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Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

BIOL 115L: *Intro To Environ Science Lab

Course Description

Laboratory experiences to complement BIOL/ENVS 115. 

You are required to purchase an at-home lab kit. Readings for this course are provided under the course Content. In addition, access to a digital camera is required for submitting photos electronically to the instructor. Cross-listed as BIOL 115L and ENVS 115L.

Prerequisite: BIOL/ENVS 115 or concurrent enrollment. BIOL/ENVS 115 must be taken as a co-requisite or completed before BIOL/ENVS 115L can be used as General Education credit. G.E.

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

You are required to order an at-home Lab Kit. Kits may be purchased from MBS Direct. In addition, you are responsible for gathering weekly supplies for labs. These will be readily available at your local supermarket.

Important! Please do not order your Lab Kit until you are certain you will take this course. Lab Kits, if eligible for a refund, may be returned for refund only under very strict conditions, within only two (2) weeks of receipt. So, please do not order your Lab Kit until you are committed to taking this course!

MBS Information

The Lab Kit for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

Welcome to BIOL 115L Environmental Science Laboratory online! This course will introduce you to hands-on approaches for studying basic laboratory techniques, population growth, soils and agriculture, microbiomes, climate changes and acid rain, water as a resource, and how humans interact with their environment.

Each week we will focus on different issues and concepts relating to the environment through our at-home laboratory kit, with additional online activities and discussions that will reinforce and expand on lab content. Hopefully, when this class is finished, you will have a good basic understanding of environmental science and our impact on the environment.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate basic laboratory techniques of experimentation and measurement in environmental science.
  2. Write a comprehensive laboratory report using primary literature pertaining to a project applying the scientific method.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 468-520 90-100%
B 416-467 80-89%
C 364-415 70-79%
D 312-363 60-69%
F 0-311 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Lab Discussions (16) 160 31%
Lab Assignments (26) 310 60%
Lab 3: Full Lab Report 25 5%
Research Paper: Endangered Species 25 5%
Total 520 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion -- Thursday
Discussion 1: Home Laboratory 10
Lab 1: Lab Safety Agreement 10
Lab 1: Lab Kit Contents List 10
Lab 1: Photo Set 5
Lab 2: Prelab Hazard Assessment 5 Saturday
Lab 2: Lab Report Assistant 20 Sunday
Discussion 2: Lab 2 Post Lab Reflection 10
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Lab 3: Prelab Hazard Assessment 5 Wednesday
Lab 3: Lab Report Assistant 20 Thursday
Lab 3: Photo Set 5
Discussion 3: Lab 3 Post Lab Reflection 10
Lab 4: Lab Report Assistant 20 Sunday
Discussion 4: Lab 4 Post Lab Reflection 10
Discussion 5: Human Population Growth 10
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Lab 5: Prelab Hazard Assessment 5 Thursday
Lab 5: Lab Report Assistant 20
Lab 5: Photo Set 5
Discussion 6: Lab 5 Post Lab Reflection 10
Agroforestry Case Study 15 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Lab 6: Lab Report Assistant 20 Thursday
Lab 6: Photo Set 5
Discussion 7: Lab 6 Post Lab Reflection 10
Lab 7: Lab Report Assistant 20 Sunday
Lab 7: Photo Set 5
Discussion 8: Lab 7 Post Lab Reflection 10
Lab 3: Full Lab Report 25
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Lab 8: Lab Report Assistant 20 Thursday
Discussion 9: Climate Change 10
Discussion 10: Lab 8 Post Lab Reflection 10
Lab 9: Prelab Hazard Assessment 5 Saturday
Lab 9: Lab Report Assistant 20 Sunday
Lab 9: Photo Set 5
Discussion 11: Lab 9 Post Lab Reflection 10
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12: Water 10 Sunday
Lab 10: Lab Report Assistant 20
Lab 10: Photo Set 5
Discussion 13: Lab 10 Post Lab Reflection 10
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14: Endangered Species 10 Sunday
Endangered Species Photo Set 5
Research Paper: Endangered Species 25
ESA questions 15
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15: Carbon Footprint 10 Friday
Lab 11: Lab Report Assistant 20
Discussion 16: Lab 11 Post Lab Reflection 10
Total Points 520

Assignment Overview

Readings

There are readings each week in the course Content area, and especially in the Instructional Materials, that should be completed prior to submitting assignments or weekly discussion postings. All graded assignments will rely on information derived from the readings and online research. During weeks when two labs will be completed, the first lab will be conducted Monday through Thursday, and the second lab will be conducted Thursday through Sunday. Check the Schedule of Due Dates for specific due dates of quizzes, assignments, and discussion questions.


Activities

There will be weekly class activities and/or lab activities associated with preparing for course assignments and conducting the labs. Please complete the class and lab activities as indicated for each week.


Lab Assignments

Lab Assignments must be completed and posted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course by the due dates given each week. The criteria are detailed in the Assignment Expectations section of the Content area in the course. Lab Assignment descriptions are as follows:

Lab Report Assistants are required for most labs. For each week requiring this assignment, you will find a Lab Report Assistant template. This report basically includes all the questions and tables that you should fill out as you work your way through the lab. As you complete the lab, fill out these questions, data tables, graphs, etc. Each Lab Report Assistant should be submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox no later than the assigned due date.

Photo Sets: Photo documentation is required for certain steps of most labs. Required photos include documenting various steps of the experiments, hand-drawn observations, or personal observations. Digital photos should be pasted into a Word document, and grouped together on a single page for each lab. In the Start Here section of the course Content area, you will find a Lab Resources section that includes a document entitled Weekly Required Photo Documentation. This is a week-by-week list of required photos to be submitted based on each lab. The required photos that are specific steps of an experiment should be embedded directly into the Lab Report Assistant. Other required photos are to be pasted into a Word document and submitted to the appropriate Dropbox each week.

Prelab Hazard Assessments: Some labs will require a Prelab Hazard Assessment to be completed. Use the Prelab Hazard Assessment Template found under course Content. This assessment involves reviewing possible safety hazards for each lab, researching any potentially harmful chemicals using the MSDS information provided. Each Prelab Hazard Assessment should be submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox no later than the assigned due date.

Other Lab Assignments: Lab Safety Agreement, Lab Kit Contents List, ESA Questions, and Agroforestry Case Study. These Lab Assignments should be completed according to the instructions provided in the course, and then submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course by each assigned due date.



Lab 3: Full Lab Report

For Lab 3, you will have to write a standard scientific lab report. After completing this lab and collecting all data, you will write a complete lab report on the difference between commercial pH strips and homemade pH strips. A complete lab report has an introduction, a methods section, results in the form of tables or graphs, and a brief discussion of results. You will use How to Write a Lab Report as a guide.

The full lab report for Lab 3 is due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 4.


Lab Discussions

Each week your original post and peer response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT of the day mentioned in the schedule of due dates. For initial responses, a total of 6 points will be allotted only when the answers are complete, concise, and demonstrate familiarity with the readings. For responses to classmates, a total of 4 points will be allotted only when the responses are substantive and help to advance the discussion and/or our understanding of the subject. Responses pose questions or respond to questions of classmates. At least two responses for each topic are required to attain full points. Those who post early and often contribute more to the discussion than those who post the minimum number of posts just before the deadline.


Endangered Species Paper

You will have to choose one species listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S. or globally and write a paper on this species, including its name, habitat, current threats, historical background, conservation efforts, and other important information. You will include a list of at least 3 references. You will have to use APA style of formatting. Full details of this paper are available in the course Content area.

The paper should be 2-3 pages in length, double-spaced, using 12-point, Times New Roman font, normal 1-inch margins, in Word format (.doc, .docx, or .rtf). All references to sources are cited appropriately. Do not plagiarize internet or other source information - the paper should be written in your own words. All papers will be reviewed for originality through Turnitin.com. Papers with content matches greater than 20% will not be accepted. Your paper should be submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox no later than the 11:59 p.m. Sunday of Week 7.



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Setting up a Safe Lab; Laboratory Techniques and Measurements
Introduction Discussion

Introduce yourself to the class, beyond your name give us some interesting facts about yourself and describe any relationship or association that you have had or currently have with respect to the Environmental Science Laboratory.

Lab 1 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. How to read an MSDS - Hands-On Labs (HOL)

2. Introduction to Lab Equipment and Techniques - HOL

3. Lab 1 Instructor notes and slideshow

Discussion 1: Home Laboratory
  • Describe your home laboratory.
  • Why did you choose this area?
  • What are the potential problems with using this area?
  • How might you resolve those problems?
Lab 1: Lab Safety Agreement

Read the safety agreement and sign, signifying your understanding of lab safety.

Lab 1: Lab Kit Contents List

As you unpack your kit, check off each item from the Contents lists to ensure your kit is complete.

Lab 1: Photo Set

Submit the required photos for this lab.

Lab 2 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. Lab 2 Instructor notes and slideshow

2. Lab Techniques and Measurements - HOL

Lab 2: Prelab Hazard Assessment

Review the readings for this lab and identify the chemical and physical hazards associated with the lab. Complete the prelab hazard assessment report, including information from the Safety Data Sheet and the necessary personal protective equipment.

Lab 2: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Discussion 2: Lab 2 Post Lab Reflection
  • For Lab 2, what worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Week 2: Water, pH and Buffers; Population Ecology
Lab 3 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. Water, pH, and Buffers - HOL

2. Lab 3 Instructor notes and slideshow

3. Writing Lab Reports - HOL

Lab 3: Prelab Hazard Assessment

Review the readings for this lab and identify the chemical and physical hazards associated with the lab. Complete the prelab hazard assessment report, including information from the Safety Data Sheet and the necessary personal protective equipment.

