RCNSCI 110 - Introduction to Global Change: The Science Behind Sustainability
Fall 2020, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Natural Sciences (RCNSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.

Details

Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
BS, NS
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
BS:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Instructor:

Description

Every day, human and natural activities are altering the planet on which we live. Through our increasing resource consumption, population growth, disturbance of natural systems, and technological advancement, we are changing the global climate and environment in a manner that is unique over Earth’s history. Many of these changes are degrading the physical and biological processes that underpin Earth’s life-support systems, which poses a great challenge for society in this century.

This course, Global Change — the Science of Sustainability, investigates the causes and impacts of these changes using a combination of traditional lecture-based and modern digital teaching methodologies. The course surveys the evolution and interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes on Earth; how past changes on Earth help us predict the future, especially with respect to climate change; and how fundamental principles of science establish the sustainability of human activities on Earth. Students apply learned knowledge by using ‘systems modeling’ and spreadsheet software to investigate the dynamics of natural systems and examine case studies of relevant environmental problems.

The course curriculum provides excellent opportunities to conduct research on topics of interest to the students, culminating in a course project presented at the end of the academic term. The interactive laboratory exercises provide students the opportunity to use software tools to examine how natural systems function as well as develop projections of the future consequences of changes in the environment. And, perhaps most important of all, students will have ample time for discussion of critical issues in natural resources and sustainability, and the role of environmental science in policy and society as a whole. All topics are developed in a manner that students will find both accessible and interesting. After the course, students should be able to discern sound science from biased claims and will have a foundation for making informed decisions about sustainable practices in their own lives.

You will discuss...

  • Current and Projected Global Change (e.g., Climate Change and Biodiversity)
  • The Role of the Individual as a Citizen of the Planet
  • How to distinguish “fake news” from substantiated facts
  • Case Studies of Regional and Global Change and Sustainability Issues

You will create...

  • Models of Interacting Systems that Give Insight into the Collision Between Natural and Societal Processes
  • A research presentation on a Topic of your choice Related to Global Change and Sustainability

Topics that are covered include...

  • Evolution of our Universe and Planet:
    • Big Bang Theory
    • Radiation Laws
    • Planetary Energy Budget
    • The Age of the Earth
    • Plate Tectonics
    • Biological Evolution
    • The Fossil Record of Life
  • Earth's Climate and its Controls:
    • Life Processes and Earth Systems
    • The Great Ice Ages
    • Atmospheric Circulation and Weather
    • Climate and Paleoclimate
    • Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming
    • Sea Level Change
    • El Niño events
  • Biodiversity and the Tree of Life:
    • Emergence of Complex Life
    • Formation and Extinction of Species
    • The Biodiversity Crisis
    • Natural Selection
    • Respiration and Photosynthesis
    • Ecological interactions
    • Ecosystems
  • Sustainability and Projected Ecological Consequences:
    • Shifting Climate and Water Resources, and their Impacts on Life
    • Current Threats to the Services that Ecosystems Provide to Society
    • Environmental Pollution
    • Land-use Change and the Sustainability of Agriculture
    • The Demise of Tropical Forests and the Dwindling of Biodiversity

Course Requirements:

The course grade is based on two midterm exams, a final exam, completion of laboratory modules, and a course project based on some aspect of global change and sustainability.

Intended Audience:

There are no prerequisites for the course and no science background is assumed. The course is appropriate for all undergraduate students, irrespective of intended major.

Class Format:

Synchronous

Schedule

RCNSCI 110 - Introduction to Global Change: The Science Behind Sustainability
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 Online
30188
Closed
0
 
-
MWF 12:00PM - 1:00PM
002 (LAB)
 Online
30192
Closed
0
 
-
M 5:30PM - 7:30PM
003 (LAB)
 Online
30196
Closed
0
 
-
M 1:00PM - 3:00PM
004 (LAB)
 Online
30200
Closed
0
 
-
Tu 9:00AM - 11:00AM
005 (LAB)
 Online
30204
Closed
0
 
-
Tu 11:00AM - 1:00PM
006 (LAB)
 Online
30208
Closed
0
 
-
W 1:00PM - 3:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for RCNSCI 110.001

View/Buy Textbooks

Syllabi

Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

No Syllabi are on file for RCNSCI 110. Click the button below to search for a different syllabus (UM login required)

Search for Syllabus

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)