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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 17-May-23

Summer 2023 | ENV-2010-VO01 - Moving Toward Sustainability

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 05-23-2023 to 08-14-2023
Last day to drop without a grade: 06-12-2023 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-10-2023 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Donald De Voil
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Catherine Garland

Browse the Canvas Site for this class.

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following VSC General Education Requirement(s) for Catalog Year 21-22 and later:
Natural Science
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the concept of sustainability and systems theory – that various systems influence one another within a larger system. Students utilize methods and analytical tools to explore complexity from a systems perspective. Students explore ecological systems at various scales and develop an understanding and appreciation for their inter-connectedness. Emphasis on a vision for the future with practical applications for today is emphasized. Field trips may be required.

Essential Objectives

1. Use the scientific method to gain an understanding of the basic concepts of ecology, including the major earth systems.
2. Discuss the concept of sustainability from a systems perspective.
3. Explore the impacts of social justice problems on environmental issues such as global energy use, climate change, mining, and water resources.
4. Apply case studies to discuss the application of systems thinking to a variety of social, ecological, and organizational contexts.
5. Apply systems thinking methodologies and tools to describe and analyze complex problems.
6. Analyze the influence of resources, ethics, culture, politics, and economics in the promotion and support of sustainable practices on global, national, local and personal levels.
7. Discuss laws and politics related to sustainability that influence how we manage the complexities of our natural systems.
8. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, applying, and evaluating the accuracy of data and information sources.
9. Explain how knowledge created in the natural sciences has contributed to the creation, maintenance and dismantling of social inequalities and discuss the impacts of diversity and inclusion on scientific research and practice.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

*** This is a low cost ($50 or less) textbook or resource class ***

ENV-2010-VO01 Link to Textbooks/Resources Information for this course in eCampus.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


A variety of teaching methods will be used in this course including:

  • Online class discussions
  • Interactive online activities
  • Documentary films and webinar presentations
  • Regular assessments
  • Student research and presentation

Evaluation Criteria


Course grades will be calculated as follows:

  • 20% mid-semester presentation
  • 40% four short assignments (10% each) distributed throughout the semester
  • 40% course participation

Please Note: Detailed guidelines and grading criteria for individual evaluated assignments and course participation, will be provided as separate documents in the resources module at the top of the online course site.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Week 1: May 23 - 29 What is Sustainability?



Week 2: May 30 – June 5 Science and Sustainability



Week 3: June 6 - 12 Sustainability and Energy


First Short Assignment (Sustainability and You paper) deadline



Week 4: June 13 - 19 Sustainability and Progress



Week 5: June 20 - 26 Moving Towards Sustainable Food & Agriculture


Second Short Assignment (Myth of Progress test) deadline



Week 6: June 27 – July 3 Moving Towards Sustainable Consumption



Week 7: July 4 - 10 Measuring Our Impacts on Sustainability


Third Short Assignment (Individual Fieldtrip Report) deadline



Week 8: July 11 - 17 Moving Towards Sustainable Buildings



Week 9: July 18 - 24 Moving Towards Sustainable Cities


Forth Short Assignment (Make A Change paper) deadline



Week 10: July 25 - 31 Moving Towards Sustainable Design



Week 11: Aug. 1 – 7 Moving Towards Sustainable Energy


Presentations deadline



Week 12: Aug. 8 - 14 Presentations Viewing and Course Wrap Up


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Course Participation Expectations

Most of the communication that takes place in this course will be asynchronous and will occur in discussion forums. These discussion forums are a 'classroom' space in which information can be seen by everyone registered for the course. If students need to communicate privately with the instructor or vice versa, CCV email will be used for such purposes.

Given the nature of academia, all written communication in this course should be made in proper English. As such, written communication should not include short hand or abbreviations (as is used when texting), slang or profanity. Students should read over and check all written course contributions before submitting them, in an effort to remove spelling and grammatical mistakes, and communicate clearly. All course participation should also be considered and respectful. Discussions typically benefit from diversity of opinion, but when disagreement does occur, this should not become personal and hurtful in nature. For example, to disagree with something another in the class has said by proposing an alternative argument is absolutely fine. To disagree by simply saying their argument is 'stupid' (or worse still, that they are 'stupid'), would not be.

Course Participation Grading

Weekly discussion forums will be a central and important component of this course. Students should expect to spent significant time thinking about and writing their own posts, as well as reading and responding to other people's. Students are expected to read all posts made in the course discussion forums. Students are also expected to make at least 6 contributions to the discussion forums each week and post on at least 2 different days during any given week, with their first contribution occurring before the end of Friday. This convention is important, because effective dialogue can only proceed if students post early in the week and then check back in on discussions subsequently.

When posting, students are expected to write in complete sentences using proper English. Please proof posts to remove spelling and grammatical mistakes before submitting them to a discussion forum. Posts should be written in the student's own words (copying and pasting sections of text written by another person into a discussion forum without indicating you are using direct quotation, will be considered plagiarism.)

For each weekly module of the course, students will be given a participation score from 0 to 10 for their contributions to that week's discussion forums. The average of these scores at the end of the semester will generate a student's overall course participation grade, which makes up 40% of the final course grade. Detailed guidelines on how participation grades will be awarded, will be provided in a separate document that will be posted in the 'Course resources' module in the online course site.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Late Work Policy:

Extensions for late posting in discussion forums will be granted only in extenuating circumstances. Students who know that they will not have course access for any given week should make arrangements with their instructor in advance to complete assignments and participation requirements prior to the absence. Evaluated assignments that are submitted late and where no extension has been granted prior to the deadline, may still be accepted as the instructor's discretion, but will be assessed a 'missed deadline' penalty. This will begin as a 5% penalty, which will increase by a further 1% for each subsequent day that the assignment is overdue, capping at a 25%.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.