All course information is listed within this syllabus.

CEDEV 452: Community Structure, Processes and Capacity (3 credits). Social organization and change in rural communities; use of sociological principles in analysis of rural problems and rural development.

Prerequisites: 6 credits in rural sociology, sociology, or psychology


Instructor for CEDEV 452

Mary Kate Berardi
Assistant Teaching Professor

Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Course Overview

CEDEV 452 is a required course for the Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development and the Community and Economic Development Graduate Certificate offered through World Campus. It also is required for undergraduates in the Community Development option of the Community, Environment and Development major. This course provides an overview of the role that communities and the organizations, institutions, and people found in communities, play in community and economic development. We will spend the first portion of the course examining how communities are believed to be organized and to function, and how organizations, institutions, and forces within and outside of communities are believed to influence individual and community well-being. The second part of the course explores the capacity of the people and organizations in communities and local areas to identify and act upon strategies to enhance well-being. The role of resources from outside the community and especially of local leaders, citizens, and organizations in the change process will be examined. While the concepts and application of the theories covered in this course are focused on communities and surrounding areas, they can be applied to understanding the change process across regions or other organizing frameworks, such as watersheds or development zones.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  1. Identify and use theories of community to analyze conditions in communities and to assess strategies for community and economic development.
  2. Describe concepts of community and how they relate to community development and change.
  3. Critically assess approaches to community capacity building.
  4. Analyze the roles of social capital, citizen engagement, and community agency in development and change.
  5. Articulate how theories and concepts of community and change apply to community and economic development practice.
  6. Work with your own examples to apply the concepts and ideas to increase your understanding of the concepts and to aid in understanding barriers to change and development in a community or area.

Course Structure and Schedule

Most modules consist of 3 pages:

  1. Overview, Learning Objectives, and Readings -- on this Syllabus, you'll find the same brief overview for each module that is listed in the syllabus, along with learning objectives. All of the required readings for the module are listed on this page. Note that we use the term 'readings' to include videos, web pages, and podcasts.
  2. Framing Essay -- this essay provides a discussion of key concepts in the module, provides context for the readings, and explains why these readings are important to meeting the learning objectives. The framing essay is required reading. At the end of each essay, you'll find 'questions for reflection' which will help you think about and check your learning for both the essay and the readings for that module.
  3. Assignments -- the assignments for each module are listed here along with the due dates.

In general, each module starts on Monday and ends the following Sunday. Plan to complete your readings by Wednesday of each week.

  • For weeks when discussions are assigned, begin posting to your discussion by Wednesday night to enjoy a rich discussion with your classmates.
  • For weeks in which you are required to submit written assignments, begin writing by Wednesday night. Written assignments are due on Sunday night.
  • Some of the readings will be used again in future modules, so be cautious about skipping readings.

Overview of Discussions

Every student is expected to participate actively in discussions -- it is your assignment for the week. Occasionally a module will have 2 discussions in the same module, and you are expected to fully engage in both of them, not choose one or the other.

Another difference is that your initial 'post' should be no more than one paragraph. Instead of writing, reading, and reacting to mini-essays in the discussions, in this class you are expected to have ongoing conversations with your fellow students.

You should read everyone's posts, but you do not need to respond to each post: choose the threads that are most interesting to you. If you find the large group discussions overwhelming, please contact me to discuss approaches and accommodations.

Your grade for discussions is based on the quality and extent of your discussion and on how well you integrate the week's readings into your discussion. In other words, I am looking for evidence that you have understood and thought about the readings.

Course Activities

Citing Materials

In this class, we require the use of the American Psychological Association Style Manual (APA) or another standard academic citation style when citing and referencing materials in your weekly posts and in your essays. Perhaps the best free reference can be found at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The OWL provides you with the basics you will need to properly cite and reference materials.

The APA Style link on the OWL page provides access to the style manuals and examples.

Class Participation

Class participation through online discussions is an expected and essential component of the class. Your participation in online discussions should reflect that you have read and thought about the assigned materials and that you thoughtfully engage in discussions with other students.


This course includes written assignments, a mid-term essay, and a final essay. You will also submit a theories matrix in Module 10 which summarizes the theories we study in Modules 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9. An explanation of the matrix and a template are provided in Module 4. You will also have shorter essays to write during Modules 2, 4, 9, and 14. 

Resource Identification

In Modules 5, 8, and 11 you will identify academic resources for information on given topics. This can include academic articles, blogs, videos, or other material that directly relates to the listed topic. Submit to this discussion a written explanation (3-4 paragraphs) summarizing what you have found and why you think it is useful. Then you can see what sources your classmates find and use these resources as you work on your capstones.

