NRES 814 Syllabus

Laboratory Earth:
Earth's Natural Resource Systems
NRES 814

Index

 


Technical Requirements:

In order to take this course, you must have:
E-mail
An Internet connection (Netscape 3.01 or higher and Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher)
Microsoft Word
PowerPoint
Adobe Acrobat Reader
RealPlayer
The technology skills you will need to succeed in this course are a basic familiarity with your Web browser, e-mail, word processing, and the ability to locate specific information on the Internet. You must also know or learn how to use Blackboard courseware.
Clicking here will take you to a link that will direct you to any of the plug-ins you might need for this course.
Note: When you click on the link above a new browser window will open. Be sure to close the window when you are done.

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Course Introduction
:

In this class, you will develop an understanding of the Earth’s natural resource systems using a systems approach. This course will provide opportunities for you to start making connections between a variety of disciplines and concepts.
It is critical that you understand the dependence of all people on both renewable and non-renewable resources and the potential consequences that human activities have on global processes and the availability of natural resources. This class will employ a systems approach to understanding natural resource systems that recognizes that everything is connected to everything else. Using this approach, natural resources are considered part of a larger system that allows us to deal more responsibly and rationally with local, regional and global issues. In addition, this approach recognizes that humans are dependent on, impact the distribution of, and influence natural resource systems. This course will emphasize earth, water and soil resources in the context of the movement of matter and energy through many complex reservoirs over different scales of space and time. This course will provide a general understanding of the processes that relate to the interaction of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and, geosphere and biosphere.
Many of the activities that we will do in this class may be able to be used directly in an elementary, middle school or high school classrooms. All activities are designed to challenge you as learners. All the concepts in this class can be related to both the K-12 National and Nebraska science education standards. It is important to recognize that this is a science class and not a methods class. The modules are designed to synthesize information learned in prior modules into the content of consecutive modules. As a result, the modules will become more demanding as the course progresses, asking you to use previously learned information in new contexts.
Our role, as instructors, in this class is to provide you with opportunities to learn about the Earth and to challenge you as learners so that you can understand and apply basic Earth system science concepts to your own community. Everyone can be successful in this class, but it is up to you. We are always available for help.

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Learning Outcomes:

When you have completed this course, you will be able to:
Describe and explain the basic interactions between the hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
Acknowledge and work with individuals who have different perspectives about natural resources.
Develop conceptual models for a variety of Earth’s natural resource systems that qualitatively include mass and energy exchange.
Demonstrate an understanding of the properties, occurrence and distribution of water and soils.
Demonstrate an understanding of rocks and minerals as fundamental resources for humans and scientists who study the Earth.
Explain the basic chemical and physical processes that control the distribution of natural resources from the Earth including metals and energy.
Explain the social and economic issues that control the availability of mineral and energy resources
Collect basic data required for the analysis of natural resource systems.
Analyze and interpret data using basic statistics and graphs.
Understand the dependence of all people on both renewable and non-renewable resources
Describe the impact of humans as stewards, managers and components of natural resources systems.
Demonstrate an understanding about natural resources on other planetary bodies.

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Participation:

Group Discussion
Active participation in the discussion board is an important part of this course. Your individual discussion board participation will be assessed primarily on the quality of your contributions. Irrelevant, redundant or unresponsive comments are discouraged. More specifically, we will be examining individual contributions based on the following criteria:
The extent to which comments/questions relate to the current discussion.
The extent to which the comment/question moves the discussion forward.
The extent to which the comment/question is related to course content (e.g., assigned readings, activities, and assignments), or your own personal experience.
The extent to which your reasoning is consistent and logical.
The extent to which your comment/question brings a fresh analytic perspective and/or increased insight to the discussion.
Course facilitators will comment selectively and may post a final comment on the group discussion board.

 

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Course Outline:

 

Precourse:
  Content Questions:
Information About You
Laboratory Earth Orientation
Teaching Science (STEBIA)
Module 1: Natural Resources and Civilization:
  Lesson 1: Exploring Natural Resources and You
    Activity 1.1a - Materials Diary
Activity 1.1b - Summary
Activity 1.2a - Developing a Common Language
Activity 1.2b - Natural Resources: Sustainability
  Lesson 2: Resource Webs - Linking natural Resources, Sources, and Politics
    Activity 1.3a - Resource Webs
Activity 1.3b - ECEE Essay
  Lesson 3: Natural Resources in the Solar System
    Activity 1.4--Resources in Space
  "How is it going?" Module 1
  Energy Resource Assessment Project—due at the end of Module 3
  Mastery of Content
Module 2: Rock and Mineral Resource Systems
  Pre Lesson
    Activity 2.1: Rocks and Mineral Resources in Perspective
  Lesson 4: Rock and Mineral Resources and the Human Endeavor
    Activity 2.2: Strategic Minerals: Past, Present, and Future
Activity 2.3: Cookie Mining
  Lesson 5: Elements, Rocks, Minerals, Rocks and their Relationship
    Activity 2.4: Mineral Identification Lab
Activity 2.5: Rock Research
Activity 2.6: Going Venn with the Rock Cycle
  Lesson 6: Rock Cycle Resources and Plate Tectonics
    Activity 2.7: Your Model of the Rock Cycle
Activity 2.8: Snack on Plate Tectonics
  "How is it going?" Module 2
  Mastery of Content
Module 3: Soil Resource Systems
  Lesson 7: Who Cares About Soil
    Activity 3.1: Who Cares about soil?
  Lesson 8: Soil Factors, and Formation
    Activity 3.2 Soil Sleuthingtors, and Formation
  Lesson 9: Soil in the Field
    Activity 3.3: Soil Use and Abuse in Your Area
Activity 3.4 Soil Tripping in the Field
  Lesson 10: Soil Surveys - Bringing it all together
    Activity 3.5: Putting Soil Surveys to Work
  "How is it going?" Module 3
  Mastery of Content
Module 4: Water Resource Systems
  Lesson 11: Water - Our Most Valuable Resource
    Activity 4.1: How much water do I use?
Activity 4.2: Your Water Supply
Activity 4.3: Water Language Journey
  Lesson 12: Surface Water Resources
    Activity 4.4: Geography of U.S. Rivers
Activity 4.5: Rivers and Hydrographs
  Lesson 13: Groundwater Resource
    Activity 4.6: Geology, Groundwater, and the 2 P Words (Kitchen Lab)
Activity 4.7: A Groundwater Journey Essay
Activity 4.8: Investigating Your Groundwater Resources
  Lesson 14: Exploring Space Resources
    Activity 4.9: Exploring Space Resources"How is it going?" Module 4
  "How is it going?" Module 4
  Mastery of Content
  Content Questions
Post Course Assessments & Evaluation

