Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | BIOL105 syllabus

COURSE TITLE:Introduction to Environment
IAI CODE(S): L1 905
DELIVERY MODE:Online, In-Person

This course is an introduction to the interrelationships of humans and the natural world. This coursey will include the scientific, social, ethical, political and economic aspects of environmental problems as we seek to discover solutions. We will examine relationships, concepts and issues centered around the human population, biodiversity, natural resources, land use, agriculture, industrialization,pollution, and sustainable choices.

Place into ENGL101.

NOTES: Local and national newscasts, newspaper articles, magazine publications and internet news will be part of your required readings.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe interdisciplinary nature of Environmental Science and its major concepts and theories
  • Explain the significance of natural resources and ecosystem services to our global society
  • Describe characteristics of different biomes, ecosystems, communities, habitats and niches.
  • Recognize problems of the global ecosystem, including pollution of air and water, overpopulation, and agricultural problems.
  • Discuss environmental policy and its societal context and explain the role of science in policy making
  • Knowledgeably discuss environmental issues using scientific, social and economic information.
  • Evaluate environmental science issues in current news

Humans and Sustainability
  • Week 1-2
    • Students will learn how life on earth has survived and thrived, understand how humans interact with their environment and find ways to deal with environmental problems and live more sustainably.
      • Describe natural resources and explain their importance to human life
      • Diagnose and illustrate some of the pressures on the global environment
      • Evaluate the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development
  • Week 3 - 4
    • Evolution, Biodiversity, and Population Ecology
      • Students will learn about evolution and how it shapes biodiversity as well as how population dynamics affect population growth.
        • Describe the ways in which evolution influences biodiversity
        • Discuss reasons for species extinction and mass extinction events
        • Outline the characteristics of populations that help predict population growth
        • Identify and discuss challenges and current efforts in conserving biodiveristy
  • Week 5 - 6
    • The Ecology of Communities:
      • Students will study the components of an ecosystem and discover how the interrelationships among various populations and between living and nonliving ecosystem components drive and shape the functionality of the biosphere.
        • Characterize feeding relationships and energy flow, using them to construct trophic levels and feed webs
        • Summarize and compare the major types of species interactions
        • Describe the potential impacts of invasive species in communities, and offer solutions to biological invasions
        • Identify and describe the terrestrial biomes of the world
        • Explain the goals and methods of ecological restoration
  • Week 7
    • Economics, Policy, and Sustainable Development
      • Students will investigate how much influence economics has on Policy and Politics of Environmental Science.
      • Students will examine the significance of ecosystem services are to our economy, describe environmental policy, investigate the role of science in policymaking, compare the different approaches to environmental policymaking, and define the triple bottom line of sustainable development
        • Describe principles of economic theory and summarize their implications for the environment
        • Explain the approaches of environmental economics and ecological economics
        • Discuss the history of US environmental policy and recognize major US environmental laws
  • Week 8
    • Human Population
      • Students will study the factors affecting community, national and world human population issues.
        • Assess the scope of human population growth
        • Evaluate how human population, affluence, and technology affect the environment
        • Describe how wealth and poverty, the status of women, and family-planning programs affect population growth
  • Week 9
    • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
      • Students will develop an understanding of biodiversity and explore what is involved with conservation biology
        • Characterize the scope of biodiversity on Earth
        • Specify the benefits of biodiversity
        • Assess the science and practice of conservation biology
  • Week 10
    • Forests, Forest Management, and Protected Areas
      • Students will look at the economic role and resources offered by forests as well as the current state of forests and problems facing their continuation.
        • Summarize the ecological and economic contributions of forests
        • Outline the history and current scale of deforestation
        • Assess approaches to resource management, describe methods of harvesting timber, and appraise aspects of forest management
        • Recognize types of parks and protected areas and evaluate issues involved in their design
  • Week 11
    • Fresh Water, Oceans, and Coasts
      • Students will study the different aquatic ecosystems and theorize the possibilities of further degradation and/or improvement to these areas and species interrelationships.
        • Explain water’s importance to people and ecosystems, and describe the distribution of fresh water on Earth
        • Describe the freshwater, marine, and coastal portions of the interconnected aquatic system
        • Assess problems of water supply and propose solutions to address depletion of fresh water
        • Describe the major classes of water pollution and propose solutions to address water pollution
        • Review and evaluate the state of the oceans: including fisheries and protected areas
  • Week 12-13
    • Global Climate Change
      • Students will learn how climate is produced through the interaction of various factors and study current trends and predictions for the future of our climate
        • Describe Earth’s climate system and explain the factors that influence global climate
        • Identify greenhouse gases, and characterize human influences on the atmosphere and on climate
        • Summarize how researchers study climate
        • Outline current and expected future trends and impacts of climate change in the United States and across the world
  • Week 14
    • Nonrenewable Energy Sources, Their Impact, and Energy Conservation
      • In this unit students will explore the energy sources we currently use, discuss how they are generated, and look into future concerns regarding their use
        • Identify the energy sources that we use
        • Describe the formation of coal, natural gas, and crude oil, and evaluate how we extract, process, and use these fossil fuels
        • Assess concerns over the future decline of conventional oil supplies
        • Examine and assess environmental, political, social, and economic impacts of fossil fuel use, and explore potential solutions
  • Week 15
    • Renewable Energy Alternatives
      • Students will learn about and explore current alternatives to fossil fuels
        • Discuss reasons for seeking alternatives to fossil fuels
        • Identify the major sources of renewable energy, and assess their recent growth and future potential
        • Describe the various energy types and how we harness them, and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages
        • Describe established and emerging sources and techniques involved in harnessing bioenergy, and assess bioenergy’s benefits and shortcomings
        • Explain hydrogen fuel cells, and weigh options for energy storage and transportation
  • Week 16
    • The Urban Environment: Creating Sustainable Cities
      • Students will explore the concept of urbanization and study different strategies that are currently being utilized make our global cities more sustainable
        • Describe the scale of urbanization
        • Define sprawl and discuss its causes and consequences
        • Outline city and regional planning and land use strategies
        • Analyze environmental impacts and advantages of urban centers


IncludEd: The online textbook and resources are automatically charged to your student account. The textbook and resources will be available for students on the first day of class through Blackboard.

  • Modified Mastering Environmental Science with Pearson eText -- Instant Access -- for Essential Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, 6th Edition By Jay H. Withgott, Matthew Laposata; Pearson © 2019 ISBN-13: 978-0-13-483888-5

Three assigned Projects:
Quizzes and homework
Final Exam:
Averaged in at the end as 15%

A= 90%-100%
B= 80%-89%
C= 70%-79%
D= 60%-69%
F= 59% and below


Membership in the DACC community brings both rights and responsibility. As a student at DACC, you are expected to exhibit conduct compatible with the educational mission of the College. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated. A DACC student is also required to abide by the acceptable use policies of copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct as contained in the DACC Student Handbook. The Student Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall and online at:

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

Fall 2019

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