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This course preview outlines the details of this online course. For more information on taking this course, please send an e-mail message to our support staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. UW offices are closed on these holidays.
Welcome to ESRM100, Introduction to Environmental Science! This course provides a comprehensive overview of environmental science. By using an "earth systems" approach, we recognize society and the environment as an interrelated system. Throughout this course, we will examine environmental issues investigate realistic solutions.
ESRM100 is designed primarily as an elective to meet the University of Washington's requirements for courses in the areas of Natural World (NW) and Individuals and Society (I&S). There is no prerequisite except an interest in the environment. In this course, you will experience a broad exposure to Environmental Science, ranging from the general structure of the earth and how it works to issues like biological diversity, pollution, and global warming. Case examples range from local to global environmental issues. This is a fun course for students and the instructor, and I believe it will change your present opinion of environmental science.
By the end of this course, you will be able to
Required Reading Materials
The required textbook for this course is Essential Environmental Science by Keller and Botkin, Wiley, UW edition available in UW Bookstore, and can also be ordered online.
About the Online Environment
This is a Web-based, online course. Because enrollment takes place over several months, you may be on a different timetable than other students in your section.
Your online course offers several advantages over the traditional classroom, including the comprehensive Online Student Handbook, the ability to communicate electronically with fellow students and with your instructor, and access to an array of online resources.
Communicating with Your Instructor and Student Peers
Please read the guidelines for participating in online discussions.
You can e-mail questions and comments to your instructor. Or you can post questions to the course discussion forum. Online forums, designed by the University of Washington's award-winning Catalyst team, allow you to communicate with other currently enrolled students and with your instructor. You are encouraged to use the forums to exchange ideas, resources, and comments about your course work. Your instructor may monitor this forum and provide feedback as needed.
As an online student, you have access to a wealth of Web resources compiled by the University of Washington to provide fast, easy access to information that supports your online learning experience. Organized by subjects, the Online Resource page links you to sites with help for writing and research, study skills, language learning, and electronic library reference materials. All links have been assessed for credibility and reliability, and they are regularly monitored to ensure their usability.
Instructor Course Web PageYour instructor maintains a separate course Web page that includes relevant current events as well as materials specific to the course, such as:
One of the most important ideas you'll be introduced to in this class is the concept of "Environmental Wisdom" and its practical applications in your life. The world is an incredibly interconnected place, both by its inherent nature and by human construct. We cannot separate humans from nature, and all of our concepts of the environment for this class are formed in our human minds. I do not want to dwell on this too much, but my primary goal in this course is to allow you to approach environmental information with some useful skepticism and knowledge. Environmental "Information" is constantly bombarding us, and it is often used to try to manipulate us—often into buying something, often into supporting an issue or taking a political stand: for instance, promoting certain kinds of coffee (such as shade-grown versus sun-grown), driving an SUV through a creek to show how it can get you close to "nature." buying bamboo instead of hardwood flooring, supporting the defunct Seattle Monorail, advertising investments as "green," and the list goes on. What I hope most is that, after you take this course, you will have some of the tools to understand and critique the basis for—if not all of the actual implications—at least some of the environmental information you receive. You'll learn about how small this world really is and how we depend on disparate parts of Earth for our lives. I expect you will have a different understanding of the "environment" and "environmental science" after you take this course.
This course consists of 19 lessons associated with the book's 19 chapters, as listed below. Each lesson includes a Presenter lecture with audio, located on the My Course page. Your instructor maintains a course web site where you will find
Each online lesson relates to a chapter or a portion of a chapter in Essential Environmental Science. The online "lectures" consider the general material covered in the chapter, along with examples that are relevant and important to students at the University of Washington and residents of the Pacific Northwest.
Since an introduction to environmental science requires you to master a new vocabulary, each lesson includes a number of key terms that are important to your understanding of the chapter. Knowing what these terms are in advance will help you focus your reading of each assigned chapter.
About the Discussion ForumThe discussion forum provides a site where you can think about and talk about issues of interest to the class. You are required to post at least two comments to the discussion forum. Your postings can be either
Each of your postings will be graded on a scale of 0 to 100, and the best question and answer will be selected as your discussion posting grade. Note that this grade counts as 25% of your overall course grade. For a thorough description of acceptable discussion postings, see "About the Discussion Postings."
Check the course schedule for due dates for each posting.
About the ExamsPlease refer to the class website for all information regarding exams.
Grading is as follows:
I may or may not apply a grading "curve," depending on class performance. In previous years, I have always applied a curve to bring the class average up to the UW average for a 100-level course. For such a large class as this, I use the University of Washington average for 100-level classes, which is currently 3.2. If the class average is higher than 3.2, I will give those grades without a curve. If the class average is less than 3.2, however, I will scale the average up to 3.2. The normal scale is as follows:
Please refer to the class website for for specific grading criteria.
If I apply the curve, it will affect the grade for the entire course, not individual requirements such as exams or projects.
How to Succeed in ESRM100DL
The following is a formula for success in ESRM100DL.
About the Developer, Professor Rob Harrison
Rob Harrison is Professor of Soil and Environmental Sciences in the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington in Seattle. He received degrees in Soil Science and Forestry from North Carolina State University, the University of New Hampshire, and Auburn University (Alabama), and completed a Postdoctoral Research Associateship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He has studied nutrient, heavy metal, and pathogen movement in soils; the impacts of compost, biosolids, wastewater, and fertilizer additions on soil/plant systems; the use of organic wastes as soil amendments; long-term forest productivity; the impacts of forest fertilization and management on forest soil properties; and carbon sequestration. He variously teaches 12 different courses, ranging from large introductory courses to courses on advanced soil chemistry and soil, plant, and water analysis. He has served as advisor to 31 graduate students, and taught about 20,000 students in his classes over 22 years. He is also a grader for Advanced Placement Environmental Science, and enjoys teaching in any capacity to any audience.
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