Online Courses

Summer 2015

June 15 – August 9, 2015

Online Courses


Course Descriptions



Evolution and the Creationist Challenge
BIOS 442/542: YE1, Class #s 3291/3292

The perennial culture wars raging in the USA are expressed in many areas of society. One area of attack is the opposition by the Religious Right to the teaching of evolution in public schools. Since before the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial" in 1925, school boards and legislatures have tried to eliminate, add equal doses of creationism to, or water down the coverage of evolution. They have targeted evolution as a cause for many of their perceived "social evils," don't understand science, and cannot separate evolution from "Social Darwinism."

This course will introduce students to the history of the controversy, define the opposition, and explain where each side gets their ideas and what they believe. We will then explore philosophy of science in enough detail to be able to separate a scientific question from a non-scientific question. A preliminary survey of primarily biological evolution will provide students with the necessary information to counter creationist arguments. This course is designed to give students the ability to not only defend evolution but, more importantly, attack non-scientific intrusions into the public school system. It is not a course in biological evolution but complementary, and can be taken by any upper-level undergraduate with an interest in science and society.

Catalog Description: Evolutionary theory and tenets of present-day anti-evolutionists with emphasis on providing students with the skills to articulate the theory of evolution as it applies to the biological sciences. Not a substitute for a formal course in evolutionary theory. Recommended for students pursuing careers in secondary science education.

Ronald Toth (3 credit hours)

  • Online with a face-to-face meeting at NIU-Rockford, Thursday, 06/18, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.



Current Topics in Economics
Economic Analysis of Recent Legislation
ECON 370D: YE1, Class #3296

This course explores the role of economic analysis in public policy. It will examine the role government in a market economy and the analysis of specific public policies.

Catalog Description: Topics of current importance to consumers, resource owners, business, and government. May be repeated up to 9 hours as topics change and can be taken concurrently. PRQ: ECON 260 and ECON 261.

Sowjanya Dharmasankar (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Advanced Essay Composition
ENGL 300A: YE1, Class #3297

This course focuses on advanced writing techniques including peer editing, revision, development, clarity, organization and grammar. It will focus on the memoir or personal memory, and but also tackle PowerPoint and the MLA-based research paper. Whether you are struggling with the basics, wanting more challenge, or eager to branch out into new avenues of writing, this course will help.

Catalog Description: Writing expressive, persuasive, and informative essays and developing appropriate stylistic and organizational techniques. Open to both majors, minors, and non-majors.

Laura Bird (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 2 face-to-face meetings at NIU-Naperville, Tuesdays, 05/12, and 06/02, 6:30 - 9:15 pm. NOTE: This is an inter-session course.



Technical Writing
ENGL 308: YE1, Class #3298

In this fully online class, students will study the principles and strategies for planning, writing, and revising technical documents common in government, business and industry. Some of the topics covered in this class are audience analysis and purpose, writing effectively, simplifying complex information, writing instructions, and document design.

The class will “meet” in Blackboard Learn where students will find video lectures, video demonstrations, assignment information, discussion boards, and a journal space. Students will also use an online space provided by the textbook publisher to watch video presentations, complete exercises related to the weekly reading assignment, and take quizzes.

The e-textbook Technical Communication, 10th edition, by Mike Markel, is included in the online course space, YourTechCommClass. An access code can be purchased at the University Bookstore and VCB. It can also be purchased online at Students can also register their access code at this address.

Catalog Description: Principles and strategies for planning, writing, and revising technical documents common in government, business, and industry (e.g., manuals, proposals, procedures, newsletters, brochures, specifications, memoranda, and formal reports). Topics include analysis of audience and purpose, simplifying complex information, document design, and project management.

Jan Knudsen (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Environment and Society
GEOG 253: YE1, Class #3299

This course acts as a survey of global environmental problems in which humans are playing a role. In order to best convey these complex issues, this course will incorporate the basic physical/ecological principles of the earth’s environmental systems as well as an historical perspective on the environmental movement and resource use. By the end of this course, students should be able to: 1) identify and describe major global environmental problems, 2) critically evaluate scientific studies and arguments, 3) possess an “international” perspective on global environmental problems, and 4) apply and relate material covered in this course to their lives.

Catalog Description: Introduction to the study of human-environment interactions from a geographic perspective, with emphasis on the role of humans in changing the face of the earth. Fundamentals of environment science as well as global and local issues, related to human population growth, agriculture, water resources, biodiversity, forest resources, energy use, climate change, and environmental health.

David Goldblum (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Maps and Mapping/Fundamentals of Mapping
GEOG 256/556: YE1, Class #s 3300/3301

Though maps have been used by civilizations for well over 5,000 years, practically all aspects of mapping today involve computers – from the collection of real-world data by GPS or satellites, to drafting and printing. Rather than study the history of maps and mapping, we will instead study the concept of maps as tools of modern communication and visualization. This course is also the starting point for NIU’s certificate of undergraduate study in Geographic Information Systems (in addition to applying toward the B.G.S.) and is required for several further courses in geography.

