ANSC 100 Syllabus

AN SC 100 Animal Agriculture (3) is an introductory course for undergraduates or consumers wishing to become better informed about animal biology, care, economics, industry structure, and mechanisms to guard the safety and wholesomeness of animal products.

Prerequisite:  None


Dr. Robert Mikesell

Dr. Robert Mikesell
Senior Instructor
Department of Animal Science
307 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email: Use Canvas Inbox

If you have a question, please email me through Canvas Inbox or pick up the phone and call 814-865-2987. If I don’t answer, leave a message. I may be on a tractor making hay or breeding a cow but I will try to respond within 24 hours.

Course Overview

This course will introduce students to the breadth and scope of animal agriculture in North America with emphasis on food producing animals. Additionally, fiber producing animals, pets, pleasure animals, and alternative livestock will also be studied. Students will be exposed to biological concepts and their relationship to contemporary production systems, economics, terminology and industry issues to enhance understanding of and appreciation for various uses of animals in North America. The course will be available in a web-based format with extensive use of video tours of animal housing facilities, expert interviews, and explanations of the biology behind common production practices and will be offered annually during spring and summer semesters. Student performance will be assessed via unit quizzes, popular press article critiques, and a final paper.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Differentiate among uses of domestic animals in North America
  • Chart the scope of animal agriculture in North America
  • Correctly use terminology associated with animal agriculture
  • Describe common contemporary animal production systems
  • Critically analyze controversial issues in animal agriculture.
  • Accurately depict the organization of North American animal industries
  • List and describe common quality assurance and food safety practices

Required Materials

Selected chapters (4, 6, 8-12) from Animal Science Biology and Technology, 3rd Edition, Robert Mikesell and MeeCee Baker ©2011 Delmar/Cengage Learning, Clifton Park, NY

You may purchase hard copies of the entire text, the entire digital text, or digital copies of only the necessary chapters here.

Additional Readings

For some units, the additional reading material will be accessed through the Course Reserves. 

It is important that you read the assigned chapters in the text and all on-line readings.

Technical Requirements 

This course is offered online and it assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the World Campus’s Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the Internet).
  • You must be able conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the Internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the Internet.

Course Schedule

Refer to your Calendar or Syllabus in Canvas for assignment due dates.


I will do my best to have your assignments graded within one week.

Grades will be based on the following assignments:

  1. Introduce yourself (2%) - In the assigned chat room, each student must offer an introduction. Full credit will be awarded if the introduction is completed and submitted on time. Introductions are due by 11:55 PM Sunday at the end of week 1.
  2. Module quizzes (28%) - At the conclusion of modules 1 through 15, learners will take a timed, 25-question quiz to determine learner’s mastery of the subject matter. Quizzes will be available on Canvas for a period of two weeks (one week prior to the weekly unit until one week following a given unit). This policy allows learners some flexibility in taking quizzes if they fall behind or wish to work a week ahead. Quizzes will consist of 25 multiple choice, True/False or very short answer questions derived from the reading material as well as material presented in the module. The lowest quiz score will be dropped.
  3. Discussions (15%) –Students will be required to participate in class discussions, answer or ask THOUGHTFUL questions AT LEAST three times per week for modules 1-15. Higher levels of participation are certainly encouraged and will create an improved class experience. You are encouraged to use the internet to help answer classmates’ questions. Discussion posts must be substantial and thoughtful.
  4. Mid-term Exams 30% (2 x 15% each) – Two mid-terms will be administered via Canvas at the end of Modules 5 and 10.
  5. Final Exam 25% - Approximately three-fifths of the points for the final exam will cover Modules 11-15. The remainder of the final will be comprehensive.

Grading Criteria

Number% Value
Introductory Discussion                         1 2%
Quizzes (15; lowest grade dropped) 14 28%
Discussions 3x/week 15%
Mid-term Exams 2 30%
Final Exam 1 25%
Total          100%          

Grading Scale

                        Letter Grade                        


>= 92%
 A- 89 to 91.9%
 B+ 87 to 88.9%
B 82 to 86.9%
 B-  79 to 81.9%
C+  77 to 78.9%
 C  69 to 76.9%
59 to 68.9%
F < 59%

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor.  This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines.  For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Policies.

Formal instruction will end on the last day of class. Provided that you have an active Penn State Access Account userid and password, you will continue to be able to access the course materials for one year from the day the course began (with the exception of library reserves).

Class Policies and Procedures

The Policies and Procedures described herein will be strictly enforced to ensure fairness for all students.

Grade Disputes

Any disputes must be resolved with the Instructors within 48 hours after the grade is posted on Canvas. All questions/concerns about the final course grade must be presented to the Instructors within 48 hours of the grade being assigned. 

Assigned Readings

It is important that you read the assigned chapters in the text and all on-line readings.


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion forum postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Support Services

As a World Campus student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more.  Please visit the World Campus Student Services page for more information.

If you have any type of technical problems, you can use the “Help” link in the Canvas navigation menu or contact the World Campus Help Desk.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Penn State Policies

Log-In Policy

Students are expected to log-in regularly to keep up-to-date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures and the Code of Conduct).

Read the Academic Integrity Guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's Academic Integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Penn State staff works with thousands of students per year in group therapy, individual counseling, crisis intervention, and psychiatric services as well as providing prevention, outreach, and consultation services for the University community. Services at CAPS are designed to enhance students' ability to fully benefit from the University environment and academic experience.

Staff at CAPS can help students address concerns in a caring and supportive environment. CAPS can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and satisfaction at Penn State. Some of the more common concerns include anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships (friends, roommates, or family); sexual identity; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs. For more information, please visit the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.