Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ESR 171
Course Title:
Environmental Science: Biological Perspectives
Credit Hours:
4
Lecture Hours:
30
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
30
Special Fee:
$12.00

Course Description

Covers environmental topics that are primarily biological in nature. Includes human population issues, matter and energy resources, ecosystems, environmental ethics, and food and land resources. The associated laboratories will illustrate these topics and may include fieldwork. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Fieldwork Statement:

Fieldwork is a professional competence in many areas of Environmental Studies. Standard field practices include measurements of abiotic and biotic components in a variety of environmental conditions and habitat types. Fieldwork includes use of all the senses to make observations in natural and built environments. Field training may include developing skills in site characterization, application of key terms and concepts, species identification, and measurement and data collection using appropriate equipment. Fieldwork may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, off-trail work with map & compass, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel, stress, etc.).

Evolution Statement:

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Science Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences. Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.

The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

Science (ESR) instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

Intended Outcomes for the course

 Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Express graphically, orally or in writing, basic elements and functions of ecosystems.
  • Identify and express interactions of humans and the environment.
  • Utilize field and laboratory methods and technologies to measure and describe ecosystems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ecosystem functioning and human effects upon ecosystems.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Tasks:
Written assessments:

  • Essay, short and multiple choice exams.
  • Write-ups of field and laboratory experiences.
  • Research paper on environmental topic
  • Journal: self-assessment and exploration of topics
  • Oral presentations with accompanying Visual/graphical representations
  • Concept Maps
  • Graphs
  • Maps

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Concepts and Themes:

  • Energy flow and matter transformation within biologic systems
  • Carbon cycle
  • Fundamentals of ecosystems
  • Human Impacts on biologic systems

Process Skills (Competency skills):

  • Relate scientific concepts to local and regional issues.
  • Understand the sources of scientific uncertainty.
  • Locate and access information from non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies.
  • Think critically.
  • Collaborate with peers -- Work effectively in groups.
  • Present conclusions with scientific rigor.