RPTA 376 Perspectives in Outdoor Recreation

Course Description

Examines changing ideas about natural resources in the United States, explores why people engage in outdoor recreation, and the effects of outdoor recreation on participants and natural resources.

Course Goals

This course has three primary goals:

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Course Polices

You are responsible for knowing and adhering to the following course policies, so please read them carefully. Be sure to discuss any questions you have with the instructor.

  1. Academic Integrity
  2. Academic integrity is the core of this and every university. On it depend the bonds of honesty, trust, and openness essential to higher learning and the free exchange of ideas. By disrupting these bonds, violations of academic integrity threaten the very purposes for which this University exists. Any violation of academic integrity is therefore an offense against the University community as a whole. For this reason, there is no such thing as a trivial instance of academic dishonesty.
  3. Academic integrity is something I value very highly, professionally and personally. I will therefore take any and all actions permitted under University policy to protect it. The minimum penalty for any violation of academic honesty in this course will be a failing grade for the course. I will pursue additional penalties beyond this, consistent with University policy.
  4. You are a member of the University community. You are therefore responsible for maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity. This responsibility has three basic elements:
  5. First, respect for and adherence to the highest standards of academic honesty in all aspects of your own work.
  6. Second, never directly or indirectly assist anyone who engages in academic dishonesty.
  7. Third, report actual or potential academic dishonesty to the course instructor, another member of the faculty, or other appropriate University official.
  8. Please feel welcome to talk with me if you have any questions about any aspect of academic integrity or are in any way uncertain about how it applies to specific assignments in this course.
  9. Students with Disabilities
  10. Sexual Harassment
  11. Disruptive Behavior
  12. Disruptive student behavior is defined as inappropriate student behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interfering with the ability of the instructor to teach and students to learn whether in a classroom or other learning environment (such as an online course, laboratory, site field experience, internships, instructor's office, computer lab, or other setting whether it is an on-campus or off-campus location), which disrupts the educational process. It is also considered disruptive behavior for a student to exhibit threatening, intimidating, or other inappropriate behavior toward the instructor or classmates outside of the learning environment.
  13. Class Attendance, Absences & Participation
  14. Misunderstandings about class attendance requirements lead to problems for both students and faculty, so please pay close attention to this section.
    1. University policy statements on class attendance requirements
      1. “Students are expected to attend all classes in which they are enrolled. Each faculty member determines his or her own policy dealinßg with class attendance. Therefore, if a student misses a class or classes, the student is expected to discuss the matter with the instructor, and it is up to the discretion of the instructor whether to allow a student to make up any missed assignments, exams, or projects” (emphasis added).
      2. “. . . [University] sanctioned activities should not significantly disrupt the primary educational mission of the university nor negatively impact the integrity of the classroom” (emphasis added).
      3. “In all cases, it is the responsibility of the student to: 1) inform instructors of scheduled absences in advance; 2) where possible and as soon as possible, provide a schedule of all semester absences; and 3) arrange to complete missed classroom work within a reasonable time frame. Ultimately, students are responsible for material covered in classes missed due to sanctioned events” (emphasis in original).
    2. Here is my understanding of what these University policy statements mean.
    3. Each faculty member sets the attendance requirements for her/his classes consistent with general University policy. Therefore:
      1. Class attendance requirements are a matter between you and each of your instructors, and no one else.
      2. None of the following people have authority to override an instructor’s class attendance requirements: academic advisors, coaches, band and ensemble leaders, employers, friends, parents, other faculty members and instructors, or significant others. Nor are class attendance requirements subject to revision because of travel plans, field trips, work schedules, residence hall or Greek society activities, student clubs, and so on.
      3. Go back and read the preceding paragraph again, carefully.
      4. If you feel you have a legitimate reason to miss class, talk to each of your instructors individually and in advance if at all possible. It is your responsibility to work things out with your instructors. Ask — do not assume anything.
    4. Based on the preceding, here are the class attendance requirements in my courses.
      1. Class attendance is expected — it’s a fundamental element of professionalism. It’s up to you how professional you want to be.
      2. Roll may be taken at the start of any class session by circulating a roll signature sheet. If you arrive late, it’s up to the instructor’s discretion whether to allow you to sign the roll. Note that signing any name but your own on the roll sheet will be regarded as a violation of academic honesty to sign any name but your own to the roll sheet and will be dealt with accordingly — both for the person who signs another name and for the other person whose name is signed.
