Projects

Update: 9/3/2021


Values into Practice

An OWU education – and this course – has three primary goals:

The course project also has these goals. It is intended to get you thinking and learning about and researching environmental and sustainability issues. There will be an emphasis on identifying your environmental values, learning specific, transferable skills, and generating a proposal for a viable, applied project. That’s a lot of stuff.


The project entails four delightful steps:

Chapter Review + Values + Focus Topics: Begin with one chapter (9-17) from our course text: RHM: Paul Robbins, John Hintz, and Sarah A. Moore, Environment & Society: A Critical Introduction (2nd edition). Write a 6-page review of the chapter. Identify your personal environmental values and use those to select three particular topics of interest from the RHM chapter you reviewed. (Go to Details below)
Focus Topic + Annotated Bibliography + Draft TPG Proposal: Select one of your three focus topics. Locate at least two relevant books, two relevant articles, and two relevant WWW sources on the topic. Write a 250-300 word review of each of your sources. Based on your environmental values, general reading (the chapter), and your specific resources, develop a 3-page draft TPG proposal that could be implemented (in the future, outside of this class), putting your values into practice solving an environmental problem. (Go to Details below)
Presentation: Present your work to the class at the end of the semester. (Go to Details below)
Course Project Synthesis: Combine your revised chapter review (already complete) with your Annotated Bibliography (with minor revisions if needed), Specific Project Proposal, a link to your presentation or presentation notes, and assess the entire project and what you learned (Go to Details below)

Conscientiousness turns out to be the most important attribute of successful college students and is also important in the workplace (more info).

  • “Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior, and they are generally dependable.”

Subscribe to ENVS 100.1 Calendar:

  1. On your computer, open Google Calendar.
  2. On the left, next to “Other calendars,” click Add  Addand then Subscribe to calendar.
  3. Copy & paste this address in the Add calendar field, where prompted:
    owu.edu_pgg3cf6e7s9tj6evcbnc69lfk0@group.calendar.google.com
  4. Press Enter. The calendar will appear on the left side under “Other calendars” as ENVS 100.1 Intro to E&S Spring 2021

Subscribe to the OWU Academic Calendar

  1. On your computer, open Google Calendar.
  2. On the left, next to “Other calendars,” click Add  Addand then Subscribe to calendar.
  3. Copy & paste this address in the Add calendar field, where prompted:
    owu.edu_vl2d8chfrg995vsn2rjnossosg@group.calendar.google.com
  4. Press Enter. The calendar will appear on the left side under “Other calendars” as Academic Calendar – OWU.

Sharing your work with Instructor: this is how you turn stuff in

  • Go to your OWU Drive account
  • Create a new folder with the course and your last name
    • +New button (upper left) >> then Folder
    • Robert Smith’s folder would be: ENVS 100.1 Smith
    • Share that folder with me (so I can edit)

When you are ready to turn in your work: for example, the 6-page chapter review

  • put the document in the shared folder
  • email me that your document is in the shared folder and ready for me to review

Resources for course and project:

Additional Resources:


Chapter Review + Values + Focus Topics

  1. Write a personal review of one RHM chapter, from 9-17, focusing on the key issues, debates, and controversies surrounding the topic.
  2. Present the content of your chapter together with one or two of your fellow kids in the class.

You will be inverse randomly assigned a chapter, which you will read and review by yourself, and present with a few fellow kids in the class

Assigned chapters and students:

ENVS 100.1, Section 2, 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM EST (20 students)

Name RHM CH
Maddy Grothouse 09. Carbon Dioxide
Kyle Switzer 09. Carbon Dioxide
Alexis Yracheta 10. Trees
Savannah Domenech 10. Trees
Alyssa O’Sullivan 11. Wolves
Maizy Pratt 11. Wolves
Katherine Dunn 12. Uranium
Ethan Shaw 12. Uranium
Logan Honchul 13. Tuna
Dory Naftzger 13. Tuna
Anabel Benes 14. Lawns
Abby Charlton 14. Lawns
Ethan McNichols 14. Lawns
Madi Cartnal 15. Bottled Water
Gwen Godsey 15. Bottled Water
Alayna McMullen 15. Bottled Water
Michael Hughes 15. French Fries
Grace Kopelcheck 15. French Fries
Lydia Luna 17. E-Waste
*Sam Marshall 17. E-Waste

ENVS 100.1, Section 1, 11:00 AM – 11:50 PM EST (18 students)

Name RHM CH
Marge Grote 09. Carbon Dioxide
Jennifer Garner 09. Carbon Dioxide
Tyler Neal 10. Trees
McKenna Tuttle 10. Trees
Jonathan Munroe 11. Wolves
Sam Wernert 11. Wolves
Amelia Thrasher 12. Uranium
Tirth Patel 12. Uranium
Kolin Bowdle 13. Tuna
Meghan Means 13. Tuna
Eliot Spicer 14. Lawns
Baylin Bell 14. Lawns
Annika Green 15. Bottled Water
Lizzi Nagy 15. Bottled Water
Maddie Coleman 15. French Fries
Chelsea Edington 15. French Fries
Ella Florkey 17. E-Waste
Evania Nogueras 17. E-Waste
  1. Write a personal review of one RHM chapter, from 9-17, focusing on the key issues, debates, and controversies surrounding the topic.

For your personal chapter review: Assume you are writing a report on the chapter topic that will be presented to interested non-experts. Thus you need to clearly and coherently present the topic to your reader. This review should be 6 pages long, typed (double spaced). RHM chapters 9-17 (“Objects of Interest”) in part depend on content in the first half of the book (“Approaches and Perspectives, chapters 2-8) which we will be working through in lectures. Thus there may be some concepts you run into that we have not yet discussed in class. No biggie. Look it up!

Suggested format of Chapter Review + Values + Focus Topics:

  • Include your name and indicate that the following book is the source of your review: Paul Robbins, John Hintz, and Sarah A. Moore, Environment & Society: A Critical Introduction (2nd edition). Wiley/Blackwell 2014. Indicate the name of your chapter. Cite any other sources you use.
  • 1 page: Summarize the chapter: Note key concepts and issues. Write this summary so that you communicate, in one page, what the environmental object discussed in the chapter is about.
  • 3 pages: Review the main concepts, ideas, and issues in the chapter: What are the most urgent environmental issues surrounding the object discussed in the chapter? What are the most important concepts that help understand the object? Who are the major players involved in the problem (industry, government, etc.)? What are the solutions to the problem? What are the main impediments to solutions?
  • 1 page: Assessment of your personal environmental values. See Assessing Your Environmental Values.
  • 1 page: Three Focus Topics: The last part of your chapter review should be an assessment of what you think are three interesting and vital issues raised in the chapter. Each should have the potential for a practical project (which you will propose). That practical project could happen on campus, as part of future research, an internship, etc. The goal is to get you starting to think about practical, engaged project possibilities while learning the skills to develop such project proposals. For example, if you review the Lawns chapter you might end up with a project proposal to investigate ways to reduce lawn chemicals at OWU, or study (with a TPG grant) the impact of lawn chemicals on bees, or seek an internship with a firm (possibly with alumni connections) developing alternatives to chemical lawn care, or design a project to promote and educate homeowners about the impact of lawn chemicals. If you review the Wolves chapter, you might choose a lateral topic, such as a proposal to investigate species being reintroduced in Ohio (River Otters, Ospreys, Peregrine falcons, Trumpeter swans) and subsequent controversies and problems.
  • You will present, briefly, your three ideas in class and get plenty of feedback (in and outside of class) which should help you to select one of the three topics to focus on for the rest of the project.

2. Present the content of your chapter together with one or two of your fellow kids in the class.

Check the course schedule for the day you are scheduled to present your chapter. Coordinate with your fellow kids.

Put together a presentation: Go to the schedule and find the page for your chapter: click on it and you will find resources (slides and links) to use for your presentation. To modify the slides: File >> Download >> Microsoft Powerpoint. You can immediately upload the .ppt file to your Google Slides, or make the modifications and present them in PowerPoint

Revisions to Chapter Review: You may revise your chapter review for a better grade. See due date below. Please revise the original document. If you get help with the revisions from the Writing Center, have them work on the original document. Google Docs tracks all changes, and this allows me to see what you revised.

Important Dates for Chapter Review + Values + Focus Topics:

  • Assigned Friday, Sept. 3: RHM chapter & presentation date
  • Friday, Sept. 10: Discussion of Chapter Review, Values, Ideas for Specific Project (email to instructor)
  • Due Friday, Sept. 17 (shared with instructor + email me): RHM Chapter Review (6 pages)
  • Due Monday, Nov. 1 (if requested, shared with instructor + email me): Revisions of RHM Chapter Review. Please contact the OWU Writing Center for an appointment.

Focus Topic + Annotated Bibliography + Draft TPG Proposal

Focus Topic

At the end of your chapter review, you defined three topics of interest related to the issues discussed in the chapter. Select one of the three topics as your focus topic. Think about a practical project you could engage in in the context of your focus topic. It can be on campus, linked to a semester abroad or internship, focused on lab research, or whatever you want. Anything goes (no topics on whales). You will locate, at minimum, the following resources related to your focus topic:

  • two relevant books from OWU and affiliated libraries
  • two relevant articles from reputable journals via OWU Library online resources
  • two relevant and substantial WWW sources

Help locating relevant sources will be provided by your instructor and the science librarian at OWU. It is important that you learn how to locate resources from a diversity of sources, and that you learn how to assess the quality and relevance of these resources. Class time will be spent assisting you in both of these endeavors.

It is vital that you determine the best sources for learning more about your focus topic, then seek those sources wherever they may be. Do not select sources only because they are easy to find (full-text articles on the WWW or a book that just happens to be on the shelf at Beeghly). You may have to order an article through interlibrary loan or get a book from another campus. It may take weeks for such sources to get to you at OWU – thus you cannot wait until the last minute to get sources.

Suggested format of Annotated Bibliography: Six pages totes

  • One page: Introductory material
    • 1/2 page: description of your project focus topic
    • 1/2 page: comment on your process for finding your sources: problems, how you solved them, role of librarian or instructor in the process, use of interlibrary loan, any shifts or changes in your focus topic as you found resources.
  • Five pages: Six annotated bibliography entries: about 300-400 words per source (book sources may be a bit longer).

Annotated Bibliography Entry Format

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. For each of your sources include the following (source): Please number the four sections of each of your annotated bibliography entries to help your instructor:

  1. The source with an appropriate citation style. Many of the library resources you used to find your sources include the ability to export your source in a particular citation style. Pick one and try to stick to it. Information on citation styles.
  2. Summarize: What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is. For more help, see paraphrasing sources.
  3. Assess: After summarizing a source, evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source? For more help, see evaluating resources.
  4. Reflect: Once you’ve summarized and assessed a source, ask how it fits into your research project. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Examples of an annotated bibliography entry:

1. Bukhary, S., Ahmad, S., & Batista, J. (2018). Analyzing land and water requirements for solar deployment in the Southwestern United States. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82, 3288-3305. doi:10.1016/J.RSER.2017.10.016

2. This article focuses on the land and water requirements for solar energy development in the Southwestern United States. This article highlights the fact that both CSP and solar photovoltaic (PV) have benefited from new technology which reduces the cost of these systems. However, it also highlights the fact that both forms of solar energy require large amounts of water for initial development as well as for sustained use. This is a potential problem for certain areas in the world, like the Southwestern United States. Although they have abundant solar potential, the lack of water may be a huge shortcoming. The study gathered data about land and water use and analyzed it in order to better understand how much and of what kind of solar energy was feasible. The results generated a model that can be used to judge if an area has suitable land and water requirements.

