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Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

ENVS 272: Intro To Environmental Literat

Course Description

An introduction to contemporary writings about environmental issues. Exposure to aspects of environmental crisis and policy, to recent first-person nature writing and to novels that examine various ecological visions. 

Prerequisite: ENGL 112

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required Books

  • Ponting, Clive. (2008). A New Green History of the World.Penguin.
    • [ISBN-978-0-14-303898-6]
  • Hertsgaard, Mark. (2011). Hot: Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt .
    • [ISBN-978-0-547-75041-5]
  • McPhee, John, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (1989). The Control of Nature.
    • [ISBN-978-0-374-52259-9]
  • Kolbert, Elizabeth. (2014). The Sixth Extinction.
    • [ISBN-978-1-250-06218-5]
  • Weisman, Alan. (1998). Gaviotas.Chelsea Green Press.
    • [ISBN-978-1-890132-28-6]

Required DVDs

  • An Inconvenient Truth, DVD, Al Gore/David Guggenheim 2006. ISBN: 978-1-4157-2478-1
  • Chasing Ice, DVD, James Balog, 2012.  ASIN: B00AZMFNX2

You may be able to locate the two DVDs through streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

MBS Information

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

This course offers a wide-reaching survey of different ideas and types of material on environmental issues, including a “green history,” first person reactions to nature, investigative reporters traveling and conducting in-depth interviews, religious perspectives, political and economic dilemmas and current science information.  The purpose of this survey is not to instill one point of view, but to encourage more informed thinking and decision-making about the state of the planet we live on.  This course isn’t about the specifics of science; rather, it’s about the big picture, that is, why we should be concerned and informed.  It may be a first step in our goal of environmental literacy.



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 Objectives

  • To identify a range of styles and approaches to current environmental issues.
  • To critically analyze claims and ideas.
  • To examine the emerging discipline of ecocriticism.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Apply a variety of critical approaches to environmental issues through study of a broad selection of current literature.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a broad selection of environmentalist perspectives.
  • Analyze environmental dilemmas and challenges fro multiple perspectives in current discourse.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of literary approaches to environmental concerns.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 540-600 90-100%
B 480-539 80-89%
C 420-479 70-79%
D 360-419 60-69%
F 0-359 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 200 33%
Worldwatch Report 50 8%
Essay 1 100 17%
Essay 2 150 25%
Exam 100 17%
Total 600 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 25 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Worldwatch Report 50 Saturday
Discussion 2 25 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 25 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Essay 1 100 Saturday
Discussion 4 25 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 25 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 25 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Essay 2 150 Sunday
Discussion 7 25
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 25 Saturday
Final Exam 100
Total Points 600

Assignment Overview

Discussion

Each week there will be several discussion topics, each with multiple questions.  While you are expected to make an initial post for each topic, everyone is not expected to answer all of the individual questions. These are intended to help guide the class to what is most important in the readings and films and to generate extensive discussion.  Avoid putting all your answers in one very lengthy response, as it makes your ideas harder to read online, and makes it difficult for others to respond to specific points.

These are considered discussions, not just individual homework.  Like in a classroom, dialogue with your classmates is an important way of learning.  Listening to (reading) what others have to say is equally important.  Ideally, this will go on all week, not just at the last minute on Sundays, which is like everyone waiting until the last minute of class and trying to shout everyone else down.  When evaluating your discussion posts, both the quantity and the quality of your posts will be considered.  First, everyone is expected to post a minimum of two times in each topic.

The number of postings is not the only important factor. The quality and effectiveness of postings matter as well.  Higher scores will come from postings/responses that are helpful to other students, stimulate discussion, show insight or add new, useful information.   Most students do quite well at these. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates’ posts is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.  The only exception is Week 8 when the course ends on Saturday.


Worldwatch Report

The Worldwatch Report should give what the writer finds to be useful information from the individually chosen pamphlet.  Most of the report should be a concise summary.  You need to include a brief evaluation of the information, or comment on its overall relevance at the end of the report.  This report should be 2 pages in length. 

You must submit this report to the appropriate Dropbox folder by Saturday, 11:59 pm CT during Week 2, for grading, but also in the Discussion in Week 3, so that other students can share and discuss this information.


Essays

You will submit two essays during this course.  These essays are due on Saturday of Week 4 and Sunday of Week 7.  You must submit both essays must be submitted to the appropriate Dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT of the respective week.

Essay 1

Essay 1 should explore three key concerns/insights from our course readings and films.  Why do these things concern you?  What connections do you see among these concerns?  What difficulties might you have sharing these concerns with other people? 

Essay 1 must be 3-4 pages in length, plus a Works Cited page.  Submit Essay 1 to the appropriate Dropbox folder by Saturday, 11:59 pm CT of Week 4.

