IOFT 1101 -- Changes

Thu Jan 29 15:09:40 2009

Effective Term: New:  1109 - Fall 2010
Old:  1089 - Fall 2008
College: New:  TIOT - Institute of Technology
Old:  TIOT - Technology, Institute of
Department: New:  11055 - Techology, Inst of-Adm
Old:  11055 - IT Dean's Office Admin
History Information: New:
Updated to meet Fall 2010 CLE deadline.
<no text provided>
Sponsor Name:
New:  Miki Hondzo, William Arnold
Sponsor E-mail Address:
this course fulfills:
New:  PHYS - PHYS Physical Sciences
Old:  ENVT - ENVT Environment Theme
Other requirement
this course fulfills:
New:  ENV - ENV The Environment
Old:  PHYS SCI/L - PHYS SCI/L Physical Science with Laboratory Core
Criteria for
Core Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.

Core courses must meet the following requirements:

  • They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for them as students and as citizens
  • They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the work of the field, not just reading about it.
  • They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their learning.
  • They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the University´┐Żs entrance requirements.
  • They are offered on a regular schedule.
  • They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.

Physical Science/Lab Core

As shown in the attached syllabus, IofT 1101 focuses on the natural physical, chemical, and biological phenomena that drive environmental systems and how humans impact and alter these phenomena. Representative topics include the cycling of nutrients and energy through ecosystems, impacts of agricultural production of water resources, and global climate change. Although biological topics (e.g., biodiversity, agriculture, ecosystems) are necessarily discussed, the emphasis is how the physical and chemical characteristics affect the environment and ecological systems. For example, in discussing biogeochemistry, it is demonstrated how the cycling of chemical nutrients and energy inputs allow life to prosper and how specific physical conditions (water availability, temperature) impact ecological niches. A major emphasis is how physical and chemical alterations (e.g., channelization of streams, addition of pesticides) impact biology/ecology. To emphasis the physical/chemical focus of the class, the environment is presented in terms of systems, and students are required to quantitatively describe human and natural systems. For example, the students must be able to perform mass balances on lakes (input and outputs), understand the concept of steady state, and quantitatively describe human population growth. In general, issues are presented and analyzed from a variety of perspectives.  For example, we may consider an issue by discussing the scientific basis, experimental and analytical evidence, assumptions, uncertainty, interpretation of data, model predictions, stakeholder perspectives, policy effects, the consequence of inaction etc.  In all cases the students are immersed in the process of scientific enquiry. The students are versed in the scientific method, the difference between hypothesis and theory, and proper data collection and analysis protocols.

The Laboratory component of the class meets 12 or 13 times per semester for 3 hours. Groups of three or four students perform experiments related to the course material. Prior to the laboratory session, students are to read the laboratory exercise and hypothesize what will happen in their experiment.  In laboratory exercises, the students are required to set-up experiments, make physical, chemical and biological measurements, analyze and interpret the data, graph results, and compare their results with the results of other students.  For experiments making biological measurements, these measurements are made to demonstrate how chemical parameters affect the environment. . For example, biochemical oxygen demand is a measurement that demonstrates how organic wastes lead to the depletion of oxygen in rivers. Similarly, in the water quality lab, the levels of oxygen and water clarity are related to the abundance of phytoplankton (the more light and oxygen, the more phytoplankton). Most of these labs are conducted in the environmental engineering laboratories but at least two laboratories are conducted at field sites. Individually typed laboratory reports and graphical analysis of data using a spreadsheet package are required. Principles tested include steady-state analysis, chemical precipitation, exponential growth, and biochemical oxygen demand. Each group of students is required to give a 10-15 minute presentation on an environmental issue of interest to them. The students give a “Powerpoint” presentation and answer questions on their presentations from other students in the laboratory section.
Example Laboratory Sessions and Field Trips:

1.  Lab Safety
2.  Exercise with computer simulation models for population growth.
3.  Chemical and physical methods for water quality. Use of a Hach field kit.
4.  Air quality sampling.
5.  Three to four field strips.  For example:
-Water incinerator
-Sanitary landfill
-Water treatment plant
-Wastewater treatment plant
-NSP power plant
-Lake water quality analysis
6.  Plankton sampling and visual observation with microscopes (clean and polluted water).
7.  Lake quality sampling.
8.  Statistical analyses - interpreting real data, uncertainty.
9.  Mapping exercises, trends from satellite imagery.
Criteria for
Theme Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed theme requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.

Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of mind:
  • thinking ethically about important challenges facing our society and world;
  • reflecting on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community;
  • connecting knowledge and practice;
  • fostering a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents.

