of the Environment (Geog 178)
Virtual Learning Environment
How to contact me:
best way to contact me is via email. Again, that email is
firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to put
virtual178 in the subject so I can get to your email faster. If you don't, it could get lost
in the 100 emails I get a day, and may get lost.
should also take full advantage of the discussion forum. Often times your
classmates (or perhaps you) will be able to answer a question faster than
I can get to it.
can call me on my office phone if you'd like, but I can't guarantee I will
return your call before you need an answer. Email is best, but feel free
to try calling if you need.
because this is a virtual course does not mean you cannot see the
instructor. You can arrange an appointment if you'd like. This is best
done via email.
you are experiencing technical difficulties, such as a video not playing,
a link not opening, or screen content not Displaying, please contact the
Help Desk 715-836-5711. Do not
contact me with these issues until after you contact them.
Readings posted to D2L
This course provides an introduction to human and
environment interactions including human population dynamics, natural
resources, pressure on natural resources, resulting environmental issues, and
current, past, and future strategies to deal with environmental issues.
Topics focused on include: human population, soil resources, agriculture,
forest resources, energy resources, and environmental policy. My goal for you,
the student, is for you to gain an understanding of the fundamental principles
of the natural environment, our role with nature, and the impacts of our
activities on the global system. I am a firm believer that geography
revolves around human-environment interactions. This, in my opinion, comprises
the core of Geography. I also believe that human-environment interactions can
make many of these topics interesting – by tying them into our everyday lives.
The course will focus on current environmental issues ranging from global to
local scales. This course has no political agenda. I am not trying to get you
to look at any issue with a slant. I shall put forward my best efforts not to
make this a gloom and doom course, nor will I make it into a cheery
praise-the-earth format. Keep in mind this is a conservation course. I want to
give you an idea of our relationship with the surrounding environment from a
practical resource conservation standpoint. Will there be issues that are
controversial? – Yes. Will I expect you to provide your opinion? – Absolutely.
E-Learning Course Objectives
This is an e-learning course, and because it is taught in the virtual realm,
there are both advantages and disadvantages. Besides elimination of a classroom
lecture environment, the advantage for you is to utilize the knowledge base of the of the web in your learning environment. The
disadvantage, however, is the web is not perfect and the links to these
resources can become ‘broken’; ie removed or
experience server problems. There will be some speed bumps along the way
because of the nature of the online content. Therefore, I want you to set
yourself up at this point to be prepared to provide constructive feedback as
the course unfolds throughout the semester. Let me know about broken links. If
there is a problem with an assignment, please let me know so I can fix it for
others. If you see portions that you like, or dislike, please let me know so I
can make the proper changes for future courses. Keep in mind courses such as
this are just as good as what you the student put into them, and a major
portion of what you put in involves feedback via discussion and other forms of
E-Learning Tips and Tricks
E-learning is not for everyone.
Many students, and instructors alike, believe that e-learning courses are
passive and allow for greater amounts of procrastination than the traditional
lecture format course. This assumption, to put it bluntly, is simply not true.
E-learning requires that you are always up to date on materials and
assignments. Many of the assignments in this course have strict deadlines; the length
of the module. You will be expected to complete quizzes, assignments, and
discussion forums by the posted dates. Failure to comply will result in zero
points. Do not procrastinate with your module deadlines. Waiting until the due date of material to work on it and submit it will
not buy you an excuse if the internet and/or D2L is down. You should be
working on these materials throughout the module, not the day they are due.
not take this as a passive learning experience. I can tell you from experience
that the students who engage in the tools the course provides are going to be
the ones that do well. When you watch a lecture, take notes – remember you have
a pause button that allows you to stop the lecture, and even a rewind ability
to catch something you didn’t quite get the first time. You do not have this
ability with traditional lecture. Take advantage of this, and don’t just watch
a lecture to go through the motions. The same goes for online videos. I tell my
lecture students that videos are not nap time, and a day off from learning. The
same goes for you, only more so. You need to treat the online videos seriously,
taking notes, and making comments. The comments will only help you understand
the material better for discussion assignments, and for the quizzes you take
associated with the videos.
are also an important part of the course. Students complain about the readings
in every class, but remember that media is delivered in many ways. The written
word remains, despite the deluge of video documentaries out there, the best way
to convey a message on a given topic. I keep the readings short, and stay away
from scientific articles. I also try to keep them associated with current
issues we have. You need to read the posted material, and stay up to date with
any books I’ve assigned with the class. I will post to D2L where you should be
with those readings.
UWEC Learning Goals and Outcomes:
university likes it when we use broad, sweeping statements about what our
courses will address in relation to a liberal education. To see those goals
click on the following link: http://www.uwec.edu/assess/goals/goalsBac.htm
Setting aside all the politician-like rhetoric, I’d like you to come out of
here with the ability to think critically, understand that you have a stake in
shaping the future of your generation, and communicate your ideas in a
respectable manner. I also intend to introduce you to the concepts of
geospatial technology, and some of the basics of Geography as a discipline.