Course Outline

Module 1 - Introduction to Community Development

We start the class with an opportunity to meet each other online. It's important to get a sense of each student's unique experiences and perspectives, as we will be drawing on these throughout the semester in discussions. In this module, we'll consider different definitions of community development as a frame for thinking about community structure, process and capacity. We'll also gain a historical perspective of modern community development over the past century in America.

Activities and Assignments

Participate in discussions and other tasks assigned.

Required Material

Module 2 - Community and Community Development

What is Community? The first topic we tackle in this course may be the most difficult, and we will continue to explore it throughout the first several modules. This particular module and discussion can be frustrating because there is no one single definition of either community or community development. Community has been idealized in most cultures and everyone has his or her own conception of what community is (including academics). Each of the many views of community has relevance for understanding the concept and practice of community development. This relevance often depends on the issues addressed or questions being asked. As the course continues, we will explore these different views of community and how they relate to community development in more detail.

Activities and Assignments

Written assignment, 750 words

Required Material

  • Wilkinson, Kenneth P. (1991). The Community in Rural America. Middleton, WI: Social Ecology Press. Introduction, pp. 1-11.
  • Hummon, David M. (1990)."Community Perspectives: Community Ideology and American Society." Pp. 3-13 in Commonplaces: Community Ideology and Identity in American Culture. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
  • Lyon, Larry. (1987). "Chapter 1. The Concept of Community." Pp. 3-16 in The Community in Urban Society. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company.
  • Bryan, Dominic. 2014. "What is a Community"
  • WITF's Keystone Crossroads project on a 'created' neighborhood in Germany and implications for Pennsylvania

Module 3 - Community and Well-Being

The Relationship Between Community and Well-being: An introduction to the concept of community got us started last week. Now we expand those basic ideas to consider how well-being affects community and vice versa. Well-being in this case is quite broad, including the very basic needs of adequate food, water, shelter and clothing, along with higher-order needs such as physical and mental health, access to education and social services, and the quality of relationships among members of the community. This broadly defined concept becomes important later in the course as we talk about community capacity and community development, and the ability of citizens to work together to define and attain their goals.

Activities and Assignments

Participate in discussions

Required Material

  • Wilkinson, Kenneth P. (1991). "The Community and Rural Well-being." Chapter 3, pp. 61-79 in The Community in Rural America. Middleton, WI: Social Ecology Press.
  • Duncan, Cynthia M. and Nita Lamborghini. (1994). "Poverty and Social Context in Remote Rural Communities." Rural Sociology, 59(3), 437-61.
  • County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2019.

Module 4 - Communities as Social Systems

In Module 4, we will look at social systems theory. This theory is focused on the interrelationships of the parts of the community or society, and can be used to understand change in communities. Social systems theory examines the various institutions and organizations within a community. It does not look at individuals, but rather at the roles people may have in a social system and how people are shaped and influenced by the larger social structure. It focuses on the ways that those institutions or organizations ensure their own survival and the stability of the social system.

Activities and Assignments

Written assignment, 750 words

Required Material

  • Warren, Roland L. (1978). "Chapter 1: Introduction." Pp. 1-20 in The Community in America. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally & Co
  • Warren, Roland L. (1978). "Chapter 5: The American Community as a Social System." Pp. 137-169 in The Community in America. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally & Co.
  • Green, Gary Paul. (2003). "Civic Involvement, Organizational Ties, and Local Economic Development." Journal of the Community Development Society. 34 (1), 1-17.

Module 5 - Interactional Perspectives on Community

This week we begin looking at individuals as actors in local societies. Building on what we have learned about social systems, the interactional perspective helps us to understand the nature or characteristics of the local society in which individuals live and work together. Interactional theory focuses on individual activity within a community with the specific purpose of fostering change, which is referred to as agency. Using this perspective, we'll examine why some places develop successfully, while others struggle to accomplish the smallest goal.