Lab 3: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Lab 3: Photo Set

Submit the required photos for this lab.

Discussion 3: Lab 3 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?.
Lab 4 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. ESA Basics (PDF)

2. Lab 4 Instructor notes

3. Population Ecology - HOL

Lab 4: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Discussion 4: Lab 4 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Discussion 5: Human Population Growth

View the BBC video clip Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

  • Discuss your opinion of human population growth, wealth, and current trends in the growth and health of the human population on Earth.
Lab 3: Full Lab Report Reminder

The Water, pH, and Buffers lab report is due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 4.

Week 3: Properties of Soils; Agroforestry Case Study
Lab 5 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. Properties of Soils - HOL

2. Lab 5 Instructor notes and slideshow

Lab 5: Prelab Hazard Assessment

Review the readings for this lab and identify the chemical and physical hazards associated with the lab. Complete the prelab hazard assessment report, including information from the Safety Data Sheet and the necessary personal protective equipment.

Lab 5: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Lab 5: Photo Set

Submit the required photos for this lab.

Discussion 6: Lab 5 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Agroforestry Case Study

This case study consists of informational paragraphs on the topic of agroforestry and ethical consumerism, followed by discussion questions. Answer all the questions after each section.

Week 4: Biomes, Ecosystems, and Habitats; Food Web
Lab 6 Readings

 All Instructional Materials

1. Biomes, Ecosystems and Habitats - HOL

2. Lab 6 Instructor notes and slideshow

3. Online field guides to weeks, birds, mammals, and trees

Lab 6: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Lab 6: Photo Set
Submit the required photos for this lab.
Discussion 7: Lab 6 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Lab 7 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. The Food Web - HOL

2. Lab 7 Instructor notes and slideshow

Lab 7: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Lab 7: Photo Set

Submit the required photos for this lab.

Discussion 8: Lab 7 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Lab 3: Full Lab Report

The Water, pH, and Buffers lab report is due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 5: Climate Change and the Scientific Method; Acid Rain
Lab 8 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. Climate Change and the Scientific Method - HOL

2. Lab 8 Instructor notes

Lab 8: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Discussion 9: Climate Change
Climate change continues to be a controversial political topic. Discuss your opinions on this issue, including what you consider to be trusted sources of information on the topic.
Discussion 10: Lab 8 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Lab 9 Readings

 All Instructional Materials

1. Acid Rain - HOL

2. Lab 9 Instructor notes and video

Lab 9: Prelab Hazard Assessment

Review the readings for this lab and identify the chemical and physical hazards associated with the lab. Complete the prelab hazard assessment report, including information from the Safety Data Sheet and the necessary personal protective equipment.

Lab 9: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Lab 9: Photo Set

Submit the required photos for this lab.

Discussion 11: Lab 9 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Week 6: Seawater and Freshwater
Lab 10 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. Saltwater and Freshwater - HOL

2. Lab 10 Instructor notes

Discussion 12: Water
Where does your water come from?

  • Discuss where your local community gets its household water from, and where it goes when it leaves your home.
Lab 10: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Lab 10: Photo Set

Submit the required photos for this lab.

Discussion 13: Lab 10 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Endangered Species
Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. ESA Basics (PDF)

2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Website

Discussion 14: Endangered Species

Visit the USFWS website on endangered species.

  • Using the interactive map, choose one state and explore the information that you find there.
  • What is one of the unique species that is found over there, and what is the basic information about this species?
  • What is an example of a partnership that exists in that state related to an endangered species?
Endangered Species Photo Set

Submit a photo of your endangered species and one of its current distribution.

Research Paper: Endangered Species

After reviewing the information on endangered species, you will have to choose one species listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S. or globally and write a 2-3 page paper on this species, including its name, habitat, current threats, historical background, conservation efforts, and other important information.

ESA questions

Answer the endangered species questions.

Week 8: Carbon Footprint and Sustainable Living
Lab 11 Readings

All Instructional Materials 

1. Carbon Footprint and Sustainable Living - HOL

2. Final Clean-up Instructions - HOL

Discussion 15: Carbon Footprint
  • Using one of the ecological footprints discussed in the first exercise of the lab, discuss your personal carbon footprint.
  • What about your lifestyle contributes the most towards your footprint?
  • How could you change your footprint for the better?
Lab 11: Lab Report Assistant

After completing this lab, complete the data tables and answer all the questions in the Lab Report Assistant.

Discussion 16: Lab 11 Post Lab Reflection
  • What worked?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this again?
  • What insights did you gain?


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. No late work is accepted.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


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