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Online classes

Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

BIOL 320: *Ecology

Course Description

Basic principles of ecology with an emphasis on the factors affecting the distribution and abundance of organisms. Cross-listed as BIOL 320 and ENVS 320.

Prerequisite: C or better in BIOL 112 or ENVS 115, and C or better in BIOL/ENVS 222

Proctored Exams: Final

Syllabus Contents



  • Molles, Jr., M.C.. (2016). Ecology: Concepts and Applications (7th). New York, New york: McGraw-Hill Publishing.
    • [ISBN-978-0-07-783728-0]

    MBS Information

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

    For additional information about the bookstore, visit

    Course Overview

    Welcome to BIOL/ENVS 320 online. This course will address the major concepts of ecology. Each chapter of your book is organized around two to five major concepts in the field of ecology. Each week we will focus on learning a number of major ecological concepts, and reinforcing these concepts through our readings in the text, Ecology: Concepts & Applications and expanded by our online discussions, assignments, and review quizzes. When you have completed this course, you will have a better understanding of the basic principles of ecology, how evolution has shaped the ecology of organisms, populations, and communities, and how humans are affecting the environment from an ecological perspective.

    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. Explain the relationship between ecology and evolution.
    2. Outline the factors that limit the distribution of organisms.
    3. Demonstrate demographic techniques for analyzing populations.
    4. Describe how species interact through competition and predation.
    5. Illustrate how communities are structured and how they change over time.
    6. Explain the basics of ecosystem structure and function including nutrient cycling.


    Grading Scale
    Grade Points Percent
    A 459-510 90-100%
    B 408-458 80-89%
    C 357-407 70-79%
    D 306-356 60-69%
    F 0-305 0-59%
    Grade Weights
    Assignment Category Points Percent
    Discussion (8) 80 16%
    Writing Assignments (8) 155 30%
    Review Quizzes (7) 175 34%
    Final Exam 100 20%
    Total 510 100%

    Schedule of Due Dates

    Week 1
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 1 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 1 15 Saturday
    Review Quiz 1 25 Sunday
    Week 2
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 2 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 2 15 Saturday
    Review Quiz 2 25 Sunday
    Proctor Information N/A
    Week 3
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 3 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 3 15 Saturday
    Review Quiz 3 25 Sunday
    Week 4
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 4 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 4 50 Saturday
    Review Quiz 4 25 Sunday
    Week 5
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 5 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 5 15 Saturday
    Review Quiz 5 25 Sunday
    Week 6
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 6 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 6 15 Saturday
    Review Quiz 6 25 Sunday
    Week 7
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 7 10 Thursday/Sunday
    Writing Assignment 7 15 Saturday
    Review Quiz 7 25 Sunday
    Week 8
    Assignment Points Due
    Discussion 8 10 Thursday/Saturday
    Writing Assignment 8 15 Saturday
    Final Exam 100
    Total Points 510

    Assignment Overview


    Weekly readings should be completed prior to submitting assignments or weekly discussion postings. All graded assignments will rely on information derived from the weekly course material or the text. All other sources must be identified (cited using APA Style). I recommend taking detailed notes on the readings.


    Each week you will have a discussion topic. Your initial discussion post is due by Thursday at 11:59 pm CT of each assigned week. You must also post two response posts by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of that same week, except for Week 8 when they are due on Saturday. Some discussions will require you to post your initial response first before letting you view the responses of others.  Each discussion is worth 10 points. If you use a source other than the textbook, you must cite it using APA in your discussion. Discussions will be graded according to the Discussion grading criteria provided in the course.

    Writing Assignments

    Each week you will have a writing assignment that must be uploaded to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course by Saturday of each assigned week. Assignments will each be graded according to the point system outlined in the course. Each written assignment will be worth 15 points, assigned on the basis of percent of completeness, correct spelling, and neatness. The exception to this is Writing Assignment 4.

    Each should have a heading that identifies your name, the course, assignment, and title. They should be typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, and 1 inch margins, and include references for material used from sources other than the course textbook (See example in D2L). 

