When compared to our undergraduate majors, students taking environmental courses to fulfill general education (or general studies) requirements have different knowledge bases, different interest levels, and different motivations for studying natural resources topics. Unlike foresters or wildlife managers or environmental scientists, typical business management, psychology, or accounting students are not inclined to memorize scientific names of X number of tree species or learn how to calculate hard mast yields per acre or care how to precipitate organic compounds from a sample solution. So how and what can we teach these students? How do these differences affect choices of appropriate teaching strategies, lecture topics, reading selections, assignment types and testing? This paper will address pedagogical issues and rewards discovered while teaching a course titled Forest History, Technology and Society, a course that fulfills a general education requirement for students from across campus. The course time frame spans from western civilization's beginning until the contemporary period. Topics include an eclectic mix chosen to prompt examinations of values, perspectives, scientific understandings, and utilization alternatives affecting the status of forests at particular points throughout the span of history. This paper will examine how the interaction of that immense time frame and the eclectic range of potential topics necessitates identification of key concepts on which to focus the course. It will discuss the techniques used in designing assignments and creating examinations for its diverse student clientele with diverse interests and learning styles.
Blank, Gary B.
"So you're not a natural resources major: Teaching a general studies course focused on forest history,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 7, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol7/iss1/3