Course Outline

Throughout the months of April (late) and May, students will be responsible for reading, and engaging in assigned online materials, and completing two online pre-field-trip assignments.  In July, students participate in the field experience during the summer semester wherein they explore select Cuban ecosystems while questioning the phenomena that are affecting the maintenance, loss, and restoration of the biological diversity within these fragile environments in wake of Cuba’s present economic realities and the global climate change and other environmental threats. Importantly, and pivotal to this program, following their field experience, CHANCE participants will develop group-based posters to showcase their research work, data, and interpretations that pertaining to an assigned research question related to Cuba’s environmental sustainability. These posters will be presented at an undergraduate research venue (TBA).

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 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

Cuba General

______/25 pts

B

Cuban Ecosystems

______/25 pts

C

Biodiversity

______/15 pts

D

Sustainability

______/25 pts

E

Global Climate Change Module

______/10 pts

 

TOTAL     

_____/100 pts

Online Pre-Trip Assignment #2

Section

Topic

Score

A

Regulations and Policies

______/70 pts

B

Primary Literature Articles

______/30 pts

 

TOTAL

_____/100 pts

Structured Field Journal

Section

Topic

Score

A

Field Questions

______/60 pts

B

Research Data Gathered

______/40 pts

 

TOTAL

_____/100 pts

Post-Trip Assignment

Section

Topic

Score

A

Reflections

______/40 pts

B

Poster Content

______/30 pts

C

Poster Presentation

______/30 pts

 

TOTAL

_____/100 pts

BIOL 496 or SUST 495 – Environmental Protection, Conservation, and the Sustainability of Cuban Ecosystems

  • 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).                   
                                     
BIOL 496 or SUST 495 A Field Practicum in Cuba

  • Structured Field Journal                      = 100 points
  • Post-Trip Reflections                            = 100 points
  • Post-Trip Poster                                  = 200 points
  • Post-Trip Poster Presentation               = 200 points
  • TOTAL POSSIBLE                              = 600 points

Class grades will be determined by a percentage scale based upon the total number of points available (600 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 web site 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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