3. This article is reliable and was published within a review on renewable and sustainable energy. The authors are clearly invested in the scientific method and in discovering more about solar energy generation. This source is useful because it is discussing the land use requirements as well as looking at the ways in which we can potentially deal with them.

4. This source fits with my project because it directly addresses my questions about land use requirements and developed a scientific method for evaluating other areas’ potential land. The source also presented me with the issue of water as a requirement for solar energy. This is something that I hadn’t been exposed to before. Learning that water is a potential requirement for solar energy generation is very important to my project and is something that I will need to include within my report.

A few environmentally-themed annotated bibliographies:

Details about citation style and writing an annotated bibliography will be presented in class.

Draft TPG Proposal 

Based on your environmental values, general reading (the chapter), and your specific resources, develop a 3-page draft TPG proposal that could be implemented, putting your values into practice.

You are not required to actually submit this proposal, nor pursue the topic beyond this course. Unless you want to! The point is to learn about OWU’s famous TPG grant program and the nuts and bolts of developing a proposal.

We will follow the format suggested for OWU Theory-to-Practice (TPG) grants. Read the TPG grant page (to familiarize yourself with the grant program). Then use section “(A) The proposal must include” and “(B) The budget proposal” as the format for your specific project proposal. Include the section titles for the TPG in your draft TPG.

Institutional Review Board (IRB): “Ohio Wesleyan University is responsible for ensuring that research activities conducted under its auspices do not violate the rights and welfare of human subjects.” If your project involves work with human subjects, review OWU’s guidelines for such research and how to proceed if your proposed research requires IRB approval.

Citations: Grant proposals can contain citations, obviously if you use a quote or want to refer to a source as an important foundation for your proposed project. Citing important sources also makes the proposal look academically sound and professional.

As this is a shorter, draft proposal for class, rather than a real TPG grant, you can cut down on the length and speculate (say on the budget items or planned activities) but include information on all these components of the grant. The point here is for you to understand what you need to do when you pursue an actual TPG grant and actually put a draft of one together.

You may also refer to the Small Grants Program (commonly known as SIP grants). These are typically for $750 or less and have a shorter turn-around time. The application form is linked to that page or can be found here.

Advice on Proposals: OWU Connection Mentors: Merrick Mentors are now available to meet virtually with students regarding feedback on proposals. To schedule a meeting email mentors@owu.edu. Although TPG travel is restricted, the Mentors and other folks in Merrick have been discussing future options with students.

Important Dates for Focus Topic + Annotated Bibliography + Draft TPG Proposal:

  • Due Friday, Sept. 10: Share  your rough ideas for focus topics with the class and email to instructor by 4 pm
  • Due Friday, Oct. 1: Share refined focus topic idea with class
  • Due Friday, Oct. 8: Focus topic emailed to instructor by 4 pm
  • Monday, Oct. 11, Wednesday, Oct 18, and Friday, October 20: Finding Focus Topic Sources
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27: share at least one source with class
  • Due Friday, Nov. 5: Share focus topic sources (2 books, 2 articles, 2 WWW sources, with proper citation style) by 4 pm.
  • Monday, Nov. 8: Annotated Bibliography & Draft TPG Proposal & Final Presentation Workshop
  • Due Wednesday, Nov. 17: Share annotated bibliography (250-300 words per source) & email instructor by 4 pm.
  • Due Monday, Nov. 29: Share draft of Draft TPG proposal (2-3 pages) & email instructor by 4 pm.

Presentation of Course Projects

Each student should prepare a 15-minute presentation (with about a minute for setup and a minute or three for questions at the end). You should spend most of the time on your focus topic and specific project proposal, but also touch on the context of the topic (the RHM chapter or wherever the idea came from). All presentations must use PowerPoint or Google Slides or something equivalent for the presentation. Put your slides in the class shared folder.

Non-presenters: Please think up one question for each presenter. Write it on the back of the presentation evaluation form (below).

