Course Content and Outcomes Guide for ESR 298 Effective Summer 2020
- Course Number:
- ESR 298
- Course Title:
- Independent Study: Environmental Science
- Credit Hours:
- Lecture Hours:
- Lecture/Lab Hours:
- Lab Hours:
- Special Fee:
Course DescriptionProvides an opportunity to perform research on a selected topic related to environmental science or environmental studies under the supervision of an instructor. Prerequisites: Instructor approval, and WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.
Addendum to Course Description
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 environmental sciences.
Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic 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 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 ESR 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:
Meet the outcomes or goals mutually agreed upon by the student and the instructor for this independent study course.
Discover and understand the natural history of a field site.
Use the scientific method including experimental design in the field, data collection, and presentations of results and conclusions.
Make decisions based on evidence.
Develop informed positions or opinions on contemporary issues.
Course Activities and Design
To be mutually agreed upon by student and instructor.
Outcome Assessment Strategies
Assessment Tasks may include:
scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s);
oral presentations of scientific information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results;
design and interpretation of field studies;
major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals;
scientific article critiques;
laboratory practical exams or quizzes;
environmental policy statements or briefs
Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)
Themes and Concepts may include any subset of the following:
1. The distribution and adaptations of organisms
2. Population ecology
3. Community ecology
4. Ecosystem ecology
5. Human Ecology
6. Evolution by natural selection
7. Population genetics
8. Survey of biodiversity
9. Taxonomy and the use of dichotomous keys
10. Phylogenetic reconstruction
11. Plant anatomy and ecophysiology
12. Animal anatomy and ecophysiology
13. Environmental policy issues
ESR 298 is relevant to many contemporary issues, such as, effects of pollution, how humans impact food webs and ecosystems, dwindling biodiversity, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, etc.
Competencies and Skills:
Use field and laboratory techniques and equipment, for example, run transects, use of GIS, field identification of taxa, specimen collections, etc.
Locate and access scientific information relevant to area of study
Collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups
Articulate scientific processes in written and/or oral format
Present data using the scientific format
Present conclusions logically
Read scientific literature
Apply the scientific method
Develop policy recommendations based on data