Soil 205 - The Soil Ecosystem


Student Expectations

Lecture Schedule


Lecture Images

Study Questions

Old Tests


Spring 2013

Office Phone:

Paul McDaniel
115 Ag Science Bldg.

Office Hours:  MWF 10-11 AM or by appointment

Course Web Site:

Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils, 3rd ed. (2010). N.C. Brady and R.R. Weil. Pearson/Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Students will also need to have a Turning Technologies clicker. A $15 rebate is available – click here for more information.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this course, a student will:

  1. Understand the basic physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil resources.
  2. Possess the ability to communicate among various disciplines using soil science terminology.
  3. Appreciate the integrative role of soils in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
  4. Understand the social and economic implications of soil management.
  5. No longer use the term dirt when referring to soil resources.

Course grades will be based on 3 different learning assessments: Mini-tests (quizzes), Team Projects, and Class Participation.

Quizzes – There will be 6 announced mini-tests (quizzes) given approximately every 2 weeks throughout the semester. These quizzes will count 30 points each. Each quiz will emphasize the material covered since the previous quiz, but because of the cumulative nature of the subject matter, other material may be included. Make-up quizzes will not be given without prior arrangement! An optional final exam worth 60 points will be given during the scheduled final exam period, which is Thursday, May 9 at 10 AM. It will contain material from the entire semester. Taking the optional final can only help your course grade. Students who take the final can use the score to replace their 2 lowest quiz scores; if the score is less than the two lowest quiz scores, no change will be made.

Team Projects – Part of the course grade will be based on team projects. All students will be assigned to a team of 3-4 students. Each team will be required to complete 3 projects that will be worth 25 points each. A final project assessment worth 25 points will also be required. More specific information regarding the nature of these projects and due dates will be made available during the semester. Deadlines will be strongly enforced. Any projects turned in after the designated times will be accepted, but without prior arrangement, 5 points will be deducted from the grade for each weekday that the project is late.

Class Participation – Class participation will be evaluated based on completion of an information card, a visit with the instructor during the semester prior to Dead Week, your performance on numerous short in-class exercises, and any other miscellaneous assignments that may be given.

Course grades will be based on the following:
• 5 or 6* quiz scores (total of 150 or 180 possible points)
*lowest quiz scores will be dropped if >85% of the class complete UI on-line course evaluation
• team projects (total of 100 possible points)
• class participation score (total of 75 possible points)

The percentage of the course points earned out of 325 (or 355) possible will be calculated. Point totals will be available throughout the semester on Blackboard Learn. Course grades will be assigned according to the following scale: A = 90-100%; B = 80-89%; C = 70-79%; D = 60-69%; and F = <60%.