    To receive full credit, your answers must be complete and cover all of the materials assigned for each question. Spelling and grammar are important so use your spell checker. You must answer all of the questions for weekly assignment to receive full credit. You must post your work to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course. If you do not, you will not receive credit for the assignment. Some of your assignments may require you to read ahead in the text. You should get familiar with the index of your textbook so that you can find any needed materials for each assignment.

    Review Quizzes

    There will be a review quiz each week worth 25 points. This quiz will cover all material presented that week. Each quiz will consist of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank or true-false questions, and you will have 30 minutes to complete each quiz.

    Final Exam

    There is a proctored final exam worth 100 points. This exam will consist of 70 multiple-choice, multi-select, labeling, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and true/false questions. The final exam is comprehensive. It will be available in the Quizzes area of the course during Week 8. Please see Proctor Policy for specific information about arranging your proctor. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam.

    Course Outline

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

    Week 1: Introduction to Ecology; Evolutionary Ecology (Population Genetics & Natural Selection)
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 1 and 4
    Discussion 1

    You have been hired by a natural resource agency (Congratulations!). Your new job involves developing a conservation plan for an endangered species. You are quickly finding that population genetics is important in the role of recovering the specie you are working on, and so first you need to understand a few genetic principles.

    For your discussion address the following questions: What is genetic drift? What role might genetic drift play in a reintroduction plan? If you were developing a propagation program, how would you design it to reduce the possibility of genetic drift in your captive propagation program? What is a real example of an endangered species that has been especially impacted by genetic drift? You must choose a new species - not one that another student has already discussed. Remember, in addition to your initial post, you must respond to at least two other students. You should also read the majority of posts.

    Writing Assignment 1

      Answer the following questions:

    1. What could you do to verify that the distinct feeding zones used by the warblers studied by MacArthur in Chapter 1 are the result of ongoing competition between the different species of warblers? How might you examine the role of competition in keeping some American redstarts out of the most productive feeding areas on their wintering grounds?
    2. What do the studies of Margaret Davis in Chapter 1 tell us about the composition of forests in the Appalachian Mountains during the past 12,000 years? Based on this research, what predictions might you make about the future composition of these forests?
    3. What is the Hardy-Weinberg principle? What is Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium? What conditions are required for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium?
    4. The Hardy-Weinberg equation is useful for predicting the percent of a human population that may be heterozygous carriers of recessive alleles for certain genetic diseases. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a human metabolic disorder that results in mental retardation if it is untreated in infancy. In the United States, one out of approximately 10,000 babies is born with the disorder. Approximately what percent of the population are heterozygous carriers of the recessive PKU allele?
    5. How might the distribution of beak sizes in the populations differ from that shown in the figure to the right, if mate choice in the population was random with respect to beak size? (a graphic is provided in the course for this question.)

    Review Quiz 1

    Quiz questions cover Chapters 1 and 4, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.

    Week 2: Physiological Ecology Continued (Energy and Nutrient Relations) Behavioral Ecology (Social Relations)
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 7 and 8
    Discussion 2

    In what kinds of environments would you expect to find the greatest predominance of C3, C4, or CAM plant species? How could you explain the co-occurrence of these types of plants in one area?

    Writing Assignment 2

      Answer the following questions:

    1. What kinds of animals would you expect to have type 1, 2, or 3 functional responses? How should natural selection for better prey defense affect the height of functional response curves? How should natural selection for more effective predators affect the height of the curves? What net effect should natural selection on predator and prey populations have on the height of the curves?
    2. The rivers of central Portugal have been invaded, and densely populated by the Louisiana crayfish Procambarus clarki, which looks like a freshwater lobster about 12-14 cm long. The otters of these rivers, which were studied by Graca and Ferrand de Almeida (1983), can easily catch and subdue these crayfish. Using the model for prey choice (the third formula on page 166) explain why the diets of the otters of central Portugal would shift from the highly diverse menus shown in figure 7.17, which included fish, frogs, water snakes, birds, and insects, to a diet dominated by crayfish. For the crayfish, assume low handling time, very high encounter rates, and high energy content.
    3. Packer and Pursey found that female prides are made up of closely related females that show cooperation in a number of forms: hunting, defense of their territory against other females, and group defense of the young against infanticidal males. Female cooperation can be described in terms of kin selection. When a group of males take over a pride they attempt to kill all of the young. How does this benefit the males? Please include information about genetic and social constructs.
    4. The details of experimental design are critical for determining the success or failure of both field and laboratory experiments. Results often depend on some small details. For instance, why did Jennifer Jarvis wait 1 year after establishing her laboratory colony of naked mole rats before attempting to quantify the behavior of the laboratory population? What might have been the consequence of beginning to quantify the behavior of the colony soon after it was established?
    5. Read the Investigating the Evidence feature on pages 188-189. What are the evolutionary implications of the patterns shown in figure 1?
    Review Quiz 2
    Quiz questions cover the Chapters for this week, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.
    Proctor Information
    Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
    Week 3: Population Distribution and Abundance; Population Dynamics
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 9 and 10
    Discussion 3