Catalog Description, GEOG 256: Introduction to maps as models of our earth, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Use of satellite and aerial imagery, land surveying, and geographic information systems in map production. Thematic maps and how they are used. Map design for informational and persuasive purposes. Two hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory.
Catalog Description, GEOG 556: For graduate students with little formal background in mapping. Maps as models, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Processes of map production, including imagery and surveying. Principles of map design.

Devin Moeller (256) / Andrew Krmenec (556) (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Water Resources and the Environment
GEOG 303: YE1, Class #3302

This course in intended to provide the student with a broader understanding of water and its importance to our lives and earth’s complex environment. We will consider issues facing water such as whether the supply of water will continue, how man-made developments have altered water availability, how pollution has eroded this natural resource, and where/how we can restore our water resources. Relevant video clips, online tutorials, and supplemental readings will be used throughout the course to provide examples of water-related issues affecting northern Illinois, other regions of the U.S., as well as various countries around the world.

Catalog Description: Evaluation of water as a resource; its availability, distribution, use, and quality. Operation of the hydrologic cycle and relationships between surface water and the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere. Human impacts on water resources and the management of water-related hazards, including flooding, drought, and the spread of disease. Lecture and field experience.

Sharon Ashley (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Introduction to GIS/Fundamentals of GIS
GEOG 359/557: YE1, Class #s 3303/3304

Have you ever asked yourself, “Where in the world am I?” GEOG 359 may help you answer that question with an introductory study of the principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In this online course, we develop skills in GIS, its components, and how it applies to our surrounding environment. This course is a primer for those who are interested in learning more about the dynamic and ever-changing world of GIS and its career applications.

Catalog Description, GEOG 359: Study of the fundamental principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Emphasis on the development of these systems, their components, and their integration into mainstream geography. Two hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory. PRQ: GEOG 256 or GEOG 352 or consent of department.
Catalog Description, GEOG 557: For graduate students with little formal background in GIS or computer mapping. Principles, components, and uses of geographic information systems. PRQ: GEOG 552 or GEOG 556, or consent of department.

Phil Young (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



American Government and Politics
POLS 100: YE1, Class #3306

Who does American government work for? The people? The elite? We will examine the major institutions and actors in American politics to answer these questions. We will pay particular attention to the role of organized interests and how the people act (or don’t act) collectively to solve the nation’s problems.

Catalog Description: Principles, processes, and problems of American government and politics. Examines the impact of changes in contemporary American politics.

Artemus Ward (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Introduction to Law and Courts
POLS 210: YE1, Class #3307

Catalog Description: Introduction to the study of law and courts, including legal theory, judicial institutions, legal actors, legal systems and ways in which law is interrelated with politics, public policy and society.

Mitch Pickerill (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



American Political Thought 1
POLS 356: YE1, Class #3308

This course will examine American politics and history through the perspectives of those who have understood it best and influenced it most. We will engage with the original writings and speeches of some of the greatest statesmen in American history, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Our goal will be to appreciate the importance of the issues these leaders grappled with, to understand distinctively American approaches to politics, and to apply this appreciation and understanding to contemporary issues and problems.

Catalog Description: Analysis of the political thought of selected American statesmen and stateswomen having political responsibility at the critical moments in American history. Attention given to the relationship between the political philosophy of their thinking and the political actions they initiated. Recommended: At least sophomore standing.

S. Adam Seagrave (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Regional Security
POLS 381: YE1, Class #3309

South Asia has taken center stage in American foreign policy since the 9/11 attacks. Yet, not much is known about the politics of that region from an international politics perspective. This course is designed for students who are interested in matters of international security and peace. It provides a survey of salient topics such as nuclear proliferation, intrastate conflicts, conflict management and interstate rivalry. Students in this course will gain familiarity with these concepts through the regional lens of South Asia. Concurrently, students will develop a well-rounded understanding of the politics of cooperation in the region. Finally, by critically examining the security processes in the South Asia region, this course will highlight the repercussions of regional security issues on the international system.

Catalog Description: Survey of issues in regional security, highlighting the politics of cooperation and conflict in one or more regions of the world and analyzing the repercussions of regional security issues on the international system.

Shweta Moorthy (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Introduction to Psychopathology
PSYC 316: YE1, Class #3318

The major objective in this course is for students to develop an understanding of psychopathology as a variant of normal behavior. It is hoped that students will come to view human behavior on a continuum where psychopathology represents a departure from normal behavior in that it is more extreme, exaggerated, disabling, maladaptive, distressing, and/or distrubing to others within the context of the person’s environment or to society. Students are expected to become familiar with the various paradigmatic viewpoints exploring the depth of all diagnosable psycho-pathological disorders. Students will become familiar with the current methods of classification and diagnosis of psychopathology and gain an understanding of the treatments that are used to help individuals and families who experience these conditions. Finally, familiarization with research and research methods will be an important part of the course, as it reflects an essential component of the science of psychology.