New:  Environmental issues are woven throughout the material in IofT 1101. Issues of major significance covered include population growth, biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity, water supply and treatment, the developing world (including environmental justice/equity), ecological restoration, energy, agriculture, air pollution, and climate change. For each topic, the relationship of humans with and their impact on the environment is stressed. For example, it is described how urbanization has caused many environmental problems (e.g., air pollution, degraded rivers) but is also a solution to our environmental problems (low carbon footprint, centralized waste treatment). The regenerative capacity of the biosphere is illustrated with a discussion of and assignments on ecology and nutrient and hydrologic cycles. The dependence of the earth on humans for sustained health is also discussed with respect to species diversity, ecosystem health, and the ability of the earth to continue to support life as we know it. Additionally, it is emphasized that humans are stressing the regenerative capacity of the environment.

The scientific basis for both the causes and solutions of environmental problems are also discussed in the class. For example, it is described how inputs of phosphorus (the limiting nutrient) cause algal blooms in lakes and how chlorofluorocarbons are responsible for ozone depletion. Methods of water treatment and sustainable agriculture are examples of science-based solutions to environmental problems. Throughout the class students are asked to offer their own solutions to environmental problems via active learning exercises.

Finally, the role of society, government, and economics in environmental issues is discussed.  The notion that while some solutions may be scientifically feasible while still not providing an economical solution to a problem is an important one.  Furthermore, the very make-up of societies and the role that this plays in environmental issues is an important area.  The rise of industrial nations has contributed to many of our environmental problems and there is the potential for developing nations to repeat the mistakes of the past. It is important to note that modern technology (both “high tech” and “low tech”) may also solve some of these problems in the developed and developing worlds. As citizens, it is important to be aware of the daily choices that we make (what we eat, how we travel) impact the environment.  These behaviors are linked to the behavior of the society as a whole and changes in these behaviors are driven by societal change as well.
Old:  <no text provided>
Please provide a provisional syllabus for new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed that include the following information: course goals and description; format/structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (texts, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated.

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" at . Provisional course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification, This provisional course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

New:  This course will address the behavior of natural systems, man's impact on the environment, how we are trying to meet the challenges of supplying the population with water, energy, food etc. while trying to minimize negative impacts. Students will participate in hands-on water quality labs, field trips and small discussion groups.

CLE Physical Science with Lab Core and Environment Theme
This class meets two liberal education requirements (Physical Science with Lab Core and Environment Theme). The Physical Science with Lab Core is satisfied through analysis of  environmental issues, such as pollution, limited resources, and population growth. Natural physical and chemical phenomena that drive environmental systems and their associated biological components are examined (for example, what chemical and energy inputs are required in environmental systems, and how do specific conditions dictate the biological makeup of an ecosystem).  The impact of human alterations on these physical and chemical phenomena (via pollution and other changes) are also examined. The topics are discussed on a scientific basis, but how human values and policies affect our decisions (and tradeoffs) are also considered. The hands-on laboratory component reinforces the lecture and requires hypothesis testing, setting up experiments, making physical, chemical and biological measurements, analyzing and interpreting the data, graphing results, and writing laboratory reports.

Major environmental issues and the underlying scientific principles, the relationship (and impact) of humans with the environment, technologies that cause and solve environmental issues, reliable information sources, are discussed. Throughout the class, the role that societal values and ethics play in selecting and implementing solutions to environmental problems are interwoven into the material. Thus, an emphasis is how sustainable solutions to our environmental problems must not only be based on sound science, but also be consistent with our values and ethics. These topics are used to satisfy the Environmental Theme.

Part of being a citizen of world is understanding how human activities (ranging from daily individual to societal choices) impact the environment and the species (including humans) that depend on environmental resources for survival. Minimizing our impacts also requires an understanding of the drivers of environmental processes. Liberal educations requirements such as IofT 1101 are designed to provide such knowledge to make students engaged public citizens.

Instructor: Bill Arnold          
Office:        152 CivE                     
Phone:        612-625-8582           


To be determined

Laboratory Manager:  Kevin Drees
Office: CivE 738
Phone: 612-625-8543
Laboratory-related questions

Lectures:        11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. TTh;  Physics 166
Lab:                2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; CivE 650
Office hours:        TBD

Text:        Botkin, D.B. and E.A.Keller, "Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet",Wiley, New York, NY., 6th Edition, 2007, ISBN 978-0-470-04990-7

Online Material:
Critical thinking issues
Virtual field trips
Environmental debates
Online quiz discussions
Course Website:

Quizzes will cover assigned readings and lecture materials. Expected quiz dates are in bold. The quiz may be handed out anytime during the lecture.

