Conservation of the Environment (Geog 178)

Via Virtual Learning Environment






Joseph P. Hupy                                                                                   Email:

254 Phillips Hall                                                                                 

Phone: 715-836-2316



Office Hours:

(By appointment.)

How to contact me:


Required Text:


Course Objective:

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 assessment.

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.

          Do 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.

          Readings 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:

The 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: 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

 Here is a breakdown of the percentages: