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ERSC303 - Conservation of Natural Resources

Course Details

Course Code: ERSC303 Course ID: 4746 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course examines the ways in which modern economies use and conserve natural resources, and how the use of those resources impacts the environment. Resources are defined not just by their physical properties. They are, in part culturally defined. This necessitates investigating how cultures conceptualize resources, how economies value resources and what political and social institutions have been created to manage resource use. The extraction and use of resources has consequences for societies and their physical environment. This course explores these consequences through a survey of the major categories of resources and the issues associated with their extraction, use and conservation. It also examines the prospects for establishing more sustainable resource management. (Prerequisite: GEOG103)


Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
06/24/19 - 11/29/19 12/02/19 - 01/26/20 Fall 2019 Session D 8 Week session
09/30/19 - 02/28/20 03/02/20 - 04/26/20 Winter 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

1. Explain how societies define and value particular elements of the natural environment as resources.
2. Discriminate between different categories of resources, such as renewable and nonrenewable.
3. Analyze the impact of human population dynamics on resource use.
4. Summarize the major environmental impacts involved with using air, water and land resources.
5. Explain the criteria for sustainable resource use and its role in developing a sustainable society.
6. Describe the major challenges involved with using resources sustainably.
7. Deconstruct the special relationship between energy resources, society and the environment.
8. Assess the prospects of future energy sources in terms of their availability and sustainability.

Forum Assignments:

We can learn as much from each other and academic investigation as we will from the material. The purpose of the Forums is to develop our understanding of the weekly readings and forum topics. This participation is required. (WARNING: First Forum topic (Introduction) must be at least 250 words long. Your response must be submitted before the end of the first week, it is our way of confirming your attendance in the course. See instructions in classroom.)

For each forum, all students should respond to the forum topics indicated in the Forums area to express their understanding of the issue and ability to research academic information to add to the discussion. You are expected to provide a substantial comment of several well-written paragraphs in each forum. You are also required to post a substantial comment or reflection in reply to at least two other students’ contributions. All sources must be cited correctly and posts must use appropriate writing styles and grammar for academic work. Criteria for evaluation will include proper application of concepts from the required readings. Statements such as “I agree” or “good post” will not count as a reply. The grading rubric is provided in the classroom.


There will be 2 exams. The format of the exams will be mainly short answer and essay questions. You may use the book during exams, although they will be constructed so that you must do the reading before you take the test. You may not use any other resource during exams, and using a resource other than the textbook is a violation of the university academic honesty policy. All answers must be in your own words.

Final Presentation:

For this assignment, you will prepare a quality 15 minute presentation, such as you might deliver in a professional or academic setting, on a problem related to the conservation of natural resources. Your topic should be specific enough for you to introduce it, describe it, and discuss and assess potential solutions within the time allotted. You must reference at least 7 to 10 academic sources (peer review papers, government or non-profit reports, etc.). Being able to distill and present complex ideas is a vital skill for scientists to have, and one purpose of this presentation is to give you experience in doing this.

You will be using an online tool called Prezi ( to construct your presentation. Prezi allows you to construct a presentation similar to but more dynamic than a PowerPoint presentation, upload your speaking, and deliver via the web. Be sure to register for the free educational account, as that will allow you to keep your prezis hidden, and only people to whom you give the URL of the prezi to will be able to view it. If, for any reason, you cannot use Prezi, please contact the instructor for alternative arrangements.

Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

NameGrade %
Forums 40.00 %
Week 1 Forum 5.00 %
Week 2 Forum 5.00 %
Week 3 Forum 5.00 %
Week 4 Forum 5.00 %
Week 5 Forum 5.00 %
Week 6 Forum 5.00 %
Week 7 Forum 5.00 %
Week 8 Forum 5.00 %
Assignment: Final Project 30.00 %
Assignment 1: Annotated Bibliography (due Week 3) 10.00 %
Assignment 3: Final Presentation with Narration (due Week 7) 10.00 %
Assignment 2: Outline (due Week 5) 10.00 %
Exams 30.00 %
Midterm Exam 15.00 %
Final Exam 15.00 %

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at
Book Title:Natural Resource Conservation: Management for a Sustainable Future, 10th ed - the VitalSource e-book is provided inside the classroom
Publication Info:VS-Pearson
Unit Cost:$174.18
Electronic ISBN:9781269590785
Electronic Unit Cost:$37.80

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.