 

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Structure:

Laboratory Earth is a three-credit graduate level, Internet-based, computer-delivered, distance learning course designed for K - 6 educators. It will be delivered online via Blackboard.
Modules The “course” is structured around four modules:
Module 1. Natural Resources and Civilization
Module 2. Rock and Mineral Resource Systems
Module 3. Soil Resource Systems
Module 4. Water Resource Systems
Each Module includes:
Learning objectives and an introduction that highlights these objectives
Module organization and topics to be covered
Participate and Complete section – highlights the activities in the module and the order in which they should be completed.
Assignments
One or more assignments of varying duration will be completed for each module. Due to dates and times will be provided for all assignments. In most cases you will have several days to complete them. Each module will conclude with a Mastery of Content Activity that will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the content in novel formats.

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Grading:

Your grade in this course will be based on your active participation and on-time completion of the grading elements in this course. These elements include: assignments, activities, discussions, assessment tools, or other items to which the facilitators assign a due date. Facilitators will provide feedback as appropriate and may ask you to revisit an assignment after additional guidance is given in order to receive full credit. If you do not respond their suggestions, credit will not be given. If you have a problem with a given deadline, please contact Cindy Larson-Miller (clarsonmiller2@unl.edu) as soon as possible.

Although this is an on-line course that currently uses an independent study designation, your success and that of the other course participants depends on your active, on-time participation. You can view your “grade” record by going to My Grades which can be accessed by clicking on the course tools button.

An “A” grade will be given if your record documents the quality completion of greater than 90% of the grade elements and meaningful completion of the course content questions. Documented mastery of 90% of the concepts will also be required.
A “B” grade will be given if your record documents the quality completion of 80 to 89% of the grade elements and meaningful completion of the course content questions. Documented mastery of 80 to 89% of the concepts will also be required.
A “C” grade will be given if your record documents the quality completion of 70 to 79% of the grade elements and meaningful completion of the course content questions. Documented mastery of 70 to 79% of the concepts will also be required.
A “D” grade will be given if your record documents the quality completion of 60 to 69% of the grade elements and meaningful completion of the course content questions. Documented mastery of 60 to 69% of the concepts will also be required.
An “F” grade will be given if your record documents the quality completion of less than 60% of the grade elements and meaningful completion of the course content questions. Documented mastery of less than 60% of the concepts will also be required.

A NOTE FROM Ron Bonnstetter
"I would like to add a quick comment about grading to help each of you relax. This course is designed to help you learn more about earth systems and as such, the focus is on learning, not grades. As stated above, “Your grade in this course will be based on your active participation and on-time completion of the grading elements in this course.”

If tasks that you do, are not complete, you may be asked to revisit some aspect of the assignment, but issuing points and worrying about such things should not be a concern. Our goal is for you to be intrinsically motivated to learn the material and not need grades as a motivator or be concerned about grades to the point that it distracts from your learning. As professionals we simply want everyone to feel comfortable exposing your areas of need and willing to work until you have the required concept knowledge and understanding.
I think many of the questions that have come up are a result of one paragraph in the grading section that is misleading. It presently states, “You can view your “grade” record by going to My Grades, which can be accessed by clicking on the course tools button.”
The problem with this statement is that we have used a portion of the Black Board grading protocol to house the pre-post evaluation scales . The numbers that show up in your “gradebook” mean NOTHING. The grade book is simply housing the data for us and the computer is assigning number values that we know are meaningless and now you do as well.

You are welcome to ask about your grade, but please trust us that the goal is learning and if you do what is requested and accomplish the tasks and learn from the experience, the grade will take care of itself. Now, won’t it be nice if we could get all of our students to be intrinsically motivated so we did not have to use grades as an external motivator."

 

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Student Conduct:

Academic honesty:
Academic honesty is essential to the existence and integrity of an academic institution. The responsibility for maintaining that integrity is shared by all members of the academic community. To further serve this end, the University supports a Student Code of Conduct which addresses the issue of academic dishonesty.

Diversity:
The University is committed to a pluralistic campus community through Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. We assure reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ethics and Integrity:
The instructor is committed to offering a course that maintains an atmosphere of ethical behavior, individual integrity, and equitable treatment of each person. Expression of ideas from various perspectives acknowledges the dignity of all class members.
Click here for a link to the "Academic Services Handbook."

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Technical Problems:

For all technical problems related to this course, please contact the:
UNL Blackboard Help Desk
Phone: (402) 472-3970
E-mail: helpdesk@unl.edu

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