Activities and Assignments

Resource Identification

Required Material

  • Wilkinson, K.P. 1991. Chapter 4: Rural Community Development, The Process of Community Development (pp.81-92), Chapter 5: In Search of the Community in the Changing Countryside (pp. 101-109) Middleton, WI: Social Ecology Press.
  • Korsching, Peter F. and John C. Allen. (2004). "Local Entrepreneurship: A Development Model Based on Community Interaction Field Theory." Journal of the Community Development Society, 35(1), 25-43.
  • Gordon, Jason S, Stedman, R. & Luloff, A.E. (2010) West Virginia, Wildland Fire as Latent Social Discontent, Society and Natural Resources, 23:12, 1230-124

Module 6 - Culture and Shared Meanings Approaches

Culture underlies the beliefs, expectations and behaviors of people. It also shapes the organizations of societies and decision-making. Culture and lived experiences form the basis for the shared meanings perspective. Shared meanings can be found in attachment to community, attachment to place(s) and whether individuals have or share a 'sense' of community. Each of these, in turn, affects how individuals participate in their community. Culture also plays a significant role in how practitioners perceive actors and problems within communities. The filters we use to view the world depend on the meanings and values of our own culture. The shared meanings perspective of community shifts the focus for understanding community toward how changes in the organization of society (e.g., modernization, industrialization, urbanization) affect behavior, the ways that behavior is controlled, and the nature of relationships between individuals. With this perspective we shift away from more aggregate social structure views of community to looking at how individuals might understand and respond to change.

Activities and Assignments

Participate in discussions

Required Material

  • McMillan, David W. and David M. Chavis. (1986). "Sense of Community: A Definition and Theory." Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 6-23.
  • Pretty, Grace M.H. (2002). "Young People's Development of the Community-minded Self." Pp. 183-203 in Adrian T. Fisher, Christopher C. Sonn and Brian J. Bishop (eds.) Psychological Sense of Community: Research Applications, and Implications. New York, NY: Klewer Academic/Plenum.
  • Haskell, Jane and Ashely Storrow. (2014). "Using Refugee Voices to Improve Cross Cultural Conversations: Research with New Mainers." The University of Maine, August 3, 2018
  • "Dynamic Processes of Being a Refugee, Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center"
  • Theodori, Ann E. & Thoedori, G.L. (2015) The influences of community attachment, sense of community, and educational aspirations upon the migration intentions of rural youth in Texas. Community Development, (Vol. 46, No. 4, 380-391).

Module 7 - First Integrative Essay

Essay due Sunday night in Canvas.

Module 8 - Social Networks and Social Capital

The term social capital has become a catch-all phrase. The use of 'capital' also has become widespread, so that almost any adjective can be placed before it--human capital, social capital, natural capital, financial capital. Basically, capital reflects an investment or resource from which a future return is expected. In this module, we focus on social networks within the social capital framework and the extension of individual social capital to the community arena. As with most other topics, there are clear linkages from community social capital to the aspects of community we studied in previous modules of the course. These ideas contribute to the ideas of community capacity, civic engagement and participation, and community decision-making and action that we will examine later in the course.

Activities and Assignments

Resource Identification

Required Material

  • Hutchinson, Rebecca N, et al (2009). Neighborhood racial composition, social capital and black all-cause mortality in Philadelphia. Social Science & Medicine, (1859 - 1865).
  • De Souza Briggs, X. (1997). "Social Capital and the Cities: Advice to Change Agents." National Civic Review, 85, 111-117
  • Portes, A. and P. Landolt. 1996. "The Downside of Social Capital." The American Prospect, 26, 18-21.

In addition to the material listed above, choose one of the following readings depending on your interest.

  • Grootaert, Christiaan, and Deepa Narayan, Veronica Nyhan Jones, Michael Woolcock. 2004. "Measuring Social Capital: An Integrated Questionnaire", World Bank Working Paper No. 18, The World Bank, Washington DC pp. 1 - 17
  • Brinkley, C. (2017). Visualizing the social and geographical embeddedness of local food systems. Journal of Rural Studies, 54, 314-325.
  • Levitte, Yael. 2004. "Bonding Social Capital in Entrepreneurial Developing Communities -- Survival Networks or Barriers?" Journal of the Community Development Society, 35(1), 44-64.

Module 9 - Human Ecology

This week we examine human ecology theory. This perspective for understanding communities focuses on macro-level forces that shape human activity and organization. While the language of 'community' is not used, this approach describes how human activity in a place is organized and how it can be affected by outside forces, as well as how forces from within a place or community influence human well-being. Human ecology provides a useful framework for thinking about how a community is organized and how technology and the physical and natural environment influence human activity and survival. This is an important step in building a comprehensive understanding of community and the many forces, some of which are beyond human control and many of which are not local, that influence change and well-being in communities.

Activities and Assignments

Written assignment, 750 words

Required Material

  • Park, Robert E. and Ernest W. Burgess. (1967). "Chapter III. The ecological approach to the study of the human community." Pp. 63-79 in The City: Suggestions for Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Environment. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Micklin, Michael and David F. Sly. (1998). "Chapter 3. The ecological complex: A conceptual elaboration." Pp. 51-66 in Micklin, M. and D. Poston (eds.) Continuities in Sociological Human Ecology. New York: Plenum.
  • Spear, Stephanie (2013). Fracking Boom in North Dakota has Heavy Impact on Native Americans.

