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Online classes

Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

ENVS 332: *Environmental Ethics

Course Description

Investigation and discussion of ethical issues that concern the environment. Emphasis will be on recognition of moral problems and their resolution. Cross-listed as ENVS 332 and PHIL 332.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Light, Andrew & Rolston III, Holmes. (2003). Environmental Ethics: An Anthology.Blackwell Publishers.
    • [ISBN-978-0-631-22294-1]

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

We will begin our course on environmental ethics with an introduction to the field, a study of important technical terminology, and an analysis of the elements of constructing an environmental ethic. In the weeks that follow we will discuss numerous philosophical approaches for thinking about our moral obligations to the natural world. Specifically we will study:

  • Animal ethics
  • Nature Restoration and Wilderness Preservation
  • Human Social Issues and Environmental Values
  • Sustaining Nature
  • Contemporary Environmental Ethics Issues 


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 understand the philosophical issues and problems in the environmental ethics.
  • To become familiar with various attempts to deal with ethical issues concerning the environment.
  • To evaluate approaches to environmental ethics in order to formulate a personal approach that is coherent and defensible.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Read contemporary philosophical prose for critical understanding.
  • Describe and explain the issues and basic approaches to environmental ethics.
  • Formalize sophisticated philosophical arguments.
  • Identify problems and weaknesses in the basic approaches to environmental ethics.
  • Analyze and provide criticism of sophisticated philosophical arguments found in environmental ethics.
  • Formally present possible solutions to problems founding environmental ethics.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 450-500 90-100%
B 400-449 80-89%
C 350-399 70-79%
D 300-349 60-69%
F 0-299 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion 50 10%
Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment 50 10%
Reading Guide Questions 200 40%
Quizzes 50 10%
Final Exam 150 30%
Total 500 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion: Personal Introduction - Sunday
Discussion Topic 1 10
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Reading Guide Question 1 40 Sunday
Quiz 1 10
Proctor Information N/A
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment, Part I 20 Sunday
Discussion Topic 2 10
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Reading Guide Question 2 40 Sunday
Discussion Topic 3 10
Quiz 2 10
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Reading Guide Question 3 40 Sunday
Discussion Topic 4 10
Quiz 3 10
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Reading Guide Question 4 40 Sunday
Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment, Part II 10
Quiz 4 10
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Reading Guide Question 5 40 Sunday
Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment, Part III 20
Quiz 5 10
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic 5 10 Saturday
Final Exam 150
Total Points 500

Assignment Overview

Reading Assignments

Weeks 2 and 4-7 you will have assigned reading.  All readings (unless otherwise stated) are from your text, Environmental Ethics: An Anthology.

Multimedia Learning

Some weeks, there will be multimedia activities available for you to view, which will help further your understanding of the course material.

Discussion

Week 1, you will post a short personal introduction about yourself and your interests in environmental ethics.  During Weeks 1, 3-5 and 8 you will be asked to respond to a Discussion topic that focuses on the material we have learned and/or a video you will view. Complete instructions can be found in the “Discussion Post Guidelines,” available in the Content area of the course.  Please carefully follow the guidelines to respond to each Discussion topic and respond to at least one of your fellow classmate’s posts.

Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment - Parts I, II and III

This assignment has three parts. During Week 3 you will complete Part I by selecting a recent online article that focuses on a current issue in the field of environmental ethics, and then summarizing the article and posing an ethical question about the issue. In Week 6 you will complete Part II by responding to two of your classmates’ “Part I” posts, helping them think about the answer to the question they posed in Part I.  Then, in Week 7 you will complete Part III by answering the question you posed during Part I. Complete instructions on how to complete this assignment will be available in the Content area.

Reading Guide Questions

Weeks 2 and 4-7 you will be given a reading guide containing roughly 25 questions designed to improve your ability to work through and analyze the assigned reading for the week.  You should answer all of the questions, as many of these will be asked on your final, but you only need to post an answer to one question for a grade each week.  This question will be assigned to you and your last name will appear next to it.  The Reading Guide Questions will be located in the corresponding weekly module in the Content area of the course. Post the answer to your assigned question in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area of the course. Your post for each week should take the form of a polished, mini-essay of no less than 250 words and demonstrate a serious attempt to understand and critically evaluate the material. Please see the “Guidelines for Reading Guide Questions” located in the Content area of the course for expectations and grading criteria for this assignment.

Quizzes

Weeks 2 and 4-7 you will have a short, 5 question, multiple-choice quiz that covers that week’s reading assignment.  These are open book and open note.  You have 30 minutes to take each quiz.  Each quiz is accessible through the Quizzes area anytime from Monday through midnight the following Sunday during the week it is assigned. 

Final Exam

Week 8 you will have a proctored Final Exam.  This exam will be comprehensive and based on the material in Reading Guides 1-5.  It will be multiple choice and closed book, with no notes or outside sources permitted.  The exam consists of 75 questions, worth 2 points each, for a total of 150 possible points (30% of your final grade). You will have 2 hours to complete the exam.  The Final Exam is accessible through the Quizzes area of the course any time from Tuesday through midnight Saturday of Week 8. Please see the Proctor Information section below.

Note: In this course, any plagiarized or recycled work will receive no credit. You are required to complete the Plagiarism Tutorial in the Content area of the course and be informed about what constitutes plagiarism. 



Course Outline

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

Week 1: Introduction to Ethical Theory
Multimedia Learning
  • Listen to the “An Introduction to Environmental Ethics” lecture in Week 1 of the Content area. Please post any questions or thoughts you have about the lecture in the corresponding topic in the Discussions area.
  • Watch the video “Paul Root Wolpe: It's time to question bio-engineering” located in Week 1 of the Content area. 
Discussion: Personal Introduction

Post your personal introduction in the Discussions area.

Discussion Topic 1

After viewing the video, “Paul Root Wolpe: It's time to question bio-engineering” read through the article “Guidelines for Discussion Posts” in the Week 1 Content area.  Please participate in a discussion about this video in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area.

Week 2: Influential Ethical Ideas
Readings
  • “Introduction: Ethics and Environmental Ethics,” (pp. 1-11)
  • “Is There a Need for a New, an Environmental, Ethic?” (pp. 47-52) 
Reading Guide Question 1

Read through Reading Guide 1: “Introduction to Environmental Ethics.” Attempt to answer all the questions on the reading guide.  Post the answer to your assigned question in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area. 

Quiz 1

Take Quiz 1 on the assigned reading.

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: Current Events in Environmental Ethics
Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment, Part I

Read through the “Current Environmental Ethics Issue, Part I” assignment guidelines in the Content area. Please carefully follow the instructions.  You will select a recent online article that focuses on an issue relevant to the field of environmental ethics, summarize this article and pose a specific ethical question about this issue. Post this assignment to the appropriate topic in the Discussions area.

Discussion Topic 2

Please respond to one of the following:

  1. Do you think anthropocentrism is an acceptable basis for an environmental ethic? Justify your view.
  2. Routley poses the “Last Man” scenario to encourage us to think about the value of nature in non-anthropocentric terms. (See page 8 of your textbook) Do you think the last man in this scenario has committed a moral wrong? Justify your view.
  3. Do you think all living things are morally considerable? Why or why not? Justify your view. 
Week 4: The Other Animals
Readings
  • “Not For Humans Only: The Place of Nonhumans in Environmental Issues” (pp. 55-64)
  • “Animal Rights: What’s in a Name?” (pp. 65-73)
Multimedia Learning
  • Listen to the “Overview of Animal Ethics” lecture in Week 4 of the Content area.
  • Watch the video “Bjorn Lomborg Sets Global Priorities,” in Week 4 of the Content area. 
Reading Guide Question 2

Read through Reading Guide 2: “Animal Ethics.” Attempt to answer all the questions on the reading guide.  Post the answer to your assigned question in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area.

Discussion Topic 3

After viewing the video “Bjorn Lomborg sets global priorities,” please participate in a Discussion about this video in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area.

Quiz 2

Take Quiz 2 on the Assigned Reading.

Week 5: Restoration of Nature and Wilderness Preservation
Readings
  • “Faking Nature” (pp. 381-389)
  • “A Critique of and an Alternative to the Wilderness Idea” (pp. 437-443)
Multimedia Learning

Listen to the “Overview of Restoration of Nature and Wilderness Preservation” lecture in Week 5 of the Content area.

Reading Guide Question 3

Read through Reading Guide 3: “Restoration of Nature and Wilderness Preservation.”  Attempt to answer all the questions on the reading guide.  Post the answer to your assigned question in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area. 

Discussion Topic 4

Please respond to one of the following:

  1. Peter Singer argues that the ability to suffer makes a being morally considerable. Regan believes that being a “subject of a life” makes a being morally considerable. Who (if either) do you think is correct? Justify your views.
  2. Imagine that we could find a cure for all types of cancer by doing very painful, lifelong experiments on a group of 1000 healthy chimpanzees. Would this experimentation be morally justified? Justify your view, and include a reference to Singer or Regan's ideas.
  3. Singer and Regan both argue against the “speciest” view that humans are more morally significant than other beings simply because they are members of the human race. Do you agree with their arguments? Justify your view. 
Quiz 3

Take Quiz 3 on the Assigned Reading.

Week 6: Human Social Issues and Environmental Values
Readings
  • “Feeding People versus Saving Nature?” (pp. 451-462)
  • “Saving Nature, Feeding People and Ethics” (pp. 463-471)
Reading Guide Question 4

Read through Reading Guide 4: “Human Social Issues and Environmental Values.”  Attempt to answer all the questions on the reading guide.  Post the answer to your assigned question in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area.

Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment, Part II

Please read through the “Current Environmental Ethics Issue, Part II” assignment guidelines.  Following these instructions, respond to two posts by your classmates in the “Part I” topic for this assignment in Week 2 of the Discussions area. Provide a substantial response that helps your classmate think about the issue and moral question they posed in Part I.

Quiz 4

Take Quiz 4 on the Assigned Reading.

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: Sustainability and The Land Ethic
Readings
  • “The Land Ethic” (pp. 38-46)
  • “Toward a Just and Sustainable Economic Order” (pp. 359-370)
Reading Guide Question 5

Read through Reading Guide 5: “Sustainability and The Land Ethic.” Attempt to answer all the questions on the reading guide.  Post the answer to your assigned question in the Discussions area. 

Current Environmental Ethics Issue Assignment, Part III

Please read through the document “Current Environmental Ethics Issue, Part III” assignment guidelines in the Content area.  Please carefully follow the instructions. Post your assignment in the “Current Environmental Issue Response” topic in the Discussions area.

Quiz 5

Take Quiz 5 on the Assigned Reading.

Week 8: Take Your Final Exam!
Discussion Topic 5

Answer the following questions in the appropriate topic in the Discussions area:

How has this course helped you understand and think about issues in environmental ethics? Did any reading or discussion stand out as particularly helpful to you?

Final Exam

Take the Final proctored exam anytime from Tuesday until Saturday of Week 8.  The exam is comprehensive, multiple-choice, closed book and no notes. 



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 submissions are not accepted except in extreme circumstances, which must be officially documented. All requests for permission to submit work late must be made before the work is due. All unapproved late submissions will receive no credit.

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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