      3. Absences will be excused only for the following reasons (read this list carefully):
        • personal illness;
        • personal or family emergencies;
        • military service such as the National Guard or Reserves (not ROTC, which is an academic activity like other courses);
        • service as a volunteer emergency worker (e.g., volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, ambulance driver or attendant, or other first responder).
        • legal proceedings outside the University (e.g., court appearances and hearings).
      4. We will work together to arrange how you can make up any work missed because of an excused absence.
      5. All work missed because of unexcused absences cannot be made up and will receive a zero. To be fair, if changes in assignments or examinations create a problem, I will consider whether an adjustment in this policy is warranted, provided you contact me as soon as possible after any changes are made and in any case no less than forty-eight hours in advance of the absence. No adjustments will be made after the fact.
      6. Adjustments will be not be made for any work conducted in or assigned during class (including unscheduled quizzes).
      7. Absences to attend scheduled conferences or meetings of professional organizations related to your academic major(s) or minor(s) may be excused provided:
        • You submit a written request at least two weeks in advance, indicating the dates you will be absent from class and describing how you will benefit from attending the meeting or conference.
        • You provide documentation supporting your request (e.g., letter/email from a sponsoring faculty member) and confirming your attendance at the meeting or conference (conference registration acknowledgment/receipt).
        • You write and submit a description of the meeting or conference, including the sessions and activities you attended, and what professional benefits you received from them. We will discuss an appropriate timeline for writing this report and other details before you leave town.
      8. Do not leave class early unless you become ill or have discussed it with me in advance, otherwise this will count as an unexcused absence.
      9. Life happens, so if you think there’s a legitimate reason for you to miss class that isn’t addressed here, please discuss it with me in advance if at all possible. I’ll try to work with you, but this is a lot easier in advance than after the fact.
  15. Assignments
    1. All assigned work is due at the start of class in the classroom, unless other arrangements have been made.
    2. Unexcused late work will be penalized 10 percent per school day late, except in cases of documented excused absences.
  16. Getting in Touch
  17. Email is the surest way to get in touch with me. I can check it from more places more easily than, plus email provides written documentation. Please keep that in mind.
    1. Email to you: Your @wiu.edu email address will be used for all course–related email. It is also the address to which the University will send email. If you prefer a different address, set your WIU account to forward email accordingly. If you are uncertain how to do this, contact the University Technology Support Center.
    2. Remember that you are responsible for all course–related and University email sent to your @wiu.edu address. Be sure to check your @wiu.edu inbox regularly and to empty it as needed. You should do this even if you set your WIU account to forward email to another address.
    3. Email from you to me: A link to my office email address is in the right sidebar of each page on this site. Note that there are plenty of other things to keep me busy, so I do not live and die by email. Please keep the following in mind.
      1. Monday through Friday: I check and respond to email at least once in the morning and in the afternoon on workdays. If email arrives after hours, I will respond to it the next business day.
      2. Weekends & holidays: I do not regularly check work email between 4:30 Friday afternoon and 8:00 Monday morning or over holidays. I will respond to weekend and holiday email on the next business day.
      3. Urgent messages: Genuinely urgent email will receive an immediate response whenever received. Note that urgent means pressing, dire, critical, or desperate, requiring immediate action or response. Situations created by lack of planning, poor planning, sudden changes in social or travel plans, forgetfulness, laziness, and so on are not urgent.
      4. Pending examinations & assignments: When assignments and examinations are pending, I will make it a point to check email more frequently in order to answer questions.
      If I don’t have have access to email because of what I’m doing or where I am, I’ll respond as soon as practical.
    4. Email subject headings: Please begin the email subject heading with the relevant course prefix and course number (as in RPTA ### ) and include some indication of message content. That will help me recognize it. A lot of email hits my inbox each day it and if I can’t identify what your message is about, it could get ignored.
    5. Don’t use generic, empty, or subject headings like “re”, “question”, “hi”, “question from a student”. These are often used by spammers and may be trashed by spam filters. Be sure your email gets through by using a clearly identifiable subject heading.
  18. Classroom Behavior
  19. Most students behave appropriately in the classroom most of the time, but sometimes there can be problems because it isn’t always clear what appropriate classroom behavior is. A quick refresher may be helpful. (For the very few people who don’t seem to care regardless, they can save all of us some headaches by just leaving now.)
  20. The University is here for learning, for the pursuit of knowledge. More precisely, the University is here to nurture learning through the creation, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge. These are the University’s overriding, most fundamental purposes. As members of the University community, our roles and responsibilities are defined by where we stand in relationship to these purposes. So, too, are the standards governing our conduct.
