CCOG for ESR 298 archive revision 298

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Effective Term:
Summer 2014 through Winter 2016

Course Number:
ESR 298
Course Title:
Special Topics: Environmental Science
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Covers special topics, activities or projects in an area of environmental science not usually covered in depth in other environmental science courses. 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

ESR 298 students will be able to any subset of the following:

  • 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

  • analyze their individual thinking and learning styles and how their styles can be integrated with methods used in science;

  • discover and investigate major themes in ESR;

  • apply scientific principles and generalizations to novel problems;

  • practice application of scientific information in their lives (personal, work, and career);

  • develop informed positions or opinions on contemporary issues;

  • practice communication skills;

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;

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. Other aspects of environmental science
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

  • Think critically

  • 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