Lecture Syllabus

Week                        Topic                                                        Chapters
1        2, 4                Introduction, Science and Values, Population Growth        1,2,4               
2        9, 11                Environmental Systems, Biogeochemical Cycles                3,5
3        16, 18                Ecosystem, Biodiversity, and Biogeography                6, 7, 8       
4        23, 25                Water Supply, Use, and Management                        21
5        30, Oct 1        Water Pollution and Treatment                                22

6        7, 9                Biological Productivity and Energy Flow,                        9, 10
                        Ecological Restoration       
7        14, 16                Food and Agriculture                                        11, 12
8        21, 23                Land management and endangered species                 12, 13, 14
9        28, 30                Energy and the Environment: Fossil Fuels,
                        Alternative Energy                                        17, 18, 19

10        4, 6                Nuclear Energy, Air Pollution                                 20, 24
11        11, 13                Climate Change, Ozone Depletion                        23, 26
12        18, 20                Indoor Air Pollution, Urban Environments/Sprawl                25, 29
13        25                Solid Waste Management                                30

14        2, 4                Hazardous Waste Management, Risk, and
                        Economics of Environmental Issues                        30, 15, 28       
15        9                Sustainable Future                       

Quizzes                  50 % (biweekly)
Weekly Labs.                 40 %
Group Presentation          10 %

Teaching Assistants:

To be determined

Lab Sessions:

Monday 9:00 a.m. – noon
Monday 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – noon
Wednesday 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Laboratory Schedule:

Week        Dates        Lab Title
1        Sep 2-5                No Lab
2        Sep 8-12        Lab Safety, Graphing and Statistics, Population Growth
3        Sep 15-19        Exotic Species (Field Trip)
4        Sep 22-26        The Steady State Concept Applied to an Experimental System
5        Sep 29-30, Oct 1-3        Introduction to Water Quality Sampling and Analysis (Field Trip)
6        Oct 6-10        Microscopic Observation of Live Freshwater Plankton
7        Oct 13-17        Drinking Water Treatment
8        Oct 20-24        Biochemical Oxygen Demand
9        Oct 27-31        Bacteriological Examination of Water (Week 1)
10        Nov 3-7                Bacteriological Examination of Water (Week 2)
11        Nov 10-14        Indoor and outdoor air quality
12        Nov 17-21        Hazardous waste treatment/remediation
13        Nov 24-28        No Lab (Thanksgiving)
14        Dec 1-5                Group Presentations
15        Dec 8-10        No Lab (End of Semester)

Pre-lab meetings

At the beginning of your lab period, report to your pre-lab meeting location as indicated above.  We will have a brief (30 minute) lecture concerning the lab activity for the day, including a preview of the project, pointers on how to use the equipment and pitfalls to avoid, and a discussion of relevant safety issues.  

Materials required for class

All students should come to class prepared with a writing utensil (pencils are best) and a pad of notebook paper or laboratory notebook in which you can write down observations during the lab exercise, perform calculations, or take other notes you might need to complete your lab report.  A calculator would be beneficial, but we can provide one for your use in the lab if needed.

For your safety, students must observe the lab dress code while in the lab (please refer to the Laboratory Safety Rules in your lab manual).  In particular, open-toed shoes and shorts are not permitted.  You will be sent home if you come dressed in these.  Also, make sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes for the field trips.

Assignments and Evaluation

Your grade in this lab section is based entirely upon your lab reports.  Each lab report is worth 100 points.  Your lab report grades will be averaged together and factored in to your final course grade.  The lab grade is worth a total of 40% of your final grade.

Lab reports consist of a completed lab report form from your lab manual, type-written answers to all questions found in the lab report form, graphs of your data you are asked to prepare, and a sheet of sample calculations.

The lab report form may be found in your lab manual at the end of each lab exercise.  The Data section of the lab report form contains tables for you to fill in with data that you collect during a lab exercise.  The Results and Discussion section contains analysis questions about your data and study questions relevant to the lab topic.  The instructions for the lab exercise may indicate that several of these questions should be answered before you leave the lab for the day.  Take notes in a separate lab notebook regarding your answers to these questions so that this information is available as you complete your lab report at home.  Answers to the questions in the Results and Discussion section must be typed and double-spaced.

Graphs you are asked to generate must be prepared with a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel.  Make sure you label the axes, including units.  Label multiple curves appropriately, and include a title.

The sample calculation sheet may be hand-written on notebook paper.  Please write neatly and circle your final answers.  You should include an example of all calculations you needed to do to analyze your data and answer the Results and Discussion questions.  If you need to do the same calculation multiple times, you only need to include one sample.  Answers without supporting sample calculations will not receive credit.  