  21. With this in mind, here are some of my expectations about appropriate classroom behavior. You’re welcome to ask questions or discuss them with me.
    1. We have a student – instructor relationship, based on knowledge: You are here to learn it ; I am here to teach it.
    2. As student, you are the person primarily responsible for your learning.
    3. As faculty member, I am here to assist and encourage you with your learning. In doing so, my foremost responsibilities are to uphold the University’s academic integrity and satisfy the recreation profession’s expectations for the professional knowledge and competency of people entering the field.
    4. Learning is often hard work — why is anyone ever surprised by this? “No pain, no gain” makes sense while learning as it does while working out. No one is here to make learning any harder than it needs to be, but neither is anyone here to make it easier than it should be.
    5. Forget the nonsense about students somehow being “customers.” It’s time everyone got over that silly notion. Learning is earned, not bought.
    6. The time to be concerned about your course grade starts now, not ten or fourteen weeks from now.
    7. Being on time for class helps all of us. If you are late, please find a seat quickly and avoid disrupting those around you. If you know in advance that you’ll be late, please let me know.
    8. MWF class sessions are 50 minutes long; TTh class sessions are 75 minutes long. Do not begin packing up until class is finished. The last minutes of class are often important (e.g., summaries of material covered, announcements about assignments or exams). I will not try to talk over the noise of people packing up, but you will be still be held responsible for any information.
    9. Do not walk out of class early, unless you are ill or have discussed it with me in advance. It is rude and disrespectful. If you did the same thing in a meeting at work, you’d be fired. Here, it’s an unexcused absence for the day and a zero for any graded work. Be prepared for me to come after you if it happens. I will tell you honestly that this is something that just plain irritates me, enough so that I occasionally lose my temper over it.
    10. If you know you’ll need to leave class early, please let me know at the start of class. Sit as close to the door as you can to avoid disrupting your classmates when you leave.
    11. If you’re bored, try becoming more engaged with the course material, join in class discussion, ask questions, and/or keep up to date on course assignments. You’re here to learn and I’m here to help you learn — no one said anything about entertainment.
    12. If you just aren’t interested in the material or simply don’t want to be in class, then don’t come — but be prepared to accept the consequences.
    13. Put away your newspapers, magazines, and materials from other classes (e.g., notes, text books) when class starts. Our class time is for this course — do your other coursework elsewhere. You wouldn’t do something like this while your boss was talking to you in a meeting — at least, you wouldn’t do it more than once. If you do it here, don’t be surprised when I call you on it.
    14. Turn off your cell phones before class starts. If your phone rings or vibrates in class, it will result in a 5 point penalty. If I can’t identify whose phone it is, or you don’t fess up, it will result in a 5 point penalty for everybody. If you believe you have a reason to leave your cell phone on, please set it on vibrate and check with me at the start of class. And fair is fair: If my cell phone rings, everyone in class that days gets five points.
    15. Put away all other electronic devices (e.g., iPods, music players). Take off all headphones, earphones, ear buds, and the like. I will call you on it if you don’t, and even if I say nothing, you can count on a zero for the day. (C’mon: Do you really think instructors don’t see you messing with these things, trying to hide them under the desktop?)
    16. Please pay particularly close attention to the following: The use of cell phones, beepers, pagers, music players, and similar devices during examinations, student presentations, or other graded work in class will result in an automatic grade of zero for the relevant assignment. The same penalty applies to wearing ear phones, headsets, or the like. Place all such devices in your book bag, backpack, purse, or elsewhere out of sight. If these devices are visible to me, I will assume they are also visible to you, and the penalty will be imposed immediately. There will be no exceptions made.
  22. Respect:
  23. The opinions, beliefs, and persons of everyone in the course will be treated with respect. We will listen to each other without interruption. When disagreeing, we will address ourselves to facts and logic, not to personalities or individual characteristics. Disruptive comments, behaviors, or actions during class will not be tolerated.
  24. Student Responsibilities:
  25. You are responsible for adhering to all relevant University rules and regulations, for knowing the contents of this course syllabus, for complying with all course policies, and for timely completion of course assignments. Note that this includes checking the course web page on a frequent and regular basis for schedule changes, updates, additional class materials, and additional reading or other assignments. You are also responsible for asking questions in a timely manner to clear up uncertainties about course policies, requirements, assignments, or content.
  26. Faculty Responsibilities:
  27. I am responsible for organizing and conducting class in an effective manner, for responding to your questions promptly and satisfactorily, for fair and timely grading of course assignments, and for being available to you during scheduled office hours and by appointment as necessary.

