The Stories We Live By

a free online course in ecolinguistics

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WELCOME: Thank you for registering for The Stories We Live By: a free online course in ecolinguistics. You are now a member of this learning community.


THE INTERACTIVE SITE: As a member, you have access to the interactive site where you can find additional materials and discussion groups, and can apply for a certificate. The site uses the educational platform wikispaces, and you will need to sign up for a free account.


NEXT STEP: Sign up for wikispaces by clicking the red box on the right. It's a very easy process, just click "Create a new Wikispaces account", make up a user name and password, and you will go straight to the course.


FREE: Everything about this course is free, including access to all materials and the certificate. You are also free to reuse materials for any purpose.  


CONTACT: If you have any problems signing into the interactive site please contact the membership officer by emailing


Spread the word: please like the course on Facebook, tweet about it or mention it in your blog to help others discover ecolinguistics.

Members page



How do I get going with the course? You’ll need a password for Wikispaces which is the educational platform that hosts the course. Like everything else in the course, this is free and you’ll find instructions above. It just takes a couple of minutes. Then you can work through each part at your own pace.  


Why Wikispaces? Wikispaces is great because it allows us to put up all the course materials and keep adding new ones when we find them. And it allows the participants in the course to add materials and contribute to discussions. Already Robert Poole from Texas A&M University has added a very useful new section on corpus linguistics, and Mai Kuha from Ball State University has added an exercise on pronoun use.


Why is the course free? It’s free because ecolinguistics is important for the world – it gets to the heart of the issues we face by questioning the stories we live by and contributing to the search for new stories we live by. It can only have an impact if a lot of people use it, so an open-access course is way of getting as many people as possible skilled in ecolinguistic analysis. It’s also free because a lot of people have volunteered their time putting it together without any kind of payment. And it’s free because the University of Gloucestershire paid for the filming and website and allowed me to share my teaching materials.


Do I need to buy the textbook that the course is based on?  No. There are enough notes, PowerPoints, readings and exercises provided to complete the course without the textbook. The book is just useful for extra background reading if you’d like to explore the topics in more depth. Perhaps you could ask your library to get a copy so that you and others can have access to it. There is also a full bibliography with other books and papers to explore on the Wikispaces site.  


Is free tuition available?  Yes. There are volunteer tutors from the International Ecolinguistics Association who can answer questions, discuss ideas, and give brief comments on exercises. The tutors can answer questions in a range of different languages. A list of tutors is available on the Wikispaces site. However, the amount of tuition that is available will depend on how many tutors there are and how much time they are able to put into the tutoring.


How is the course assessed? To receive a (free) certificate of successful completion you will need to fill out a form which shows how you’ve engaged with the course and includes a reflection on the impact of ecolinguistics on your work and life. The form is available on the Wikispaces site. Your form will be read by a tutor and you will receive a certificate of successful completion if you’ve given enough information to show that you have engaged with and completed the course. If there’s not enough information you will be asked to engage with the course a bit more and resubmit the form. The certificate does not carry any academic credit, but can still be put on a CV or mentioned if applying for a job or research funding. You can write the form in any language and we will ensure it is read by someone who speaks the language or is translated (perhaps electronically if we can’t find a translator).


Can I use the materials in my class, or share them on my blog or on Facebook? Yes, please do make use of the materials in any way that you want. The more they are used and shared the more people will get skilled at ecolinguistic analysis.


Do the PowerPoints have explanations? Yes, there’s a full script that goes along with the slides. To view it, click ‘view notes’ on the bottom right of PowerPoint Online, or download the file and you’ll see the notes under each slide.


How do I download files? We use Office Online for viewing files because it means that we can update them easily. To download a file, view it in Office Online, then click the three dots ‘…’ in the top menu on the right. ‘Download’ should appear in the drop-down menu.


How do I edit/delete posts in discussions? Unfortunately, Wikispaces doesn’t have a function to edit or delete posts. If you’ve made a mistake then just type the message again and a moderator will delete the first one in a day or two for you. Or add a post ‘please delete previous post’ and we’ll do it for you. If you can’t wait then please email and we’ll delete it as soon as we pick up the email.


How do I quit the course? Actually, this isn’t a frequently asked question, but someone might ask it one day. Just email at any time and we’ll take you off this mailing list. And you can close your Wikispaces account by clicking on your name in the top right, then ‘account’, and ‘delete your account’. If you do leave then we’d thank you for joining us and hope that you found something valuable from the course.


How can I study ecolinguistics at university? The BA English at the University of Gloucestershire includes two modules on ecolinguistics, and ecolinguistics is a theme that runs through several other modules. The University also offers an MA by research and PhD degree in ecolinguistics. There are also a growing number of universities around the world that include ecolinguistics in their linguistic degrees, and offer PhD degrees. The International Ecolinguistics Association is compiling a list of these universities which will be ready later this summer.  


Who do I contact if I have any questions? For questions about the content of the course (e.g., ‘what’s the difference between framing and metaphor?’) you will need to get in touch with one of the tutors. A list will be available after the course launches. If you have questions about accessing the course (e.g., you can’t log into Wikispaces) then please contact the membership officer If there is some kind of error in the course materials then please contact me, Arran Stibbe (, although if the error is on Wikispaces then you can correct it yourself.


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