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Environmental Science 1
The Human Impact on the Natural World
Course Syllabus 

InstructorOffice HoursCourse LocationCourse Objectives
Required TextbooksWeb Sites You Must VisitLearning ContractAttendance and Timeliness
Course OutlineAssignment PhilosophyAssignment SummaryDetails of Assignments
GradingSaturday MeetingsVideo AssignmentsVideo Worksheets
Writing TipsWriting Scoring GuideOral Presentation GuideAssessing Your Own Work

Details of Assignments

All assignments are to be typed (or computer generated) with one-inch margins all around and 1.5 or double-spaced. Every assignment must have a title page clearly labeling the assignment and giving your name, the class name, group number, assignment title, instructor and be stapled. Page counts DO NOT include title pages, table of contents, any attachments, or the bibliography. Papers not in this format will not be accepted. Papers that come in under the minimum page count will lose 60% of the points. ALWAYS KEEP A COPY OF YOUR ASSIGNMENTS.

You will be turning in assignments every week, but the entire Portfolio will be turned in at the end, bound and organized, with all assignments that have been graded and handed back included.

Individual Assignments

Class Participation

Your performance in class counts toward your grade. Coming to class with assignments prepared, participating in class discussions and in-class group exercises, and arriving on time all count towards these points. If you miss a class session, you will loose points. If you arrive late, you will loose points. In class discussions, the student is expected to back up their arguments with citations from outside sources. We will all be expected to hold ourselves accountable for our information and opinions.

Short Answer Assignments

At the end of each chapter are questions called "Discussion Questions." I have selected certain questions for you to answer. Your answers must be typed and be two or three paragraphs long. All assignments should have a cover page that clearly identifies the assignment, the class, and your name.

1-Page Assignments

Certain Discussion Questions at the end of the Biosphere 2000 book have been selected for you to write a one-page response. This is not easy. Think each question through carefully, do some outlining, and carefully craft a coherent, well-reasoned answer. DO NOT JUST START WRITING AND STOP WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF ROOM! Think about what you want to say in the small amount of space required.


Three times during the course, a 4-6 page essay on an assigned topic will be due (Class #3, #5, #7). Each essay must be in the form of a research paper. Each must be well organized with in-text citations and a bibliography. The essays are NOT reaction papers. Your personal views are welcomed, but they must be supported by information from your sources. You must also present background information on each issue. IMPORTANT: You are not required to do any library research in order to answer the questions, since there will be enough information contained in your textbook, course notes, and lecture discussions (you may, if you wish).

  1. Mini Paper #1 (DUE CLASS #3): Using the chart on page 65 of Biosphere 2000, describe the "law of tolerances" and relate it to the difficulty we seem to have in our culture enacting meaningful environmental legislation. We allow businesses to pollute the earth, air, water, and our health is constantly challenged. How does this law relate to all this. Cite specific examples from your readings and personal observations.
  2. Mini Paper #2 (DUE CLASS #5): Refute the statement: "All of our environmental problems are caused by overpopulation, particularly in the developing countries." Relate resource use to environmental degradation. Cite specific examples and use your observations of the class structure of Southern California to illustrate your points.
  3. Mini Paper #3 (DUE CLASS #7): Explore the relationship between the roles and status of women in the world and environmental issues. Also what impact has our concept of personal boundaries, as defined by Chellis Glendinning on p. 26 of "My Name Is Chellis . . ." had on our environmental and social dilemmas? How would our world be different if we had boundaries like the nature-based peoples she describes?

Final Paper

Take all three mini papers and integrate them together into one paper with three chapters. Make any corrections you need to based on the instructorís comments or any change in your thinking or knowledge. Have one table of contents and one bibliography for the entire work. Make sure that the pieces fit together. For example, you may need to change the conclusion of paper #1 and the introduction of paper #2 to make them fit as chapters of the same work. You may need to add some paragraphs to make the work cohesive.

Paper Outlines

The week before a Mini Paper is due, you must bring an outline of the paper to class for discussion. The outline must be in the format specified by the instructor in the first class meeting.

Video Reviews

For each video you watch, the worksheet for that video must be turned in at the next class session along with a 1-2 page summary.

Student Self Assessment and Performance Justification

Reflect on your learning in this class and the impact it has had on you. In this writing, "make a case" for what kind of grade you should receive (See the GRADING POLICIES at the course website for specific ideas). Use the criteria specified in the class and cite specific evidence from your work during the quarter to support your claims. Reflect on how the class affected your learning and what you got out of the experience. Discuss the modes of learning (lecture, discussion, field trips, independent field trips) and how they worked (or didnít work) for you. This is an important opportunity to put the time you spent and all the hard work you did into perspective. Remember, you came back to school to satisfy a desire in you. Always take the time to reflect on the relevancy and value of your educational experiences. This should be whatever length you want it to me, but no less than 2-3 pages. INCLUDE THIS AT THE END OF YOUR FINAL PAPER.

Saturday Workshop Reports

While on the Saturday workshops and field trips, you will fill out the worksheets that follow in this syllabus. You will then use that data you have collected to write a 2-3 page summary report of the Saturday experience. Attach your field trip worksheet to the Field Trip Report.

Integration with Speech 104

It takes more than knowledge to address environmental and social issues and to effect positive change. One must have excellent communication skills and be able to articulate one's concerns to a variety of people. Your assignments for Speech 104 will involve developing communication strategies to voice your opinions about various issues to different levels of government and private organizations.

Video Component

You are required to view instructional videos each week and document the learning you achieved. Below is a summary of the programs. Bring 2-VHS tapes to the Learning Resource Center and they will copy the programs for you for a charge of $10 ($5 per tape you bring in). Worksheets for each video follow that you should fill out while watching each program. The insights and thoughts you collect on these sheets will be used to write the 1-2 page video review you will turn in each week. Attach the worksheet to your review. The worksheets can be handwritten, but the video review must be typed. You must also complete the PACE Video Log found in this syllabus, to be turned in at the end of the course. THE INSTRUCTORS WEB SITE HAS COMPLETE INFORMATION AND LINKS FOR EACH VIDEO. VISIT IT PRIOR TO WRITING UP YOUR REVIEW.

STUDY TIP: Watch the videos together with your group if you can arrange it. Discuss the film afterward and finish your Video Worksheets during the discussion.


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Copyright (c) 1999, Jackie A. Giuliano Ph.D.