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Texts, Assigned Readings, & Other Course Materials

  1. Required reading
  2. Several required readings will be posted on the course web site. They will require a password to be announced in class.
  3. Videos
  4. We will view nine videos. Video titles and dates are included in the Course Schedule below. These videos are equivalent to assigned readings. For more information, see Course Assignments & Assignment Deadlines.
  5. Handouts & other class materials
  6. These will be posted on the course web page. When available by 6:00 p.m. the evening before class, print, read, and bring to class. Most handouts will be available only through the course web page. Be sure to check it regularly.
  7. Additional required reading
  8. Additional required reading may be assigned. Students will be informed of any additional reading assignments in class and on the course web page. Students are responsible for checking the course web page on a frequent and regular basis.

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Assignments & Assignment Deadlines

  1. Submitting assignments
  2. Unless otherwise noted or special permission is granted, all assignments must be
    1. submitted at the start of class on the they day they are due.
    2. hard-copy (i.e., no email submissions).
    3. formatted appropriately (if not, the assignment may be returned for re-formatting).
  3. Video worksheets
  4. Note the following:
    • If a video is available online or if you have access to a copy, you may watch it on your own and needn’t come to class.
    • For videos not generally available, you are expected to attend class to view them. These videos will be identified in advance.
    • You are expected to attend class for video discussions and when worksheets are due. These days are indicated on the course schedule.
    • Worksheets must be turned in personally in class, not by email or in my mailbox (unless explicit prior permission has been given).
  5. Assigned reading quizzes
  6. If necessary, quizzes may be given for assigned reading.
  7. Unannounced quizzes
  8. Unannounced quizzes may be given at any time during the course. As indicated in "Course Policies" above, quizzes cannot be made up except in cases of excused absence.
  9. Video reviews
  10. Students will write reviews of any two videos viewed during class (with the exception of the twenty minute clip on Yellowstone twenty years after the 1988 fires). Note the following requirements:
    • Both video reviews are due at the start of class on the dates indicated in the course schedule below.
    • The first video review must be on one of the following videos: “The Wilderness Idea,” “Wild By Law,” “The Wilderness World of Sigurd Olson,” or “Into the Wild.”
    • The second review must be on one of the following videos: “180° South,” “Wolves — A Legend Returns to Yellowstone,” “Fire Wars,” or “Storm Over Everest.”
    • These reviews are to be analytic papers. Do not recite what happened in the video. Focus on the issues presented in the video (e.g., preservation, judgment, spirituality) as these issues relate to outdoor recreation and natural resource management. Pay attention to the following.
      • Start with a brief summary of what you think the main themes or points of the video are (no more than four or five sentences, or about eighty words).
      • Briefly state your response to the main theme or points (another four or five sentences, or about eighty words).
      • The remainder of the paper should develop your response. Present reasons supporting your position on the themes and points raised by the video. Use at least two outside sources, one of which should be an academic/scholarly source, to provide support for your position. Be sure to use APA or MLA format for citations and reference list.
  11. Additional assignments
  12. Assignments other than those listed in this syllabus may be made from time to time, either to be turned in at the end of class or at a later time. Assignments to be turned in at a later time will also be posted on the course web page. Additional assignments completed and turned in during class cannot be made up except in cases of excused absence.

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Grades will be assigned using the following grading scale. The plus/minus scale is now mandatory in all undergraduate courses at WIU.

A = 93% – 100%   A– = 91% – 92%        
B+ = 89% – 90%   B = 83% – 88%   B– = 81% – 82%
C+ = 79% – 80%   C = 73% – 78%   C– = 71% – 72%
D+ = 69% – 70%   D = 63% – 68%   D– = 60% – 62%
F = < 60%                

Incompletes: Grades of Incomplete will be granted in accordance with University policy and not to allow students to escape the consequences of poor planning. See the Undergraduate Catalog for the University policy on incompletes.

No Extra Credit: There will be no work for extra credit in this course. (There’s no eighth game in the World Series, is there?)

Grading Standards: Meeting basic expectations earns a C, denoting a fully acceptable performance in the course. Grades are assigned based on quality, not amount of time or extra effort. To reduce misunderstandings, here is my interpretation of what the five letter grades mean.