In addition to the material listed above, choose one of the following readings depending on your interest.

  • Lawrence, Roderick J. 2003. "Human ecology and its applications." Landscape and Urban Planning 65:31-40
  • Ambrose, Kathleen & Matusitz, J. (2017). Understanding Ebola in West Africa: Applying Human Ecology Theory. Global Social Welfare (5:109-116).

Module 10 - Integrating Theories to Understand Communities

What is Community? We first visited this question in Module 2. Since then, we've explored many theories that provide tools for contextualizing and understanding communities. These varying perspectives of community structure and processes, including their similarities and differences, can make it difficult to keep the underlying theories, major components, and practical applications of the theories separate. This week's activity is designed to create a useful reference guide for organizing the way you think about and separate the theories and to help you evaluate the benefits of using multiple theories.

Activities and Assignments

  • Theories Matrix
  • Participate in discussion

Required Material

  • Williams, Duane D. and Leonard E. Bloomquist. 1997. "Gaining a Community Perspective: A Community Case Study Using Multiple Theoretical Approaches." Journal of the Community Development Society 28(2): 277-302.

Community Development and Change

Module 11 - Assessing Community Capacity for Influencing Change

So far in the course, you have worked with theories of community and examined how they relate to well-being and community development. You have also had an opportunity to think about how to study communities. In this module, you are encouraged to reflect back on what you have read and link it to how the capacity for change in communities is assessed, understood and activated. We explore different perspectives on what constitutes community capacity and how it affects community development and action.

Activities and Assignments

Resource Identification

Required Material

In addition to the material listed above, choose at least one of the following depending on your interest.

  • Rohleder, P., Swartz, L., Carolissen, R., Bozalek,V., & Leibowitz, B. (2008). "'Communities Isn't Just About Trees and Shops: Students from Two South African Universities Engage in Dialogue About 'Community' and 'Community Work'." Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 18, 253-267
  • Jakes, Susan, (2015). Engaging community change: the critical role of values in asset mapping. Community Development, (Vol.46, No.4, 392-406).

Module 12 - Community, Culture and Economic Development

Two communities can appear quite similar in terms of economic structure, population size and characteristics of residents; yet their vision, decision making processes, and strategies for achieving their vision can be dramatically different. Why is this? Up to this point in the course, we have focused on different ways that communities have been described and applied those theories somewhat independently. Now we begin the more difficult task of bringing all of the elements or theories of community we have been studying together to understand why communities can function quite differently, and what that means for community development practice.

Activities and Assignments

Participate in discussions

Required Material

  • Ramsay, M. (2013). Community, Culture, and Economic Development: Continuity and Change in Two Small Southern Towns, 2nd Edition, State University of New York Press (entire book).
  • "Somerset County Changes and the History of Charles Street." Maryland Morning Podcast, July 23, 2014. (the first half is an interview with Ramsay)
  • ACLU of Maryland, & Somerset County NAACP. Semper Eadem: "Always the Same"? A report by the ACLU of Maryland and the Somerset County NAACP on continuing racial disparities in Somerset County government. undated, circa 2009.

Module 13 - Community Visioning and Engagement

What is the community's vision for the future? Is it a proactive and forward-looking process that includes all aspects of well-being that a community would like to address? A critical component of community development is participation from a diverse array of the organizations, groups and individuals in the community. Unfortunately, participation by representatives of different groups is often uneven. This raises the question of who is left out and how to include those who do not traditionally participate. Efforts to encourage broad participation contribute to the building of networks and interactions across groups and individuals and can facilitate community improvement efforts. Citizen participation is important in all aspects of community development, and more generally for community quality of life.

Note: This week's list is long but several of these are very quick reads or videos. Please look at all of them to get a full discussion and examples.

Activities and Assignments

Participate in discussions

Required Material

  • Fiorina, Morris P. 1999. "Extreme Voices: A Dark Side of Civic Engagement." Pp. 395-425 in Skocpol, T. and M.P. Fiorina (eds.) Civic Engagement in American Democracy. Washington, D.C.: Brookings.
  • Lachapelle, Paul. (2008). "A Sense of Ownership in Community Development: Understanding the Potential for Participation in Community Planning Efforts." Community Development, 39(2), 52-59
  • Bassler, Allan, Kathy Brasier, Neal Fogle and Ron Taverno (2008). Developing Effective Citizen Engagement: A How-to Guide for Community Leaders. Pp. 12 - 21 Harrisburg PA: Center for Rural Pennsylvania
  • Sterrenberg, Jay Arthur. 2018. "The Gateway Drug to Democracy". The Atlantic.
  • Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (2006). How to Create a Great Indy Neighborhood. City of Indianapolis.

