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.

Study Tips

Course Schedule

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 Assignments50%
Midterm Exam25%
Final Exam25%

Descriptions of Expectations

  1. 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:

    Criteria Excellent
    (4 points)
    (3 points)
    Needs Improvement
    (2 points)
    (1 points)
    (70 %)
    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
    (20 %)
    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
    (10 %)
    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.

  2. Value or usefulness of concepts learned (3 points). Connect the information learned to the 'real world' and/or to other information you know.
  3. 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 presentation—future classes thank you!
  4. 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.