Instructor: Andy Lenssen
1405 Agronomy Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1010
Agron 532 focuses on the impact of management practices on soil resources. Soil management utilizes and combines basic knowledge acquired in Soil Chemistry, Soil Physics, and Soil Biology, among other Soil Sciences. These supporting sciences provide the basic tools needed to explain soil natural phenomenon, as well as predict the soil environment response to management.
Agron 532 aims to stimulate your critical thinking about the impact of managing soils. As opposed to the two previous soils courses, it focuses on the big picture. The information presented in the course assumes that you know the material covered in the previous soils courses. The course material will give more emphasis to modeling, reading classical text, and discussion of what is considered to be relevant issues in the soil arena.
- Do not fall behind schedule! Be sure to check Agron 532 Course Calendar weekly for due dates.
- Start each lesson on the date indicated on the calendar. Complete one lesson each week. Spread your study time over several days. Work ahead when you know that you will be out-of-town or unable to do a lesson during its designated week.
- Do each In Detail as you come across its link in the lesson. In Details contain required information. Also visit each FYI page.
- Do each Study Question and Try This! as encountered. They are designed to enhance your learning, to provide opportunities to apply the information presented, and to let you evaluate your understanding of the material. They often expand on the concepts, so don't skip any.
- Assignments may be done as they appear or after you finish the lesson and readings. Be sure to submit all assignments on time.
- Discussion Topics should be addressed as early as possible. All postings submitted by the due date will count towards your grade. Subsequent submissions are encouraged at any time
- Lesson Reflection must be done by the due date. Question 1 will be graded according to content, organization, and grammar. Question 2, 3, and 4 will be granted participation points.
- Interact with your classmates and instructor. Visit the discussion board often! Discussions need not be limited to the assigned topic. Use the discussion board (or e-mail) to ask questions, share an interesting article or observation, or comment on current and relevant events. If you work ahead, be sure to go back and check the discussion board (and post your comments and responses to classmates) during that lesson's scheduled week.
- Do the text readings. Readings from the texts supplement the material presented in the lesson and are required. Reading supplemental literature and sharing the findings with the class is highly recommended.
- Something unclear? Consult with your instructor and/or classmates.
Lessons are designed to be completed in one week (except for Lesson 4). The suggested beginning dates are on a Mondays. Your assignments and discussion board posting will be due about one week after a lesson's start date, usually on a Tuesday (except for Lessons 13, 14 and 15). Discussion postings must be completed by the assignment due date for that lesson to receive participation points. However, subsequent discussion postings are encouraged anytime. Need extra time to complete a lesson? Contact the instructor in advance!
Course Grading System
|Discussion topics and Assignments||50%|
Descriptions of Expectations
- Assignments are worth 10 or 15 points each. In your answer, quantity is not a substitute for quality and vice versa. We will interact mostly in a written format. Consequently, it is of upmost importance that you express yourself with clarity.
- Discussion Topics are worth 10 points. You are required to contribute at least one posting on each discussion topic. Further commenting on classmate postings is strongly encouraged.
- Midterm Exam includes information from Lessons 1 through 7, inclusive. The exam may require calculation, deduction, and elaboration and discussion. A sample of the exam style will be emailed to you prior to the exam date. Expect the exam to be challenging. Points will not be given away! You will earn them.
- Final Exam focuses on material covered in lessons 8 through 15, but will rely on concepts covered in lessons 1 through 7 as well.
- Lesson Reflection appears as the last "activity" in each lesson. The purpose of this activity is to enhance your learning and information retention. Reflection entries are due the same day as lesson assignments. The journal is designed to help you reflect on what you have learned and improve your learning style and skills. Each lesson's journal is worth 10 possible points, assigned accordingly with the guidelines described below.
- In your own words, write a short summary (<150 words) for this lesson highlighting and concisely discussing the major concepts of the lesson (4 points); where appropriate, briefly relate the lesson's main points to other concepts learned. This can be a great study tool! It will be graded according to the following criteria:
Clear, accurate, and complete account of lesson. Accurate but one or two concepts were not present (incomplete). Accurate but more than two concepts were not present (incomplete). Incomplete AND inaccurate account of lesson. Organization / Style
Summary is arranged logically and flows smoothly. Summary is arranged logically, but does not flow smoothly. Summary is not arranged logically and does not flow smoothly. Summary is unorganized and is difficult to understand. Spelling and grammar
Free of writing and spelling errors. Contains very few writing and spelling errors. Contains some writing and spelling errors. Contains many writing and spelling errors.
- Value or usefulness of concepts learned (3 points). Connect the information learned to the 'real world' and/or to other information you know.
- Unclear items (2.5 points). If anything remains hazy, or you are unsure about some point, please ask! This is another opportunity for you to verify your understanding and to solicit clarification from the instructor. This question also serves to identify those topics that need improved presentationfuture classes thank you!
- Learning strategies (0.5 point). Tell us about what approaches you use to help yourself learn. Test out and share new strategies. Those that seem to be especially useful or unique will be shared with your classmates, with your permission first.
- Final Grade will be assigned on a curve, including +/- grades, which will be developed during the course.