Tests, Quizzes, Assignments, and Grades
- There are no
tests in here, just many sets of quizzes associated with the modules.
- The majority of
the material on the quizzes will come from the posted lectures,
assignments, and readings
- I cannot stress
enough the assigned readings are very important, and will show up on your
- You will also
watch several movies online in here, as well as listen to some radio
stories. You should take notes with these movies and stories. Often there
are discussions with these assignments to help you with note taking as
these will show up on quizzes.
- Grading in this
course will come from your participation in discussions, assignments, and
- You may have
noticed that the Semester Schedule posted online is not very detailed.
That is because the course is taught within D2L, and that is the source
for you to obtain course news, announcements, deadlines, assignment
details, and so forth. Basically, the course will be taught within the
framework of D2L.
- Assignment, Quiz,
and, Discussion due dates will be within D2L, and posted within the
course content. You need to stay up to date with the material. Materials
that are late will not be accepted unless proper approval is provided,
often ahead of the due date.
- As stated
before, Do not Procrastinate.
Being unable to submit work because the internet was down the evening an
assignment was due is not a valid excuse.
Here is a breakdown of the percentages:
- Online Quizzes =
- Final Grade
Assignment: Grading is based upon what is set by the class average. This
not only rewards above average work, but also is designed to make the
class ‘fair’ to all. The way this works is I will examine the numbers at
the end of the semester and establish an average. The average score will
set the break between a B- and a C+. Distribution of points will then
follow from above and below this mark. The point breaks depend on the
average score, but it is often right around 3.3 % points.
- Note: Any
student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations,
please contact the instructor and the Services
for Students with Disabilities Office in Old Library 2136 at the beginning
of the semester.
- First of all,
let me say that I hate rules. However, I have come to find, based on past
experiences that I need to lay down a ground work of rules.
- Rule # 1 (and
the most important, related to all others). Respect me like you
expect me to respect you. Here is how this works. I am not out to
get you - I am here to teach. I do not sit around thinking of how best to
make your life miserable. In fact, I sit around thinking, ‘how best can I
prepare you for the real world while providing you with ample education’.
I expect you to think along the same lines. The following rules
relate to this #1 rule:
it for everyone’ rule: This rule is really just a rewording of
the previous rule, but I had to put it in because sometimes the first rule
just doesn’t resonate. Basically, this rule says don’t try to find
loopholes in the rules to see where you can exploit rules for a lack of
lucid content. In sum, if what you are doing seems wrong, then it probably
- Do not try to
turn in papers late. Papers are due at the time posted on D2L. If you
don’t get them in by that time, D2L will not accept them in the designated
dropbox; you will need to submit in the late
box. (See below).
- If, by chance,
you are late with an assignment, you will need to submit to the late/resubmitted.
Please attach a note related to the conditions of the submission. That
is, do you have a valid preapproved excuse for the delay.
Getting sick on the due date does not work and I will contact the Dean of
students if I get a notice from them of your sickness, and inform them
you are in an online course, and being sick for one or two days will not
work with me. You should also know I generally don’t get to grading late
items until the end of the semester.
- Do not submit
documents other than those that can be opened by Microsoft Software.
- If you do use
something like Word Perfect to complete an assignment, make sure you save
it as a PDF document.
- Do not go over
the allotted time for quizzes. If you are given a time to
answer a question in a classroom quiz, that is the time you have to
answer. Tests are administered on D2L. You are expected to complete
them in the time provided. I will set a time period the test can be taken
within, and also a time limit for you to take that test. The computer is
set to only accept quizzes that are completed within those guidelines.
Unless otherwise specified, you have the length of the module to take the
quiz. For example, you might have from a Sunday at 12am to 11:59pm the
following Sunday to take the quiz. Remember that the quizzes are timed
though, and once you start the quiz you will need to finish it in the time
allotted. Expect around 1 minute per question. I do this to ensure
academic honesty within the digital realm.
- Failure to
submit quizzes on time will result in a zero on that exam, not points
answered within the given exam period. Once again, this is done to ensure
that test taking is fair and academic dishonest kept to a minimum.
- Keep in mind
that quizzes are not in the content area of D2L, but in the quizzes
is an area in the content section that describes what content is in the
quiz; use this as a study guide tool.
- Be civil in the
online discussions: The best way to summarize
this rule is that if you reduce yourself to criticizing your opponent in a
debate, rather than the issue at hand, you have lost the debate. When
engaged in the online discussions I expect you to argue where you stand on
an issue, but remember to focus on the issue at hand, and not the
individual you are discussing the issue with. If I see what I deem
inappropriate comments in the discussion, I will notify that individual,
or group of individuals about the issue with a warning. After that, if I
see the actions again, your grade will suffer and I will consider
notifying the proper authorities on campus for disciplinary action.