    Please visit the United States Fish and Wildlife Services website listing endangered species. Choose one species from each of the following categories: 1. vertebrate, 2. invertebrate and 3. plant. The information for each species may be slightly different. Look for those that have a life history description or other fairly comprehensive information. For each species you choose, read the species account and collect the following information:

    1. Status
    2. Reasons for Status
    3. Habitat Tolerance
    4. Geographic Range, and
    5. Population Levels.

    Based on Rabinowitz’s classification of commonness and rarity describe the species' geographic range, habitat tolerance and local population size. Use that information to classify each species in terms of Rarity I, Rarity II, and Extreme Rarity.

    Writing Assignment 3

      Answer the following questions:

    1. Read the Investigating the Evidence 9 on page 209. According to the results of Phillips and MacMahon, what is the approximate value of the ratio of variance in shrub density to mean shrub density (variance/mean) for young, medium-age, and older creosote bushes (see fig. 9.13)?
    2. Use the empirical relationship between size and population density observed in the studies by Damuth (1981) (see fig 9,19) and Peters and Wassenberg (1983) (see fig 9.20) to answer the following: For a given body size, which generally has the higher population density, birds or mammals? On average, which lives at lower population densities, terrestrial or aquatic invertebrates? Does an herbivorous mammal twice the size of another have on average one-half the population density of the smaller species? Less than half? More than half?
    3. Find a peer reviewed article on the life history of the decurrent false aster, Boltonia decurrens. Based on your reading, describe how the seeds of the decurrent false aster are naturally dispersed. How have humans influenced the dispersal process? How would you attempt to re-establish natural dispersal considering both biological and social issues? How would reestablishing natural dispersal patterns enhance the recovery of this Federally threatened species? Make sure to include the citation for each article used.
    4. Compare cohort and static life tables. What are the main assumptions of each? In what situations or for what organisms would it be practical to use either?
    5. Of the three survivorship curves, type III has been the least documented by empirical data. Why is that? What makes this pattern of survivorship difficult to study?
    6. What values of R0 indicate that a population is growing, stable, or declining? What values of r indicate a growing, stable, or declining population?

    Review Quiz 3
    Quiz questions cover the Chapters for this week, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.
    Week 4: Population Growth Patterns; Life Histories
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 11 and 12
    Discussion 4
    Please visit the United States Fish and Wildlife Services website listing endangered species. Carefully pick a species (don’t pick the first species you see), review the species’ life history characteristics, and determine if the species is r or K selected. Provide enough detail so that your fellow classmates can review the data and comment on your conclusions. Do not choose a species that another student has already discussed.
    Writing Assignment 4

    This week, you will read scientific journal article (Marquez-Garcia, M., Correa-Solis, M, Sallaberry, M. and M.A. Mendez. 2009. Effects of pond drying on morphological and life-history traits in the anuran Rhinella spinulosa. Evolutionary Ecology Research 11:803-815) and complete the Article Review provided.

    Review Quiz 4
    Quiz questions cover the Chapters for this week, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.
    Week 5: Competition and Exploitative Interactions (Predation, Herbivory, Parasitism, and Disease)
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 13 and 14
    Discussion 5

    Based on your understanding of the competitive exclusion principle, how can so many species of fish co-exist in the same habitats? Describe in detail (with examples) how niche separation (feeding and habitat) allows these species to co-exist.

