Course Outline

In March and April (2017), students will read the online materials including links to peer-reviewed research articles, carry-out select CHANCE online research modules, and complete two online pre-field-trip assignments. In May, students will participate in the field experience during the summer semester wherein they explore the biodiversity of select tropical rainforest ecosystems while questioning the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance and loss of the biological diversity within these fragile environments through research. Importantly, and pivotal to this program, CHANCE field participants will create group-based professional PowerPoints of their research methods, data, and interpretations at the end of their field journey and present their work at a CHANCE symposium at OTS, La Selva. **(400 level students lead the 200 level students in this process as per instructors’ supervision).  All students will also participate in a conservation-based project (TBD). In July and August, participants must complete an online post-field-trip assignment.

All pre-trip assignments will be posted in Canvas. Overall, assignments should be typed and submitted according to the format outlined on the assignment sheet. Late assignments will be docked 10% per day.

Evaluation Methods

Scoring Rubric for Pre-Trip Assignments, Structured Field Journal and Notebook, and Post-Trip Assignment

Level of Achievement

General Approach

Content/Thoroughness

Exemplary
(
90-100%)

  • Addresses all of the questions.
  • Presents a relevant, justifiable answer.
  • Presents information in a logical manner.
  • Uses acceptable style and grammar (no errors).
  • Demonstrates an accurate and complete understanding of the questions.
  • Provides complete, thoughtful answers to all questions.
  • Cites sources of information (when required).

Adequate
(75-90%)

  • Does not address all of the questions explicitly, although does so tangentially.
  • States a relevant and justifiable answer.
  • Presents information in a logical order.
  • Uses acceptable style and grammar (few errors)
  • Demonstrates accurate, but only adequate, understanding of questions.
  • Does not back conclusions with information.
  • Cites sources of information (when required).
  • Less thorough than above

Needs Improvement
(50-75%)

  • Does not address all of the questions.
  • States few relevant answers.
  • Indicates misconceptions.
  • Is not clearly or logically organized.
  • Fails to use acceptable style and grammar (numerous errors).
  • Does not demonstrate accurate understanding of the question.
  • Does not provide evidence to support the answer to the question.
  • Lacks citations when required

Poor or No Answer
(0-50%)

 

Online Pre-Trip Assignment #1

Section

Topic

Score

A

Costa Rica

______/25 pts

B

OTS

______/25 pts

C

Biodiversity

______/15 pts

D

Global Climate Change Module

______/25 pts

E

Inquiry

______/10 pts

 

TOTAL     

_____/100 pts

Online Pre-Trip Assignment #2

Section

Topic

Score

A

Future of Life Questions

______/70 pts

B

Primary Literature Articles

______/30 pts

 

TOTAL

_____/100 pts

Structured Field Journal and Notebook

Section

Topic

Score

A

Field Questions Posed

______/60 pts

B

Research Data Gathered

______/40 pts

 

TOTAL

_____/100 pts

Post-Trip Assignment

Section

Topic

Score

A

Reflections

______/40 pts

B

Rainforest Conservation

______/30 pts

C

Rainforest Sustainability

______/30 pts

 

TOTAL

_____/100 pts

Biology 296 and 496 – Conservation and Sustainability of the Tropical Rainforest

  • Online Assignment #1   = 100 points
  • Online Assignment #2   = 100 points
  • TOTAL POSSIBLE        = 200 points  

Class grades will be determined by a percentage scale based upon the total number of points available (200 points).                   
                                     
Biology 296 and 496A Field Practicum in Costa Rica

  • Structured Field Journal and Notebook   = 100 points
  • Field Research Presentation                   = 300 points
  • Post-Trip Assignment                            = 100 points
  • TOTAL POSSIBLE                                = 500 points

Class grades will be determined by a percentage scale based upon the total number of points available (500 points).

Penn State University letter grade equivalents:

94-100

A

90-94

A-

87-89

B+

84-87

B

80-83

B-

75-79

C+

70-75

C

60-69

D

0-59

F

 

Academic Dishonesty:

PSU Rule 49-20 Academic Integrity: “Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution.  Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. A student charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charges by the instructor. If the instructor believes that the infraction is sufficiently serious to warrant referral of the case to Judicial Affairs or if the instructor will award a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the instructor will be afforded formal due process.” (43)

Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses and may be punished by failure on the assignment and/or failure in the course.

Note to students with disabilities: Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact Disability Services located at 610-285-5124. For further information regarding the Office of Disability Services, please visit their website at www.equity.psu.edu/ods/. Instructors should be notified as early in the semester as possible regarding the need for reasonable academic adjustments.

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