Catalog Description: Introduction to the study of pathological behavior. The development, maintenance, and treatment of problem behavior discussed from theoretical, empirical, and clinical perspectives. PRQ: At least sophomore standing and PSYC 102, or consent of department.

Phillip Krasula (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 3 face-to-face meetings at NIU-Hoffman Estates, Tuesdays, 06/16 and 08/04, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.



PSYC 332: YE1, Class #3310

Personality is defined as consistent behavior patterns and intrapersonal processes originating within the individual. This course will focus on the study of individuals and examine the major contributions made to the field of personality by renowned psychologists. Class sessions will enhance student learning on the psychoanalytic approach (Freudian Theory); New-Freudian theories; trait approach; biological approach; humanistic approach; behavioral/social learning approach and the cognitive approach. Lecture and films will be presented in class sessions followed by open group discussion and activities to identify and clarify critical issues and concepts presented in the text.

Catalog Description: Consideration of basic factors in personality and the role of personality in the study of behavior. Discussion and critical examination of contemporary studies in personality, with emphasis on experimental evidence. PRQ: At least sophomore standing and PSYC 102, or consent of department.

Joanne Messina (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



Introduction to Sociology
SOCI 170: YE1, Class #3311

Sociology is an exciting discipline that analyzes and explains events and experiences within our personal lives, our communities, and across the globe. This course (100% online) will examine a wide range of topics including families and relationships, government and power, as well as inequalities of race and ethnicity and of gender and social class. We will also discover how one’s culture (and the different groups that we belong to) establishes the framework for how we perceive and experience life. Critical thinking skills are emphasized as a way to move beyond taken-for-granted assumptions of reality and to see the connections between personal experiences and broader social forces. The course will include the use of technology (an online textbook equipped with videos, practice quizzes, an anthology of sociological articles and cross-cultural perspectives to go along with traditional textbook content), student-teacher and student-student interaction, as well as self-reflection, to promote greater understanding of the social world in which we and others live.

Catalog Description: Basic survey of major substantive areas within sociology including key contributions to our understanding of the complex social world. Concepts and methods used by sociologists.

Kevin Ervin (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 08/08.



SOCI 288: YE1, Class #3319

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of crime and criminals. The task is not an easy one. Crime is a controversial and multi-faceted topic and criminologists are faced with many difficult questions, including: How do we measure crime? Who commits crime, why, and where? What can we do to prevent crime? In this course, we will explore these questions as well as many others.

Catalog Description: Examination of the nature of crime and delinquency, crime statistics, and criminal behavior. Emphasis on social causes and theories of crime. PRQ: SOCI 170 or SOCI 250 or SOCI 260 or SOCI 270, and at least sophomore standing, or consent of department.

Keri Burchfield (3 credit hours)

  • Fully online course, 06/15 - 07/11.



Health, Aging, and Society
SOCI 356: YE1, Class #3312

This course will analyze the social factors that influence health and aging, particularly those based on race, class, and gender. We will meet face-to-face twice; once at the end of the first week (to make sure everyone is up to speed) and again at the end of the four weeks (to take the final exam). The remainder of the course will be web-based, using Blackboard. Through a combination of online modules and lectures, text readings, videos, activities, and discussions, we will learn that the social aspects of health and aging are just as important as the physical aspects, and health and aging are influenced by the social, political, and economic environments in which they are located. We will look at the latest trends in health and longevity, ageism, Social Security and retirement, aging as a women’s issue, the role of physicians, hospitals, and nursing homes in an aging society, caring for older adults, death and dying, and the Affordable Care Act.

Catalog Description: Examination of the social aspects of health and aging. Emphasis on health and aging as socially constructed, and social structures that constrain health and aging. Topics include inequality in morbidity, mortality, and the aging process; the social organization of health and aging services; caregiving; end-of-life issues; health financing and policy. PRQ: SOCI 170 or SOCI 250 or SOCI 260 or SOCI 270; or consent of department.

Robin Moremen (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 2 face-to-face meetings at NIU-Naperville, Saturdays, 06/20 and 07/11, 1 - 4 pm.



Elementary Statistics
STAT 301: YE1, Class #

Catalog Description: Introduction to basic concepts in statistical methods including probability, theoretical and empirical distributions, estimation, tests of hypotheses, linear regression and correlation, and single classification analysis of variance procedures. Not available for credit toward the major in mathematical sciences. Not used in major GPA calculation for mathematical sciences majors. PRQ: MATH 206 or MATH 210 or MATH 211 or MATH 229.

Carrie Helmig (3 credit hours)

  • Online with 4 face-to-face meetings at NIU-Naperville, Thursdays, 06/18, 07/02, 07/23, and 08/06, 6:30 - 9:15 pm.