To complete a lab report, assemble your work in the following order:
Lab report form
Typewritten answers to questions
Sample calculations

Please DO NOT include the introduction, materials, or methods sections from your lab manual in your lab report.



Attending lecture is the best way to prepare for quizzes. While in lecture, you are expected to pay attention and participate in classroom activities (group problems, group discussions, question/answers periods). Reading the Minnesota Daily is not allowed. Cell phones should be turned off before coming to class.


Quizzes will cover assigned readings and lecture materials. The quiz may be handed out anytime during the lecture. If you have a pre-arranged, excused absence, you may make up your quiz. If you miss a quiz due to illness or traumatic event, you may not make it up, but if you bring a doctor’s note or other suitable documentation, that quiz will not be included in your final grade. Only two such missed quizzes will be allowed.

Late Policy

Lab reports are due at the beginning of your next lab period.  If you turn your lab report late, it will be subjected to a 10% reduction in grade.  Lab reports will not be accepted at all if they are more than a week late.

Lab Make-up policy

We encourage you to attend all lab activities during your assigned lab period.  If you must miss a lab, but can attend a lab session later in the week, contact your TA and arrange this ahead of time.  If you must miss a lab and cannot attend a later lab session, we will arrange a make-up lab for you provided you have a valid excuse.  Valid excuses are the sole discretion of your TA and lab manager, and are generally limited to illness, medical appointments, and family emergencies.  

Academic Integrity

You are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of the course materials, especially with your fellow students.  We encourage you to work with your lab partner(s) during setup, data collection, clean-up, and data analysis for a laboratory exercise.  However, graded laboratory assignments must be prepared independently.  This includes answers to questions in your lab reports as well as graphs you generate as you analyze your data.  Each student in a lab group must prepare their own lab report, and their answers should be written in their own words.  Failure to do so is plagiarism.    

Special Needs and Accommodations

Students needing special accommodations or services should contact Disability Services at  The needs for specialized services must be documented, verified by Disability Services, and presented to your TA by the second week of class.  We will do as much as we can to enhance your learning experience.

Diversity Issues

We recognize the diversity of our classroom.  Inappropriate remarks or behavior regarding the age, ethnicity, gender, handicap condition, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or others will not be tolerated.

IT 1101 Environmental Issues and Solutions
Laboratory Syllabus

1.        Population Growth
To become familiar with the concepts of:
problems associated with population growth
population growth calculations
factors affecting population growth
2.          Exotic Species Field Trip
To learn to identify various exotic species in Minnesota.
To gain an understanding of how exotic species can impact (physically and chemically alter) the ecosystem in which they are introduced.
3.        The Steady State Concept Applied to an Experimental System
To gain insight into the concept of steady state through the examination of an experimental system.
To become familiar with the techniques for measuring the concentrations of a colored chemical in water.
4.        Water Quality Sampling and Analysis (Field Trip)
To learn
what is plankton  
how to collect living samples for microscopic observation using plankton nets
how to measure and interpret water quality parameters such as transparency, dissolved oxygen and conductivity and evaluate their impact on plankton.  
5.        Microscopic Examination of Live Freshwater Plankton
To understand the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells
To become familiar with the distinguishing characteristics of some common members of the main groups of microscopic organisms (bacteria, algae, protozoa, fungi, rotifers, crustacea, worms)
To understand the concept of biological indicator and its utility
To learn how the microscope can be used to observe living samples invisible to the unaided eye

6.        Water Treatment – turbidity as a quality indicator
To illustrate some basic principles of water treatment that involve the removal of particles (i.e. turbidity) and color from water.
To assess variability in the measurement of environmental samples.
7.        Biochemical Oxygen Demand
Why and how biodegradable organic wastes impact natural waters
What is meant by the term BOD
How aeration increases DO
What might happen to the dissolved oxygen concentration in a river downstream of a sewage discharge
How biological wastewater treatment might be accomplished.
8.        Bacteriolgical Examination of Water (two weeks)
To become familiar with:
Common procedures used for culturing and isolating bacteria
Aseptic techniques for handling bacteria
Evaluating water quality with the Hetertrophic Plate Count and Total coliform tests

9. Indoor and outdoor air quality
Determine difference between indoor and outdoor air quality
Identify sources of air pollution
Become familiar with common gaseous air pollutants
Assess particulate levels in air

10. Hazardous Waste Treatment/Remediation
To illustrate methods (pH adjustment, redox manipulation) for removal of metals from waste streams
Evaluate the effectiveness of the removal methods and assess how toxic metals can be removed from waste streams.
Use colormetric methods to detect metals

Give a presentation on environmental topic. Skills learned include presentation preparation, public speaking, working as a team, and answering questions.

Old:  <no text provided>