MSU Extension launches new Citizen Planner Online

Self-paced, completely redesigned, and more engaging than ever.

Local officials have a responsibility to help their communities manage the impacts of economic change and be part of the solutions to challenges their communities face. Local communities that proactively plan to succeed in the New Economy can improve their quality of life and overall sustainability. The Citizen Planner Program empowers local officials to shape the future of their communities by providing them with the tools and education they need to lead.

The Citizen Planner Program covers the fundamentals of planning and zoning and best practices in the areas of community and economic development. For more than 10 years, the Citizen Planner Program has been offered in a classroom format, as well as online, providing busy volunteers and professionals another means to learn. In 2017, Michigan State University Extension launched a completely redesigned Citizen Planner Online course based on the latest approaches to online learning. The new program includes interactive online activities, videos and an extensive set of downloadable supplementary resource materials to engage participants. The new Citizen Planner Online is a self-paced course that conveys concepts through stories about issues unfolding in a fictitious community called Spartyville. The situations Spartyville planning officials face are similar to those many communities must address. The online series of seasons and episodes follows a creative storyline to engage learners along the way.

Overall, participants enjoy how the Spartyville stories provide real-world context to the activities and information presented and found the downloadable factsheets and reference materials essential information to bring to their regular community meetings.

The Citizen Planner Program is intended for local appointed and elected officials, zoning administrators and interested citizens. Upon course completion, a certificate is awarded by Michigan State University Extension. Interested individuals should visit the Citizen Planner Program homepage to learn more and register.

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