Issues in Environmental Pollution (11:035:268)

Note: This syllabus is for general information about the course. The instructor will provide you with an updated syllabus specific for the semester of enrollment.

Course Description

2 credits. Online. Current environmental issues are discussed, including the key topics of pollutants in our air, land, and water. The New Jersey Comparative Risk Assessment manual is used as a starting point for general information along with the EPA websites Tox Town and Scorecard, which contain pollutant information. Students engage these real world problems with scientific facts in discussion threads, and then independently investigate the pollutants in their own hometowns, aiming for and understanding of policy issues in greater depth. Local, state, national and international impacts are considered vis-à-vis the theme "Think globally; act locally."

Note: This course was previously designated 11:015:268.

Learning Goals

  • To understand environmental pollution and current issues concerning environmental pollution
  • To develop a factual baseline of environmental knowledge
  • To foster independent learning via distance education and web based instruction
  • To encourage creative thinking in environmental problem solving
  • To effectively communicate complex concepts with other citizens


A textbook is not required. Materials provided to students include relevant websites, documents, PowerPoint presentation, and other references.

Regular weekly work and online participation is expected. Frequent login to the CMS (eCollege or Canvas) is required.

Course Assignments

Online Participation and Quizzes

Online participation, assignments, and quizzes are used regularly for assessment of student learning.

Course Project

Typical options for a final project include the following.  Specifications may vary by semester.  See current syllabus.

  1. A PowerPoint submission on an environmental issue with detailed notes or narration. Each slide should have 25 to 75 words and be typed in the notes section of your PowerPoint. 12 to 20 slides are recommended.
  2. A final term paper on an environmental issue of your choice following paper format guidelines.
  3. An independent visit to an environmental problem site, photos and a report following the specified format. Alternatively report on a 1 or 2 hour documentary of an environmental problem.
  4. Participation in an environmental project such as installation of a rain garden. Write 6–8 pages on the group's mission, what you did and what you learned including photos of installation.
  5. View one Bioenergy video. Write 150-word summary abstract, select 7 key words for reference, compose 10 questions with answers highlighted, 1 short essay, 5 multiple choice, 2 true/false and 2 fill in the blank.


Typical grading scheme:

  • Exams: 20%
  • Assignments: 30%
  • Participation: 30%
  • Final Project: 20%


Typical schedule of topics:

  • CMS Tutorial, Pre-test, and Ice Breaker
  • Environmental Pollutants Overview, Agricultural Pollutants
  • Green Design, Community Rain Gardens
  • Indoor Pollutants and Human Health, Impacts of Radon Smoke, and Mold
  • Exam 1
  • Non-point Pollutants, Bacterial Source Tracking Challenges in Watershed Monitoring
  • Atmospheric Pollutants, Climate Change
  • Alternative Fuels, Bio-energy Crops
  • Work on final project
  • Exam 2

Academic Integrity

As an academic community dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge, Rutgers University is committed to fostering an intellectual and ethical environment based on the principles of academic integrity. Academic integrity is essential to the success of the University's educational and research missions, and violations of academic integrity constitute serious offenses against the entire academic community. This academic integrity policy is designed to guide students as they prepare assignments, take examinations, and perform the work necessary to complete their degree requirements.

Students are required to adhere to the professional standards outlined in the Rutgers University policies on academic integrity, which are available Policy on Academic Integrity (PDF) and at: Office of Student Judicial Affairs.

Attendance and Participation Policy

Students are expected to actively participate in all of the online activities for the course. Attendance in the online sessions is determined by thorough, thoughtful, relevant and on time contributions made in the weekly assignments including threaded discussions, reaction papers and quizzes. The course proceeds with the assumption that students have thoughtfully read and reviewed the assigned materials.

Students are responsible for completion of all assigned readings, materials discussed and assignments on or before the assigned due date.

Accessibility at Rutgers

Rutgers University welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview and provide documentation. For a the full explanation of the process, go to Documentation Guidelines. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodation. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. To begin this process, please complete the registration form on the ODS website.