Explain basic ecological concepts and how they relate to the goal of achieving environmental sustainability.

n this course, learners deepen their understanding of the importance of natural resources to humankind. Students explore physical, biological, and ecological principles, examine how human alterations affect the environment, and reflect on the controversies surrounding various approaches to addressing environmental problems and the steps some communities have taken to address these challenges

Course Design

The course is designed to introduce students to the scientific method and utilize this approach to study the interaction between humans and their environment on a range of scales, from individual to global. Through laboratory techniques, engaging multimedia, interactive assignments, and course readings, students will enhance their understanding of environmental issues. Course projects, journal writing tasks, and discussion forum activities will also be employed to achieve learning outcomes while fostering a community of deeply engaged interactive learners.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply the steps of the scientific method, along with qualitative and quantitative analysis and problem solving skills, to complete laboratory exercises on environmental issues and document the results.
  2. Explain basic ecological concepts and how they relate to the goal of achieving environmental sustainability.
  3. Examine how human actions have affected Earth’s capacity to sustain life.
  4. Discuss some of the major environmental challenges facing modern societies and the social, economic, political, and ecological choices and tradeoffs these challenges pose.
  5. Describe ways in which natural phenomena affect living things and the physical world.
  6. Apply changes to one’s daily life choices in order to promote sustainability by reducing one’s ecological footprint.

Course Map

The course map illustrates the careful design of the course through which each learning objective is supported by one or more specific learning activities in order to create integrity and pedagogical depth in the learning experience.Learning OutcomeWeekAssignment1. Apply the steps of the scientific method, along with qualitative and quantitative analysis and problem solving skills, to complete laboratory exercises on environmental issues and document the results. Insert course learning outcome1112223334455

  • Week 1: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 1 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Stream Morphology Laboratory—Assignment
  • Week 2: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 2 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Properties of Soil: Agriculture and Water Availability Impacts Laboratory—Assignment
  • Week 3: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 3 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Ground and Surface Water Interactions Laboratory—Assignment
  • Week 4: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Climate Change Virtual Laboratory—Assignment
  • Week 5: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Oil Spill Bioremediation Laboratory—Assignment

2. Explain basic ecological concepts and how they relate to the goal of achieving environmental sustainability.111222233344555

  • Week 1: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 1 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystems—Assignment
  • Food Resilience Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Week 2: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 2 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Agricultural Resources—Assignment
  • Water Management Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Week 3: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Water Resources—Assignment
  • Week 4: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Atmosphere and Climate—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Submission Acknowledgement—Quiz
  • Week 5: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • The Journey to Sustainability—Final Paper

3. Examine how human actions have affected Earth’s capacity to sustain life.111112222233334444445555555

  • Ecological Footprints—Discussion Forum
  • Week 1: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 1 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Stream Morphology Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystems—Assignment
  • Food Resilience Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Week 2: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 2 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Properties of Soil: Agriculture and Water Availability Impacts Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Agricultural Resources—Assignment
  • Week 3: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 3 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Ground and Surface Water Interactions Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Water Resources—Assignment
  • A Carbon-Neutral Energy Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Carbon-Neutral Community Plan Voting Rationales—Discussion Forum
  • Week 4: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 4 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Climate Change Virtual Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide
  • Contributions: Sustaining Our Atmosphere and Climate—Assignment
  • Ecological Footprint and Comparison—Discussion Forum
  • Nature Experience Project—Discussion Forum
  • Sustainable Living Guide Submission Acknowledgement—Quiz
  • Week 5: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 5 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Oil Spill Bioremediation Laboratory—Assignment
  • The Journey to Sustainability—Final Paper

4. Discuss some of the major environmental challenges facing modern societies and the social, economic, political, and ecological choices and tradeoffs these challenges pose.11122333334444455555

  • Post Your Introduction—Discussion Forum
  • Week 1: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Sustainable Living Guide
  • Contributions: Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystems—Assignment
  • Week 2: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Agricultural Resources—Assignment
  • Water Management Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Week 3: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 3 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Ground and Surface Water Interactions Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Water Resources—Assignment
  • A Carbon-Neutral Energy Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Carbon-Neutral Community Plan Voting Rationales—Discussion Forum
  • Week 4: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 4 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Atmosphere and Climate—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Submission Acknowledgement—Quiz
  • Week 5: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 5 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Oil Spill Bioremediation Laboratory—Assignment
  • The Journey to Sustainability—Final Paper

5. Describe ways in which natural phenomena affect living things and the physical world.1112223334445555

  • Week 1: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Stream Morphology Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystems—Assignment
  • Week 2: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Properties of Soil: Agriculture and Water Availability Impacts Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Agricultural Resources—Assignment
  • Week 3: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Ground and Surface Water Interactions Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Water Resources—Assignment
  • Week 4: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Climate Change Virtual Laboratory—Assignment
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Atmosphere and Climate—Assignment
  • Nature Experience Project—Discussion Forum
  • Sustainable Living Guide Submission Acknowledgement—Quiz
  • Week 5: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • The Journey to Sustainability—Final Paper

6. Apply changes to one’s daily life choices in order to promote sustainability by reducing one’s ecological footprint.111223334444455555

  • Ecological Footprints—Discussion Forum
  • Week 1: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystems—Assignment
  • Week 2: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Agricultural Resources—Assignment
  • Week 3: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 3 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Water Resources—Assignment
  • A Carbon-Neutral Energy Plan for Arzaville—Discussion Forum
  • Carbon-Neutral Community Plan Voting Rationales—Discussion Forum
  • Week 4: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 4 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • Sustainable Living Guide Contributions: Sustaining Our Atmosphere and Climate—Assignment
  • Ecological Footprint and Comparison—Discussion Forum
  • Sustainable Living Guide Submission Acknowledgement—Quiz
  • Week 5: Ecological Footprint Update and Course Reflection—Journal
  • Week 5 Interactive Activity—Learning Activity
  • The Journey to Sustainability—Final Paper

Institutional Learning Outcomes

The University’s Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) represent the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students are expected to develop through their experiences at the university regardless of their course of study or level of degree. The ILOs are designed to guide the development of student learning outcomes and to provide a framework for decisions in the colleges. The ILOs were developed by a multi-disciplinary group of faculty and students with input from other academic leaders. They provide the foundation for alignment of the university’s curriculum with the core competencies of the WASC Senior College and University Commission and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

University graduates:

  1. Apply logic and critical thinking to evaluate reasoning, explore diverse perspectives, and engage in metacognition.
  2. Communicate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms.
  3. Leverage digital technologies to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.
  4. Demonstrate information literacy through accessing, evaluating, and using information.
  5. Construct ethical responses to contemporary problems.
  6. Cultivate knowledge of and respect for people with diverse backgrounds, values, and lifestyles.
  7. Apply knowledge of commonalities and differences across varying cultural, economic, and geographic populations as part of global citizenship.
  8. Demonstrate personal accountability using effective interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence.