EVR6930: Special Topics
Lectures: Monday, , room 13/221
Instructor: Johan Liebens, room 13/213
Office hours: T, R ; F
Textbook: This course does not have a textbook. Students will have to make many copies and acquire materials through interlibrary loan.
This course consists of two parts. In the first part the class will read and discuss scientific journal articles (no pseudo-science internet info allowed!) related to an environmental issue collectively selected by the class. Towards the end of the first part the class will formulate a research hypothesis related to the chosen topic that can be tested locally and will develop a research plan to test the hypothesis. In the second part of the course groups of students will collect samples, submit them for analysis (or analyze them in-house if possible), interpret the results, and write a report. The report will be in scientific article style and it is anticipated that individual students can take responsibility for a particular part of the report.
The potential topics for the course are:
· Heavy metal distribution in a recently constructed urban wetland
· Depth distribution of organic carbon as a function of slope position
· Heavy metal content in street dust on various types of pavement
· Arsenic (lead, mercury?) in surficial soil materials in public places
Graduate standing is required for this course.
There are no exams in this course. Students will write a report in the middle of the semester (date to be announced in class) and at the end. The first report is worth 30% and the second 40% of the final grade. Class participation is very important in this course and is worth 30% of the final grade. The grading scale is a straight curve as follows: A ³ 90%, 90% > B ³ 80%, 80% > C ³ 70%, 70% > D ³ 60%, 60% > F.
There is no provision for extra credit work. Class attendance is crucial in this course and roll will be taken. It is the student's responsibility to sign roll at the beginning of each class. If you miss a class you have to present a signed physician's excuse or, if an exam is missed due to a family funeral, a dated newspaper obituary. Most other excuses for missing a class are not acceptable. Points will be deducted from the class participation grade for absences without a valid excuse.
Announcements regarding the course outline and the schedule of the lectures and other activities may be made in class. All organizational/administrative announcements made during class are assumed to be known by all students.
Student learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this course:
1. Will be more proficient at critically reading scientific information.
2. Will be better at summarizing and assimilating large volumes of scientific information.
3. Will be able to formulate practical hypothesis and to develop tests for the hypothesis.
4. Will have acquired more experience writing scientific documents.
5. Will have a more in-depth knowledge of the selected environmental issue.
Special technology utilized by students
Low. Students are expected to be proficient with spreadsheets and word processing software.
Expectations for academic conduct/plagiarism policy
Will be followed as stated at these URL addresses:
Assistance for students with special needs
This policy is found at http://uwf.edu/DSS/dss_pub.pdf on page 3
January: Literature review.
February: Literature review, formulation of hypothesis, development of research plan.
March: Field or lab work, data processing and interpretation.
April: Report writing.