Humanities X330
Cal Poly Land: Nature, Technology and Society

A scientific investigation of the natural features of the Cal Poly landscape and their transformations by land management technology. Analysis of the environmental, economic, social, and political effects of agricultural, resource extraction and construction technology on that landscape. Emphasis on the educational, land-use and long term planning issues of technology presented by this case study.
Section 01:MW 4:10-6:00 PM in 10-124 [until further notice]
Instructor: Steven Marx
phone: 756-2411
Office: 47-25E (Faculty Office Building)
Office hours: T: 11:10-12:00noon; MW 8:10-9:00 AM
TEXTBOOK DRAFT now available for viewing and download
click here!

Spring 2002 Schedule

Week Date Location and meeting place Topic activity guest assignments and invitations work due
I 4/3 classroom

introduction to Cal Poly Land

website tour

course profile

course objectives

workgroups for website project


possible specific website topics

David Gillette, English

notes on initial organization

Get class email

Journal evaluation form

Website evaluation form


II 4/8 Poly Canyon-- gate Geology and Climate


study of geology and geological time and space


David Chipping, Physics

read and study: all documents linked to Geology and Climate on Polyland website and if possible print and read this rough draft of Geology chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide


  4/10 classroom


new maps

webpage design

website organization

Judy Swanson, Library Multimedia Center

maps and mapping

hike maps

vegetation map

other maps on cal poly land website


III 4/15 classroom and walk Soil and Water Resources pictures Del Dingus, Soil Science read the rough draft of the Climate and Soils and Water chapters of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide Journal check--conference schedule
  4/17 Horse Canyon--arboretum Plant communities and Vegetation pictures V.L. Holland, Biology read and study the all the Plant communities sections of the Cal Poly Land website and the Vegetation chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide Journal check--conference schedule
IV 4/22 classroom working on journals and websites--notes        

Trestle, Water Plant, Cheda Ranch

Train technology, water system, reservoirs, sheep, holistic grazing pictures Gary Henderson, Water Manager; Rob Rutherford, Animal Science

read and study Technology chapter and Agriculture chapter

V 4/29 classroom

Archaeology and History


Alison Preston, English

Terry Jones, Social Science

read and study the Archaeology and History chapters of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide  
  5/1 Stenner Canyon Meet at Serrano Ranch, end of Stenner Creek Road Watersheds and Infrastructure


map of Serrano Ranch

  read and study the draft of the Technology chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide  
VI 5/6 Arboretum and Reservoirs; meet at Arboretum Birds, Bees and Wildllife pictures Johanna Rubba, English Department

read and study the draft of the Birds chapter in Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide



  5/8 classroom Technology and Sustainability   Ed Johnson Utilities manager and Rex Wolf, University Architect read and study the draft of the Technology chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide journals collected
VII 5/13 computer lab         webpage peer review

Campus Farm--student experimental farm

map to get there


    Rob Rutherford, Animal Science, John Phillips, Crop Science

read and study the draft of the Agriculture chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide

Download and read Natural

chapter 10

VIII 5/20

Pennington Canyon

how to get there

hike map


Range Management, Geology, History, Landscape Appreciation     read and study the draft of the Arts chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide  
  5/22 library reference room computer lab         webpage instructor review 1
IX 5/27--holiday            
  5/29 library reference room computer lab       read the draft of the Recreation chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide webpage instructor review 2
  5/31-6/1 Swanton Ranch--rendezvous at Ranch Friday 1:30p.m. Forestry, Cattle ranching, Environmental Education, Railroad history   Wally Mark, Natural Resource Management

Ed Carnegie, Ag Engineering

X 6/3

Business School Fountain, front lawn


Land Use and Stewardship: the Master Plan  

Linda Dalton, Cal Poly Chief Planning Officer

read draft of the Stewardship chapter of Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide

read executive summary of Cal Poly Master Plan

study the Stewardship section of Cal Poly Land website

sample website evaluation [foundation]
  6/5 regular classroom 10-124

The future of Cal Poly Land

Course evaluation and planning

  Chris Clark, City and Regional Planning Department and Environmental Consultant

fill out course evaluation questionnaire

draft of Campus Sustainability Inventory

  6/7 5p.m.           journals collected
Final Exam Week

Wednesday June 12, 7:00 P.M. Reference Room computer lab

      Final Public Presentation of Websites and Journals    

Workload and Grading

  1. Journal
    1. Students keep a weekly journal--on paper or or as web site. Entries include written prose as well as maps, diagrams, drawings, photos, and other forms of expression.
    2. Journal entries center on the week’s place on Cal Poly Land, combining what students learn from lecture-presentations and reading with what they discover during the talk-walk and independent exploration.
    3. The weekly Journal entry has three elements: 1) a descriptive account of a place on Cal Poly Land 2) a scientific explanation of how something observed was made and how it works 3) a discussion of both sides of an issue regarding land and technology.
    4. Journals are collected twice during quarter for comments and grading, once on May 8 and again on June7. The total of journal grades comprises 60% of the course grade.
  2. Final Project
    1. During the time scheduled for the final exam, the class makes a public presentation of its collaborative work. The presentation is an updated and expanded version of the Cal Poly Land website developed by the instructors.
    2. Like the course itself, the website is divided by abstract topic as well as by concrete place. In groups of four, selected by major or previous expertise, students assemble, elaborate and design materials relevant to one of the first eight units of the course, maintaining a focus on the central theme of land management technology and the interplay among nature, technology and society on Cal Poly Land. For example, one group might work on the topic of the railroad, including materials on the creation of the Cuesta Grade right of way and trestle, the role of the railroad in the founding of the University, the constraints to Poly's Master Plan development created by present railroad policies, and the safety and maintenance of the section of track running through the University, augmented by sounds of engines and engineers. Each group is responsible for delivering a high-quality component of the final website and for a brief presentation to the whole class during lectures and talk-walks. This ongoing group-work encourages specialization to balance the multidisciplinary scope of each student’s journal.
    3. The final grade on the group project counts 40% of each student’s grade.