NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Energy & the Environment

ECON 2000

This course provides students with an understanding of energy, the environment, and the economy from a social science perspective and junior/senior level lesson plans/activities for economics, history, and government courses. The U.S. corn-ethanol industry will be used as a case study. The course includes a one-day field experience that include classroom activities, a tour of a corn farm, corn-ethanol refinery, and retail fuel stations. The face-2-face field experience is contingent on there being no to minimal spread of COVID-19 in accordance with North Dakota and the CDC guidelines.


  • Define energy.
  • List characteristics of transportation fuels.
  • Definite and give examples of environmental externalists.
  • Identify major US and state energy laws and regulations.
  • Describe the importance and use of carbon accounting.
  • Be able to calculate a products financial and environmental cost using carbon accounting.
  • Describe the U.S. corn-ethanol supply chain.

Required Student Resources:

  • Internet access
  • No text is required, readings will be assigned from publicly available sources.

"Course did a good job educating on dfferent types of energy, particularly renewable from start to finish. I also think the cars did a good job with issues surrounding energy production."

"Dr. Ripplinger was very knowledgeable of the content area and responded to my questions."

"Field day was great and that we got to meet face-2-face as a class. The tours we took that afternoon really gave me a better understanding of the information. The videos that were posted to Blackboard were really beneficial in learning the content and completing the assignments."

"The field day was fun and engaging!! I learned a lot of things I didn't know. I really enjoyed the format of the course."

"Thank you for a great and very interesting course."