Essay 2

Essay 2 should consider what you have learned about ‘the human project,’ that is, the cumulative human impact on the world, which many now have begun to call the Anthropocene.  How would you describe what we, humanity, are doing?  What problems do we face?  What are our prospects?  Utilize both Hot and The Sixth Extinction in your essay, plus other class materials that seem useful. 

Essay 2 must be 4-5 pages in length, plus a Works Cited page.  Submit Essay 2 to the appropriate Dropbox folder by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT of Week 7.


Final Exam

The Final Exam will be a non-proctored, 2-hour essay focused on evaluating how we communicate about environmental problems, how we educate, and how we fail to communicate and educate about the environment. The exam will ask you to discuss how well different course materials perform though this is not simply an exercise in what you like or dislike.  You will be deciding issues of environmental literacy.

You must submit the Final Exam by Saturday, 11:59 CT of Week 8.



Course Outline

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

Week 1:
Readings
  • Green History, Chapters 1-4
  • Access and read these through the Stafford Library databases:
  • “The Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It),” Blumstein and Saylan, 2007
  • “Gus Speth: Communicating environmental risks in an age of disinformation,” 2011
  • Hot, Prologue
  • Begin reading your Worldwatch pamphlet
Discussion 1

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Week 2:
Readings
  • Green History, Chapters 5-6
  • Control of Nature, Part I—Atchafalaya
  • Hot, Chapters 1-3
  • Watch Wes Jackson’s TED Talk (Video in Weekly Module)
Worldwatch Report

In the Week 2 module you will find links to multiple Worldwatch Reports from the past ten years.  Review the expectations for this report in the Content area, complete the report (2 pages), and submit it to the appropriate Dropbox folder by Saturday, 11:59 pm CT. 

You must also post your report to the Week 3 Discussion for your classmates to review.

Discussion 2

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Week 3:
Readings
  • Green History, Chapters 7-8
  • Hot, Chapters 4-5
  • Aldo Leopold, “Thinking like a Mountain”
  • James Rettie, “But a Watch in the Night”
  • Rick Bass, “Paradise Lost”
  • Watch An Inconvenient Truth
Discussion 3

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Week 4:
Readings
  • Green History, Chapters 9-11
  • Hot, Chapters 6
  • Control of Nature, Part II, Cooling the Lava
  • Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of the Environmental Crisis,”
  • Of Pope Francis: “If We Destroy Creation…”
  • Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change
Essay 1

Essay 1 should explore three key concerns/insights from our course readings and films.  Why do these things concern you?  What connections do you see among these concerns?  What difficulties might you have sharing these concerns with other people? 

Essay 1 must be 3-4 pages in length, plus a Works Cited page.  Submit Essay 1 to the appropriate Dropbox folder Saturday, 11:59 pm CT of Week 4.

Discussion 4

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Week 5:
Readings
  • Green History, Chapters 12-14
  • Hot, Chapters 7-9
  • Michael Pollan, “Why Bother?”
  • Food Movement Rising”
  • Interview with Gretel Erhlich
  • Sixth Extinction, Prologue, Chapters 1-2
  • Watch Chasing Ice
Discussion 5

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Week 6:
Readings
  • Green History, Chapters 15-17
  • Hot, Chapter 10 & Epilogue
  • Gaviotas, Overture & Part I
  • Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons”
  • Sixth Extinction, Chapters 3-6
Discussion 6

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

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:
Readings
  • Gaviotas, Part II
  • Sixth Extinction, Chapters 7-10
  • Control of Nature, Part III, Los Angeles Against the Mountains;
  • Gary Snyder, Practice of the Wild (Link in Weekly Module - pick and read any one essay)
  • Watch Do the Math (Video in Weekly Module)
Essay 2

Essay 2 should consider what you have learned about ‘the human project,’ that is, the cumulative human impact on the world, which many now have begun to call the Anthropocene.  How would you describe what we, humanity, are doing?  What problems do we face?  What are our prospects?  Utilize both Hot and The Sixth Extinction in your essay, plus other class materials that seem useful. 

Essay 2 must be 4-5 pages in length, plus a Works Cited page.  Submit Essay 2 to the appropriate Dropbox folder Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Discussion 7

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Week 8:
Readings
  • Gaviotas, Part III
  • Sixth Extinction, Chapters, 11-13
  • David Orr, “Environmental Literacy: Education as if the Earth Mattered”
  • Wendell Berry, “Compromise, Hell!”
Discussion 8

Discussion questions are located in the Discussion area of the course.  Make sure to address all the questions within each discussion. 

Your initial post and responses to two of your classmates is due by Sunday, 11:59 pm CT.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will be a non-proctored, 2-hour essay focused on evaluating how we communicate about environmental problems, how we educate, and how we fail to communicate and educate about the environment. The exam will ask you to discuss how well different course materials perform though this is not simply an exercise in what you like or dislike.  You will be deciding issues of environmental literacy.

You must submit the Final Exam by Saturday, 11:59 CT of Week 8.



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.

Late papers will be penalized 5% per day and may be refused entirely if more than one week overdue.

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.


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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