In addition to the material listed above, choose at least one of the following depending on your interest.

Module 14 - Strategies for Achieving Community Goals

Throughout the course, we have spent a great deal of effort learning about communities, how they function, and factors influencing their ability to change and respond to change. This is just the beginning. The knowledge we have gained becomes most useful when it contributes to communities achieving the goals they identify for improved well-being. Too often, planning ends with the plan or vision. If broad-based planning and visioning efforts do end at that point, they contribute to social well-being for those involved and they may contribute to the development of community field. But in terms of improving other aspects of quality of life, especially for those not involved in the planning/visioning process, they have failed. To be successful for the entire community, efforts must be made to implement the plan and achieve the community's goals. Actually achieving goals is a great motivator for continued efforts and action.

Activities and Assignments

Written Assignment 750 words

Required Material

  • Pigg, Kenneth E. and Ted K. Bradshaw. (2003). "Catalytic community development: A theory of practice for changing rural society." Pp. 385-396 in David L. Brown and Louis E. Swanson (eds.) Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-first Century. University Park, PA: Penn State Press.
  • Wilson, Lisa Pulsipher and Nick Sanyal (2013) "The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: Antecedents for and Effectiveness of Community Engagement in Two Small Rural Towns", Journal of Community Engagement vol.6 no. 2
  • Chazdon, Scott A. & Stephanie Lott (2010). Ready for engagement: using key informant interviews to measure community social capacity. Community Development, (Vol 41. No.2

In addition to the material listed above, choose at least one of the following depending on your interest.

  • Hibbard, Michael and Chin Chung Tang. (2004). "Sustainable Community Development: A Social Approach from Vietnam." Journal of the Community Development Society, 35(2), 87-104.
  • Matanovic, Milenko. 2014. "Courage to collaborate: Milenko Matanovic at TEDxTacoma"
  • Mahomed, Halima and Brianne Peters. (2011) "The Story Behind the Well: A case sudy of successful community development in Makutano, Kenya" Global Fund for Community Foundations.

Module 15 - Final Essay

The Final Integrative essay is due this week.

A Word About Absences

Life happens: all of you are involved with families, professions, other courses, etc. If you know you will be unable to complete an assignment on time (including participating in discussion forums) contact me in advance to discuss accommodations, which may include accepting a late submission for full credit.

If you anticipate being unable to fulfill the requirements to complete this course by the end of the semester, you must contact both Patricia Spears-Taff, CEDEV Program Manager & Student Advisor (, and me as early as possible to discuss alternative arrangements.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.


ISBN: 978-0941042260
Wilkinson, K. P. (1999). The Community in Rural America. Social Ecology Press.
ISBN: 978-0313264672
Wilkinson, K. P. (1991). The Community in Rural America. Praeger.

ISBN: 978-1438448862
Ramsay, M. (2014). Community, Culture, and Economic Development: Continuity and Change in Two Small Southern Towns (2nd ed.). SUNY Press. (E-Book option available)

For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website.

Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. It is very important that you purchase the correct materials. If your course requires one or more textbooks, you must have exactly the correct text required (edition and year).

E-Book Option

An online version of one or more of your texts is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. You can access the E-Book by selecting the Library Resources link in Course Navigation, and then selecting the E-Reserves link. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help (UL-RESERVESHELP@LISTS.PSU.EDU).


This course requires that you access Penn State library materials specifically reserved for this course. You can access these materials by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, or by accessing the Library E-Reserves Search and searching for your instructor's last name.

Grading Policy

Assignments for this class will be graded on a point system with a total of 1000 possible points. The turnaround time for graded assignments is generally one week or less.

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value
Discussions 330
Written Assignments 200
Resource Identification 150
Midsemester Essay 120
Theories Matrix and Final Essay 200
TOTAL: 1000

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 95% 950–1000
A- < 95% – 90% 900–949
B+ < 90% – 86.7% 867–899
B < 86.7% – 83.4% 834–866
B- < 83.4% – 80% 800–833
C+ < 80% – 75% 750–799
C < 75% – 70% 700–749
D < 70% – 60% 600–699
F < 60% < 600

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

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 Resources.

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 an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' 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 to 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.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat or phone.

It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Try to include information such as the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Support Services

As a student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the following resources for more information:

Accessibility Information


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

Penn State Policies

Login 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.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

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Please 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.

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Copyright Notice

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Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

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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 website provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources page.

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' 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 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.