Slides: Provide a title and your name. Use images, outlines, and define terms. Please avoid showing videos, unless they are videos you made yourself, as this is substituting someone else’s presentation as your presentation.

Talk through your presentation once or twice. If you are unsure of how to pronounce a word, look up the pronunciation. There are short videos of people pronouncing just about every word in the world.

Don’t waste time getting your presentation going: Please check that your slides work prior to your presentation and have them ready to go before your presentation starts.

More information on how to organize and present material is available on the course Presentation Skills page.

You will have a copy of the presentation evaluation form for each presentation. Please fill it out for each presenter, and write out at least one question on the back of the form.

Important Dates for Course Project Presentations:

  • Monday, Nov. 8: Annotated Bibliography & Draft TPG Proposal & Final Presentation (Presentation SkillsWorkshop
  • Presentations begin Wednesday, Nov. 17
  • You will be evaluated by your fellow students (written comments). Attendance is required (and failure to attend presentations will adversely affect your course project grade)

Course Project Synthesis

You are not required to write a final paper as part of your course project. Instead, consider your Presentation and a Project Synthesis as the final products. The Project Synthesis (due at end of scheduled final exam period) consists of a single document (saved in the shared class folder) with all this stuff in it:

  1. An assessment of your entire project and what you learned
  2. Your Chapter Review (already completed)
  3. Your Annotated Bibliography (already completed)
  4. Your Specific Project Proposal (already completed)
  5. A link to your presentation (already completed, and saved in the shared class folder)

Please include appropriate headers for each section above.

Assessment: About 3 pages

  • 1 page: Discuss what you have learned about your topic and about the research process. Refer to the chapter review and presentations, library research skills, annotated bibliography, and specific project proposal and presentation. Comment on the structure of the project – was the way we engaged it, step by step, over the entire semester helpful? What was the most useful thing you learned? Suggest problems and improvements that could be made in future versions of the course.
  • 1/2 page: Conscientiousness turns out to be the most important attributes of successful college students, and is also important in the workplace (more info).
    • “Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior; and they are generally dependable.”
    • ENVS 100.1 contains a complex (and thus realistic) project with many steps, lots of due dates, revisions; it might just be set up this way to assess your conscientiousness, which is vital to success in college and life. Thus, assess your own conscientiousness in this class, how it could improve (in general) for you, and if you think it is important to success in college and career.
  • 1/2 page: This course had no exams or quizzes. Did this affect your learning of the course material? Should quizzes or exams be added to this class in the future? Why or why not?
  • 1/2 page: Review the Transferable Skills page and comment on five skills learned in the course
  • 1/2 page: What you think you should get for a grade on the course project and why. Please note the grade you got on the Chapter Review and the Annotated Bibliography/Specific Project Proposal and compare the quality of your Presentation compared to other student presentations in the course. Please note any changes you have made to the project (such as adjustments to the Annotated Bibliography) which may support a higher grade than you were originally given. Take into account your ability to get work in on time (or not!). Please justify the grade you think you deserve.

Your final grade for the course project consists of:

  • 100 pts: Chapter Review & Presentation
  • 100 pts: Sources and Annotated Bibliography
  • 100 pts: Project Proposal & Presentation
  • 100 pts: Project Synthesis & Attendance & Improvement & Keywords

Revisions to Annotated Bibliography & Project Proposal: If you make substantial changes to either (besides just accepting my suggested grammar edits) please let me know in a note at the start of the Project Synthesis so I can review those documents.

Keywords: You can add missed keywords from each of my lectures up to the last day of classes. Students will be sent an email with the link to the submitted keywords so you can check which keywords you have already submitted. Keyword (form here). (PS: the chapters and lectures cover the same material, so you can pull your keywords from the chapter or my lectures on each chapter). Please let me know in a note at the start of the Project Synthesis that you have completed the keywords.

Important Dates for Course Project Summary & Synthesis:

  • DUE: Course Project Summary & Synthesis due at the end of the scheduled final exam period.