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BIOL 1510 (formerly ESC 1110) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

BIOL 1510 (formerly ESC 1110) - Environmental Science I (formerly Introduction to Environmental Studies I)

4 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is a study of environmental problems at global, national and local levels. A scientific approach is applied to understanding environmental concepts using hands-on field experiences.

The topics studied in this course include:

  • ecological principles
  • geophysical processes
  • human population dynamics
Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Understand cultural, economic, and political historical precedents leading to modern environmental problems and policies.

  2. Understand and apply knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science to environmental functions and problems.

  3. Evaluate hazards, risks, and benefits faced by him or herself and society.

  4. Understand the relationships within and between the biotic and abiotic components of the biosphere.

  5. Critically evaluate the impacts of human population growth, urbanization, and resource use on the environment.

  6. Make educated environmental decisions in their personal and public life. 

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

College-level Math, English and Reading

Course Topics:

1. Introduction to Environmental Science
2. Matter, Energy, Resources, and Pollution
3. Human Populations, Hazards, and Risk
4. Earth Science
5. Weather and Climate
6. Ecology part 1: Basic Ecosystem Structure and Function 
7. Ecology part 2: Biomes and Population Ecology 

Specific Course Requirements:

Each module has a series of activities which give students first-hand experience with the topics presented. The modules are presented either as Microsoft Excel workbooks or PowerPoint presentations. Several of the activities involve taking measurements over a period of one week; therefore it is important to start on time and work carefully. This will require a good working knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint. Students must also have access to a digital imaging device (camera, cell phone) capable of capturing images at least 1 megapixel resolution. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

Module Quizzes: At the conclusion of each module is a 20-25 question timed quiz. Students should study the materials carefully and be ready to take the quiz without the use of notes or a textbook. As these quizzes are not proctored, students are on the Honor System with regard to the use of notes, text, etc.

Final Exam: The final exam will consist of a 100 question test. This exam will be proctored, which means that the student will go to a prearranged place where a proctor will have the needed password. Students must make arrangements for the time and place they will take the final; this should be done as early in the semester as possible. Students must provide this information to the instructor.

Students must schedule their final in accordance with Proctoring Guidelines.

Under no circumstance will a password ever be given out to a student! 

Grading Procedures:

Course Grade: The final course grade will be determined by the following criteria: Discussions 700 points
Module Activities 750 points
Module Quizzes 350 points
Proctored Final Exam 200 points
Total 2000 points

A score of at least 140 points on the proctored final is required for other course work to be included in your final grade!

Discussions: Each module will have discussion topics. Students are expected to participate in each module discussion by posting thoughts and opinions and responding to the comments of other students and the instructor. Discussion evaluation will be based on the quantity and quality of postings. The minimum expectation is one posting and two comments per topic. Students should be prepared to contribute original questions and discussions to the discussion board, and respond to the ideas of several students, in order to receive excellent marks for participation.

Module Activities: Each module has a series of activities which give students first-hand experience with the topics presented. The modules are presented either as Microsoft Excel workbooks or PowerPoint Presentations. Background materials are provided for each of the Activities. Several of the activities involve taking measurements over a period of one week; therefore it is important to start on time and work carefully. Students are expected to carefully follow all directions and produce well-formatted, complete, and relevant reports.

Note: If a student is retaking this course, previous activities from a previous semester may not be used in the current semester. All Activity files have a semester designation; students must use the current semester's files. A student may use photographs from a previous semester, but the Activity itself must be redone. 

Grading Scale:
Less than 1300F


Assignments and Projects:

Introduction to Environmental Science: PowerPoint presentation on personal environmental interactions, and ecological footprint assessments.

Matter, Energy, Resources, and Pollution: PowerPoint presentation that includes a personal solid waste inventory, trip to a local recycling facility, a survey of household electricity use, a survey of household lighting, and a personal automobile fuel and environmental impact survey.

Weather and Climate: PowerPoint presentation consisting of local weather observations an analysis, cloud formation activity and report, and climate diagram interpretation.

Earth Science: PowerPoint presentation utilizing map reading skills to identify their home from web-based satellite imagery and topographic maps, use and features of topographic maps, geology of their state and local region, recent earthquake activity, local examples of physical and chemical weathering, mass wasting, erosion, rocks and rock types, and geographic statistics.

Human Populations, Hazards, and Risk: PowerPoint including a comparison of population change in their lifetime, discussion of marriage and children, life expectancy, and population age structure.

Ecology part 1: Basic Ecosystem Structure and Function: PowerPoint presentation consisting of a photographic demonstration of food chains, types of species, habitat comparisons, and forest ecosystem structure.

Ecology part 2: Biomes and Population Ecology: PowerPoint presentation describing the temperate deciduous forest biome. 

Class Participation:

Student Success: An online course will require at least as much commitment of time and energy as a regular course, with the added importance of self-motivation. The standard time recommendation for a college course is two hours of outside work and study for every hour spent in class. Students taking this course at Chattanooga State are in class for six hours per week (lecture and lab), which means another 12 hours per week in study and completing work. This seems like a lot of time, and it is. However, using available time effectively can be more important than the actual number of hours spent. 

Late Policy:

Students should monitor the course calendar and stay abreast of due dates and opening and closing dates and times. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 19, 2020