Course Syllabus

---NOTE: This course code has changed from FDSCI 203 to GESCI 203. You may occasionally see references to the old course code or title.


As individuals, it is often difficult to see or understand the consequences our decisions, actions, or existence may have on our environment and those around us. The purpose of this class is to show the effects that each one of us has as a member of a worldwide population of over seven billion and the effects that our population has on local, regional, and global scales. The focus will be on how individually and collectively we impact the quality of our environment and human living conditions for both good and bad. Case studies will be used to examine an array of ecological, biological, agricultural, technological, economic, social, political, and other issues associated with a burgeoning human population. Class members will receive a foundation whereby they can make informed choices about their life, family, and community, and they can be better stewards of earth’s resources.



There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Resources

The only required item for this course is the software listed below. Other readings and resources are provided within the course. 

EcoBeaker: Isle Royale Simulation Software

This software must be accessed from SimBio Software via the SimUText portal. Details regarding this purchase and technical support are found on W04 Activity: SimBio Software Purchase. If desired, students may pay for the software using their student accounts. 

The course materials are available in the  Course Materials List .

The program can be bought directly through SimUText or the University Store.

Students must purchase their software before the beginning of Week 04.

Proctored Exams and Assessments

This course will use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. This makes it possible for students to take assessments and exams without a human proctor present. Proctored exams can be accessed like any other exam, once the software has been installed. Exams will be recorded by Proctorio and reviewed by the BYUI Testing Center. Any questionable exams will be forwarded to the instructor for further review.

For step-by-step instructions on Proctorio installation, please refer to  this help guide article  (Links to an external site.) .


Course Outcomes

  1. Identify personal biases that can affect our perspectives on environmental issues.
  2. Apply scientific principles and reasoning to critically evaluate information and data central to various environmental issues.
  3. Determine personal influences (both positive and negative) on environmental quality.
  4. Explore reasonable solutions to diminish or resolve environmental concerns both locally and globally.
  5. Develop a personal plan of action.
  6. Identify any moral or ethical obligations that can help or bless others.

Major Assignments

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes.

Major Assignment Description Course Outcome #
W03 Exam Exam on weeks 1-3
W05 Exam Exam on weeks 4-5
W07 Exam Exam on weeks 6-7
W09 Exam Exam on weeks 8-9
W11 Exam Exam on weeks 10-11
W14 Exam Exam on weeks 1-14

Weekly Patterns2

The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions. 

Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Midweek Ponder/Prove Assignment Write a paper on the topic of the week
End of Week Prove Quiz Quiz on the topic of the week.
End of Week Teach One Another Discussion Contribute to the discussion of the week

*Set your time zone within user preferences so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.

Learning Model

Students will use the BYU-I Learning Model as a pattern for each week’s activities. Each week has a study section which will prepare students to participate in the "Teach One Another" activities for the week (typically discussion boards). Students will ponder and prove their understandings by taking exams every other week and writing papers.

Grading Scale

Students' grades in this course will be based on their cumulative scores from assignments, group participation, exams, and other learning activities. The following is a breakdown of students' final grades:

Course Activity Percent Of Final Grade
Discussion boards 25%
Exercises 15%
Papers 35%
Exams 15%
Group presentation 5%
Final exam 5%

There will be many opportunities for students to assess their learning, participation, and performances; therefore, extra credit will not be extended to class members. As always, grades will be based on individual or group performance and participation, not on desire, effort, or time spent. Grades for this course will not be assigned using a normal or bell curve distribution (curving) but will be assigned using the standard BYU-Idaho grading scale.

Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 93%–100%
A- 90%–92%
B+ 87%–89%
B 83%–86%
B- 80%–82%
C+ 77%–79%
C 73%–76%
C- 70%–72%
D+ 67%–69%
D 63%–66%
D- 60%–62%
F below 60%


Online Tutoring Options for online students are available through the Academic Support Centers. There are tutors available to help students with writing questions, and there may be course-specific tutoring available. Check the details in the link provided.


Each student has a responsibility to carefully read assigned materials and instructions. Questions should be noted and directed to the instructor. Students also have the responsibility to contribute to others' learning by participating in discussion boards and reviewing material with partners.

This syllabus and the course schedule may be changed at any time prior to or during the semester as the need arises. Any changes will be available to view in the course documents.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office (Links to an external site.) at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations (Links to an external site.). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course may require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies (Links to an external site.). It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Getting Started and Course Navigation

To begin their work in the course, students must first finish reading this syllabus; then, they can work their way through all of the course pages in Week 01.

Each week, students should begin by reading the information on the "Study" pages.

Generally, students will work through the items in each week in the order in which they appear. However, at times, students may need to return later to a specific activity, such as a discussion board, in order to fully complete it.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due