    Writing Assignment 5

    When applying ecological concepts to practical problems, often there are trade-offs between the benefits and costs of a management decision. Review the costs and benefits of using the crayfish Procambarus clarkii for control of schistosomiasis in Kenya from reputable sources online. You will be provided with several papers to read describing the life history of Procambarus clarkii and effects its introduction has had. Based on what you have read online and in the articles, would you release crayfish to control for schistosomiasis in Africa? Discuss how a basic understanding of the “natural history” of an organism is important to understanding a species place in the ecosystem (This was discussed way back in Chapter 1).

    Review Quiz 5
    Quiz questions cover the Chapters for this week, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.
    Week 6: Species Abundance & Diversity; Species Interactions
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 16 and 17
    Discussion 6

    You were hired by a natural resource agency to run a program to restore prairie to a 10 km square area in northern Missouri. Why is the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis important to your restoration planning? What might you do to establish and maintain the highest possible plant species diversity on your prairie restoration project?

    Writing Assignment 6

      Answer the following questions:

    1. Review how the Shannon-Weiner index of species diversity is calculated. Suppose you sample an area and find the five species of forest trees listed in table 16.1 in the following proportions: 0.35, 0.25, 0.15, 0.15, and 0.10. What is the Shannon-Wiener diversity of this community, c, compared to communities a and b in Table 16.1?
    2. Read Investigating the Evidence on page 359. A complete list of species has not been determined for any area of substantial habitat anywhere on earth. Why not?
    3. Read Investigating the Evidence on page 359. Why do most surveys of species diversity focus on restricted groups of relatively well-known organisms such as plants, mammals, and butterflies?
    4. Draw a “typical” lognormal distribution. Include properly labeled horizontal (x) and vertical (y) axes. You can use the lognormal distributions included in chapter 16 as models.
    5. What are species richness and species evenness? How does each of these components of species diversity contribute to the value of the Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H')? How do species evenness and richness influence the form of rank-abundance curves?
    6. Read Investigating the Evidence 17 on page 384. Why do larger sample sizes improve the ability of a researcher to detect statistical differences between populations?
    7. Read Investigating the Evidence 17 on page 384. How would increasing the level of confidence from 0.95 to 0.99 affect the range of values included in the confidence intervals for the abundance of Neothremma alicia in the flooded and unflooded study streams?
    8. What is a keystone species? Paine (1966, 1969) experimented with two sea stars that act as keystone species in their intertidal communities along the west coast of North America and in New Zealand. Describe how the intertidal communities in these two areas are similar. Describe the differences between these two communities and the differences in the design of Paine’s experiments in these two areas.

    Review Quiz 6
    Quiz questions cover the Chapters for this week, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.
    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: Primary and Secondary Production; Nutrient Cycling & Retention
    Learning Resources
    Chapters 18 and 19
    Discussion 7

    In Chapter 17, we examined the influences of keystone species on the structure of communities. In Chapter 18, we reviewed trophic cascades. Discuss the similarities and differences between these two concepts. Compare the measurements and methods of ecologists studying keystone species versus those studying trophic cascades.

    Writing Assignment 7

      Answer the following questions:

    1. Suppose that when you add nitrogen to one-half of a lake, you observe no change in phytoplankton biomass, but when you add phosphorus to the other half of the lake, phytoplankton biomass more than doubles. What is the most likely explanation of your results?
    2. In their initial studies, leading to the trophic cascade hypothesis, Stephen Carpenter and his colleagues (1991) found a negative correlation between zooplankton size and phytoplankton primary production. What does this mean (see Investigating the Evidence 7, p. 168)? Explain.
    3. Read Investigating the Evidence 18 that starts on page 406. How would the outcome of our statistical comparison of the two Neothremma alicia populations have been affected if we had chosen a level of significance of P < 0.01 (see Appendix Table A.1 in the textbook)?
    4. M. Huston (1994b) pointed out that the well-documented pattern of increasing annual primary production from the poles to the equator is strongly influenced by the longer growing season at low latitudes. Review the data table provided in the course from table 14.10 in Huston. The data cited by Huston are from Whittaker and Likens (1975). Complete the missing data to compare the monthly production of boreal, temperate, and tropical forests. How does this short-term perspective of primary production in high-, middle-, and low-latitude forests compare to an annual perspective? How does the short-term perspective change our perception of tropical versus high-latitude forests?
    5. Read Investigating the Evidence 19 on page 423. Suppose you sample two populations for a characteristic that has a normal distribution in both populations but is much more variable in one of the populations compared to the other. In general, would it be appropriate to test for statistical differences in the characteristic in the two populations using a t-test? Explain.
    6. Suppose you sample two populations for a characteristic that has a normal distribution in both populations but is much more variable in one of the populations compared to the other. In general, would it be appropriate to test for statistical differences in the characteristic in the two populations using a t-test?
    7. McNaughton, Ruess, and Seagle (1988) proposed that grazing by large mammals increases the rate of nitrogen cycling on the savannas of East Africa. Explain how passing through a large mammal could increase the rate of breakdown of plant biomass. In chapter 18, we also saw how grazing mammals may increase the rate of primary production on the savanna. How might the disappearance of the large mammals of East Africa affect ecosystem processes on the savanna?

    Review Quiz 7
    Quiz questions cover the Chapters for this week, as well as the lecture notes. The quiz is meant to be closed-book, and will have a 30 minute time limit.
    Week 8: Succession & Stability
    Learning Resources
    Chapter 20
    Discussion 8

    In the studies of mechanisms underlying succession, ecologists have found a great deal of evidence for both facilitation and inhibition. However, they have found little evidence for the tolerance model. What is your opinion as to this lack of support for the tolerance model? Support your opinion with details.

    Writing Assignment 8

      Answer the following questions:

    1. Why do primary forest succession at Glacier Bay and secondary forest succession in the Southeastern United States occur at such different rates (compare figs. 20.2 and 20.4)?
    2. What are the primary mechanisms producing the great differences in succession rates in forests, rocky intertidal, and stream communities?
    3. As we saw in figure 20.5 in the textbook, Johnston and Odum (1956) documented substantial change in the richness of bird species in a successional sequence going from the earliest stages in which the plant community was dominated by grasses and forbs to mature oak-hickory forests. Use MacArthur’s (see chapter 16) studies (1958, 1961) of foliage height diversity and bird diversity to explain the patterns of diversity increase observed by Johnston and Odum.
    4. The successional studies in Sycamore Creek produced patterns of variation in diversity that differed significantly from those observed during primary succession at Glacier Bay (see fig. 20.2), old field succession on the Piedmont Plateau (see fig. 20.4), or algal and barnacle succession in the intertidal zone (see fig. 20.7). The main difference was that Fisher and colleagues (1982) observed initial increases in species diversity followed by declines. In contrast, studies of forest and intertidal succession showed increases in diversity but no obvious declines. What may have been responsible for these different results? How might have differences in the longevity of species contributed to the different patterns observed by researchers? (Hint: Think about what we might observe in the other communities if they were studied for a longer period of time.)
    5. When Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted in 1980, it created a gradient in disturbance. In the pumice plains near the eruption, the devastation was almost total. The extent of disturbance was much less in the farthest reaches of the blast zone. How might the rate of forest succession be related to intensity of disturbance around Mount St. Helens? Design a study to test your ideas, including a hypothetical map of the blast zone, the location of study sites, a list of the variables you would measure, a timetable for your study (assume you or your successors study the system for as long as you like), and a list of results that would support or contradict your hypothesis.

    Final Exam
    Your proctored final exam is comprehensive, and will cover all chapters studied this session. This exam will consist of 70 multiple-choice, multi-select, labeling, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and true/false questions. The exam is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

    For each chapter, review the Key Terms and Review Questions at the end of the chapter. Also, review your notes taken on each chapter. You will have 1 ½ hours to take the test; however, you can arrange to take it at any time that you like as long as it is before 11:59 pm Central Time on Saturday of Week 8. After that time, you will not be able to turn in any part of the test and will receive a zero for that test grade. No notes, books or other reference materials are allowed during the exam.

    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.


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


    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

    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 assignments will be 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.

    Proctor Policy

    Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

    Additional Resources

    Orientation for New Students

    This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

    Technical Support

    If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

    Online Tutoring

    Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

    Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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