • Will the same courses be offered again in the future?

    Yes. The same cycle of course dimensions will be offered again the following year. You have two years to complete the course for a certificate, but you can only take the Design Studio portion once you have completed all requirements for the four dimensions (Social, Ecological, Economic and Worldview).

  • I am interested but the course has already started. Can I still enrol?

    You can join a dimension once it has started, but you should be aware that you will be expected to complete all assignments and catch up to the course schedule in a reasonable time to be arranged with your dimension’s facilitators.

Certificates and Credits

  • What types of certificates does GEDS offer?

    GEDS offers certificates of achievement stating completion of 400 hours of study and of meeting all course requirements. Certificates are earned by successfully completing a series of requirements in each dimension and submitting a final group design project.

  • How do I audit a course?

    You have the option to audit the course without receiving a certificate. This option is offered at a reduced fee and has the same access to all areas, but you are not expected to contribute to the course unfolding and will not receive feedback from the facilitator.

  • I originally signed up to audit a course. How can I upgrade to the certificate track?

    You can upgrade to the certificate track by paying the difference in cost and committing to complete all requirements for the certificate.

  • Will my certificate include a grade and/or number of credit hours?

    Gaia Education does not issue grades for its GEDS courses. The GEDS is only offered on a pass/fail basis.

  • What if something (like illness or computer problems) prevents me from passing my course?

    Special cases will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

  • Can I get a paper copy of my certificate?

    You will be sent a digital certificate that you can print if desired.

Online Account Questions

  • Can I change my username and password?

    You cannot change your username and password on your own. In justified cases we may change these for you, but this practice is not encouraged as Gaia Education needs to have access to your registration and account in order to manage enrolment.

  • What if I forget my password?

    We can send the information to your email address upon request.

  • Can I delete my account?

    If you wish to delete your account please let us know and we will take care of it. Send a message to

More Information

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