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Andrew Leakey's Laboratory

IB 107 - Global Warming, Biofuels and Food

Global Warming, Bio-fuels, and Food is a course that serves as an introduction to global change biology for non-IB majors. Lecture and discussion topics emphasize the impacts of global climate change on food production and biodiversity, and explore potential solutions in the face of ongoing environmental challenges.

This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for a Life Sciences course.

By the end of this course, you will be able to explain:

  • the causes of global climate change
  • how human activities can affect climate
  • how crop plants respond to climate changes
  • effects of global warming on biological diversity
  • how human ingenuity provides opportunities to tackle ecological challenges
  • how bio-fuels can aid in the reduction of greenhouse gases

Course Website (Moodle)

All class materials, including lecture slides, readings, homework assignments, and discussion handouts are available through the Moodle webpage for this class: Moodle webpage

Please access this page from day one of the class.

Once you followed the link above, enter your NetID and password. Please contact your teaching assistant if you have problems accessing Moodle.


Lectures are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-10:50am

The lectures are the primary teaching activity in this class. This is when I cover material for the first time and it is one good opportunity for you to ask me questions about the material we are covering. The lectures present all the material that will be covered in the exams, but there are "blanks" in the lecture notes that you need to fill out as we go along. I recommend you print out the notes and write on additional notes in lecture, but I also make the notes available as "fillable" pdf forms if you want to save paper/ink by doing it on your laptop. Reviewing the class notes and doing the assigned reading/listening after each lecture will also help you understand and remember the material.


The discussions help explain and apply the information we cover in lectures and also include review sessions to help you prepare for exams. Discussions are an easy way to earn up to 20% of the marks available in the class, but if you miss discussion sessions you will loose a lot of marks unnecessarily.

Attendance of discussion sessions will count towards your final grade. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every discussion session, so be on time! If you cannot make a session in a particular week due to illness or other emergency, please let Dr. Leakey know well in advance! A doctor’s or Dean’s note or equivalent will be required to be excused for and/or to make up missed sessions.

Home Work Assignments

Home work assignments are worth 20% of the total grade for the course. Homework assignments will be due at the beginning of lecture. Late submissions on the same day (including later in the lecture) will result in the loss of half of the points possible for the assignment. Homework that is submitted on the following day after it was due will be reviewed to provide feedback, but the assignment will not be graded. Late submissions must be pre-authorized by Dr. Leakey or validated by a note from your physician or a letter from the emergency dean.


Exams constitute 60% of your course grade. This course has 3 hour exams worth 15%, 20%, and 25% of your grade, respectively. Exam material is drawn directly from the lecture slides. Key concepts that are to be covered are listed on the first page of each set of lecture notes. Make sure you can explain these concepts. The exams will also test the new knowledge you are gaining from the class. The "blanks" in the lecture notes give you a guide to the sorts of information you might be asked about. But, please don’t only learn the information in the blanks as any of the material on the lecture notes could be covered. We will give you mock exams and practice questions in discussion sections to help you understand what to expect. Absence from an exam must be authorized ahead of time by Dr. Leakey or validated by a letter from the emergency dean.

Extra credit

Completing all extra credit assignments can earn you up to 6% extra credit. That is enough to bump you up a full letter grade! Please see the IB107 Moodle page for more information.

Code of Polices and Regulations for all Students

You should be familiar with the "Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students," University of Illinois, and will be expected to act accordingly. The full Code is available online at:

Any form of cheating or plagiarism is unacceptable, and IB 107 will deal with cheating, suspected cheating, and those who assist cheaters in accordance with the Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students, Article 1 Part 4 (

Occasionally, students do not realize that they engaged in plagiarism. A simple rule to follow: Only turn in work that you expressed in your own words. If you are copying someone else’s words without at least paraphrasing, it likely constitutes plagiarism.