All course information is listed within this syllabus.

ENT 222N: Honey Bees and Humans (3 credits). The intimate association between honey bees and human societies dates back over 8,000 years, which has fostered a rich, nuanced, and complex history binding the two through the ages and across the globe. In this class, you will learn about honey bee biology and colony organization, and the many cultural, political, and ethical implications of beekeeping that have shaped historical and current perspectives on honey bees worldwide.

Prerequisites: None

Instructor

Instructor for ENT 222N

Natalie Boyle
Assistant Research Professor

Department of Entomology
W105 Millennium Science Complex
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: natalie.boyle@psu.edu

Office Hours: By appointment

Course Overview

Among more than 1,000,000 known insect species, honey bees are truly unique. No other insect has been harnessed so effectively to benefit humankind: Honey bees provide critical pollination services for agricultural crops, and the wax and honey they produce are valuable commodities. Furthermore, their fascinating social life-style has intrigued individuals from hobby beekeepers to scientists studying complex questions about the evolution of sociality.

This course will provide students with a strong understanding of (1) honey bee behavior (particularly their complex and sophisticated social systems), biology, and health, (2) the important contributions honey bees and their pollination services make to maintaining natural ecosystems and increasing productivity of many of our key agricultural crops; and (3) the global history of humans' interactions with honey bees, and how people from many cultures have managed bees to provide honey, wax, and pollination services. Grades will be based on quizzes, discussion forum entries, homework assignments, a midterm, and a final exam.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand how bees are related to other insects, understand what features differentiate bees from other insects.
  • Compare and contrast the biology/behavior of eusocial honey bees to that of primitively social bumble bees and solitary bee species.
  • Understand the unique characteristics of honey bee behavior (reproductive and worker division of labor, chemical communication, dance language, etc.), morphology, physiology, and genetics.
  • Describe how the keeping of honey bees has changed over time and across cultures and articulate the pros and cons of "modern" bee husbandry.
  • Describe the role and importance of pollinators in society and their economic importance worldwide.
  • Understand that pollinator species are in decline, the factors responsible for this decline, and the response of the scientific and beekeeping community to address these challenges.
  • Develop approaches for assessing the scientific validity of the information presented in popular media.
  • Communicate effectively to the public your knowledge of honey bee biology, management, their importance as pollinators, and the challenges they face.
  • Develop an appreciation for the scientific method and research.

Course Outline

Module 1: The Origin of Insects, Bees, and Honey Bees
Module 2: Honey Bees of the World
Module 3: Sociality and Honey Bee Biology
Module 4: Family Matters
Module 5: Altruism
Module 6: Honey Bee Morphology and Physiology
Module 7: Honey Bee Nutrition
Module 8: Honey Bee Communication
Module 9: What Bees Do for Us
Module 10: Bees in Ancient Culture
Module 11: Bees as a Model for Scientific Inquiry
Module 12: Bee Breeding and Management
Module 13: Are Bees in Decline? Declining Forces
Module 14: Pollination
Module 15: News, Politics, and Solutions

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

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.

Optional

ISBN: 978-0674074095
Winston, M. L. (1991). The Biology of the Honey Bee (Revised ed.). Cambridge , MA: Harvard University Press.

You may purchase course materials from Barnes & Noble College (the bookstore used by Penn State's World Campus). For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College. Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. Alternatively, you may obtain these texts from other favorite bookstores. Be sure you purchase the edition/publication date listed.

Assignments

Each week you will be expected to complete one homework assignment or post and respond to two peer-submitted discussion topics. Homework and discussion assignments will alternate throughout the semester depending upon the material introduced in class that week.

Weekly Assignments
Assignment Due
Post Initial Discussion Response Wednesdays
Post at Least Two Discussion Responses to Peers Sundays
Homework Assignments Sundays
Weekly Quiz/Exam/Final Exam Sundays

Weekly quizzes will cover material introduced from each module. Each module presents many opportunities to 'check your knowledge' through a mix of interactive questions. Some of the questions posed in these ungraded self-evaluations will appear in your weekly quiz, so please pay attention to these sections as you learn the material. For weekly contributions to discussions, homework assignments, and quizzes, no credit will be given if submitted after the due date.

There will be a written midterm and cumulative final exam. Questions will be T/F, multiple-choice, and short-answer. The date of the final will be announced. If you have a conflict, be sure to inform Dr. Boyle at least a week in advance. If you miss a quiz or exam because of unexpected injury or illness be sure to e-mail me within 24 hours of the quiz or exam to request a make-up. Documentation will be required and make-ups may take any form including written essay or oral examination.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Weight
Weekly Quizzes 20%
Weekly Assignments 30%
Midterm 20%
Final Exam 30%
TOTAL: 100%

Course grades will be assigned using this scale.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 84%
B- < 84% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

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.

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' 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.

Accessibility Information

  • Accessibility statement for Canvas.

Netiquette

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.

Remote Learning

Visit the Penn State Remote Learning website as it provides answers to frequently asked questions, offers student support resources, and contains contact information for those who can help answer any questions you may have about learning remotely.

Support Services

As a Penn State student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the Student Support Resources page for more information.

If you experience technology problems of any kind in Canvas, please select the Help icon and select "Report a Canvas Problem," "Chat with Support," or "Call Support." It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delay assistance. 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.).

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. Please visit the University Libraries website as it provides services including tutorials, peer reference consultants, an ask-a-librarian chat service, and data support to students from all campuses.

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.

Course Availability

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

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.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity at the Report Bias webpage.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their web privacy statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff webpage for information regarding its rules on governing the privacy of student educational records.

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)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 814-863-0395
  • Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
  • Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
  • Mental Health Services

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.