  1. The highest level of achievement, defined as the highest mastery of course content that can reasonably be expected of students at a given stage of development. The student thoroughly comprehends the course material and demonstrates this by consistently outstanding work throughout the course. There are few if any weaknesses in the student’s performance.
  2. A high level of achievement, defined as mastery of course content well above average for students at a given stage of development. The student’ understanding of the course material extends significantly beyond the fundamentals, demonstrated by consistently strong work throughout the course. There are minor weaknesses in the student’s performance.
  3. A satisfactory level of achievement, defined as the expected mastery of course content for students at a given stage of development. The student grasps the basic principles of the course material and demonstrates this by consistently acceptable work throughout the course. There are weaknesses in the student’s performance.
  4. An unsatisfactory level of achievement, defined as inadequate mastery of course content for students at a given stage of development. The student has a weak understanding of the course materials, demonstrated by consistently marginal work throughout the course. There are significant weaknesses in the student’s performance.
  5. An unacceptable level of achievement, defined as failure to master course content. The student has little understanding of the course material, demonstrated by consistently substandard work throughout the course. There are major weaknesses in the student’s performance.

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Course Schedule & Assignment Deadlines

Please be familiar with the following schedule. We will try to stick to it as closely as possible; changes will be announced in class and posted on the course web page. Any changes in assignment due dates or examination dates will first be discussed in class to determine what their effects might be, given your obligations in other courses.

Assignment key:

Date Topic Themes Assignment
Jan 15 Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday — No class meeting
Jan 17 Introduction to course    
Jan 19 Illinois Association of Park Districts Annual Conference, Chicago, IL — No class meeting
Unit I: Nature, Wilderness & the Outdoors — Evolving Attitudes & Values
Jan 22 Early historical influences, expansion & the “middle landscape”
  • Anglo–European influences
  • The settlement era
  • Geographical & political barriers
Jan 24 continued
  • Images of the land
  • Transcendentalism
  • Saying a word for nature
Jan 26 Conflict & crisis
  • West of the 100th meridian
  • Closing of the “frontier”
  • Preservationism & conservationism
  • The shock of Hetch Hetchy
  • “The Wilderness Idea”
Jan 29 continued
  • Video discussion
  • Video worksheet
Jan 31 The rise of wilderness preservation
  • The Wilderness Act of 1964
  • “Wild by Law”
Feb 2 continued
  • Video discussion
  • Video worksheet
Unit II: Nature, Wilderness & the Outdoors — Recent Voices
Feb 5 Leopold & the land community
  • Ecology (Leopold) & environmentalism (Carson)
  • Learning to see ecologically
Feb 7 Leopold & the land community, continued   Read:
Feb 9 Leopold: Thinking like a mountain
  • “It must be a poor life that achieves freedom from fear.”
Feb 12 Mr. Lincoln’s Birthday — No class meeting
Feb 14 continued    
Feb 16 Olson: Wilderness & meaning
  • Video discussion
  • “The Wilderness World of Sigurd Olson
  • Video worksheet
Feb 19 continued
  • OR as recovery of a way of life
Feb 21 continued    
Feb 23 Abbey: Taking the land as it is
  • Wilderness without illusions
  • Inverting humanism
Feb 26 continued
  • “It is as it is and has no need for meaning.”
Feb 28 continued    
Mar 2 The Searchers   V
  • “Into the Wild”
Mar 5 continued    
Mar 7 continued    
Mar 9 continued
  • Video discussion
  • Video worksheet
Mar 12 Spring Break
Mar 14 Spring Break
Mar 16 Spring Break
Mar 19 The Wanderers   V
  • “180° South”
Mar 21 continued continued continued
Mar 23 continued
  • Video discussion
  • Video worksheet
  • 1st video review
Unit III: The Natural Resource Base
Mar 26 Re–introduction of endangered species   V
  • “Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone”
Mar 28 continued    
Mar 30 continued    
Apr 2 continued
  • Video discussion
  • Video worksheet
Apr 4 Wildfire — and a policy gone terribly wrong   V
  • “Fire Wars”
Apr 6 continued
Apr 9 continued    
Apr 11 continued    
Apr 13 Department of RPTA Professional Development Conference — No class meeting
Apr 16 continued   Due:
  • Video worksheet
Apr 18 continued
  • No worksheets required for these two videos
  • “Yellowstone Aflame”
  • “America Burning”
Apr 20 The Questers   V
  • “Storm Over Everest”
Apr 23 continued    
Apr 25 Illinois Association of Park Districts Legislative Conference, Springfield, IL — No class meeting
Apr 27 continued    
Apr 30 continued    
May 2 continued
  • Video discussion
  • Video worksheet
  • 2nd video review
May 4 Course wrap–up    
May 9 Final exam activity, 10:00 – 11:50 in classroom

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