- Instructor: William Hirt
- Office: SCI-217
- Office hours: MWF 10:00-10:50 AM, TTh 12:30-1:20 PM and by appointment
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 530·938·5255
- Fax: 530·938·5506
- Meeting times: online
- Meeting place: online
- Units: 3.0
- Degree applicability: UC, CSU and COS
Success in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) courses like Environmental Geology (GEOL 1110) depends on a student's preparation, participation and the format of the course.
- Preparation: ENGL 1001 (College Composition) and MATH 0850 or 0851+0852 (Elementary Algebra or Beginning Algebra I and II ) are advisories for this course. Students who have successfully completed these advisories succeed in ESS courses like GEOL 1110 at a rate (68%) more than twice that of students who have not (32%). If you have not successfully completed ENGL 1001 and MATH 0850 or 0851+0852 you are strongly encouraged to do so before you enroll in GEOL 1110.
- Participation: Students who participate in their Geology classes at least 85% of the time (as measured by attendance and the submission of assignments) succeed at a much higher rate (82%) than do students enrolled in the class as a whole (57%).
- Format: Students who enroll in online ESS courses are significantly less likely to complete them (57%) than are students who enroll in face-to-face or lab courses (70 and 72%, respectively). If you are a student who learns best by hands-on experience or in a group setting you are encouraged to take a lab or face-to-face class rather than an online class if possible.
- Textbook (required): Introduction to Environmental Geology, 5th ed. by Edward Keller (ISBN: 9780321727510)
- Online software (required): Hazard City: Assignments in Applied Geology, 4th ed. by King, Carpenter, and Wilson (ISBN 9780321716033) [An access code for this software is included with the 5th edition of Keller's text, but if you purchase a used copy of the text you may need to purchase an access code separately through the COS Bookstore or the publisher.]
Upon successful completion of this course a student is expected to be able to:
- Describe how selected geologic issues can be understood in the context of the five fundamental environmental principles of: population growth, sustainability, Earth's behavior as a system, the occurrence of hazardous Earth processes, and the application of scientific knowledge and values.
- Contrast the geologic processes that occur at different types of plate boundaries and hotspots and describe how these processes produce the unique rock assemblages found in each setting.
- Describe the causes and characteristics of common geologic hazards—such as volcanism, seismicity and flooding—and outline the constraints they place on human activities as well as strategies for coping with or mitigating them.
- Describe the formation, distribution and limits of common geologic resources—such as water, minerals and fossil fuels—and infer the consequences of humanity continuing its current patterns of resource use.
- Summarize the major changes—including climate change—that are occurring on Earth as a result of the waste and pollution generated by human activities and evaluate the pros and cons of the different strategies that have been proposed to deal with these changes.
- Analyze whether an observation, experimental result or proposed explanation is consistent with a scientific hypothesis for a natural phenomenon and effectively communicate this analysis to others.
Fall 2013 course schedule
|19-Aug—26-Aug||Orientation||websites||discussion board post|
|26-Aug—2-Sep||Fundamental concepts in environmental geology||1; aD||Rb-Sr Isochron|
|2-Sep—9-Sep||Earth's internal structure and plate tectonics||2||plate boundary characteristics|
|9-Sep—16-Sep||Earth materials: rocks and minerals||3; aA, B||earth materials & relative dating|
|16-Sep—23-Sep||Natural hazards||5||earthquake damage|
|23-Sep—30-Sep||Earthquakes and tsunamis||6, 7||Earthquake!|
|30-Sep—7-Oct||Volcanoes and volcanic hazards||8||volcanic hazards|
|7-Oct—14-Oct||Rivers and flooding||9||River Discharge|
|14-Oct—21-Oct||Landslides and mass movements||10||landslide hazards|
|21-Oct—28-Oct||Coastal processes||11||outline of article|
|28-Oct—4-Nov||Water resources||13||snowpack monitoring|
|4-Nov—11-Nov||Water pollution||14||groundwater contamination|
|11-Nov—18-Nov||Mineral resources: ore formation and mining||15||abstract of article|
|18-Nov—25-Nov||Fossil fuels and alternative energy resources||16||coal property evaluation|
|25-Nov—2-Dec||Soil formation and erosion||17||landfill siting|
|2-Dec—9-Dec||Global climate change||18||revised abstract|
|9-Dec—16-Dec||Air pollution and waste management||19||tsunamis and storm surges|
Grades will be based on total scores for:
- 17 weekly quizzes (170 total points);
- 14 weekly exercises (135 total points);
- 3 writing assignments (40 total points);
- 1 comprehensive final exam (55 points).
There will not be any alternate or "extra credit" assignments. The final grade will be computed from the total of 400 points, and will be scored as follows: > 90% = A; 80-89% = B; 70-79% = C; 60-69% = D; and < 60% = F. The instructor reserves the right to adjust these percentages if such an adjustment is warranted by the distribution of scores in the class, but under no circumstances will a student who earns <65% or fails to submit any of the writing assignments be assigned a "satisfactory" (A, B, or C) grade.
A student should expect to spend about 9 hours per week reading, taking notes on the text and working on their activities and homework assignments. Preparation of the writing assignments will require about an additional 6-10 hours during the course of the semester.
Attendance, withdrawal, and incomplete policies
Regular participation and punctual submission of assignments are required for satisfactory completion of this course. If a student incurs two unexcused "absences" (fails to submit two assignments on time without notifying the instructor) the instructor has the option of dropping the student from the class. If a student incurs four unexcused "absences" the instructor will drop the student from the class. A student may withdraw before the end of fourteenth week (22-Nov-2013) and is responsible for notifying the admissions office and completing all necessary forms. Arrangements for an incomplete contract must be made with the instructor and an "I" grade will only be issued in the case of an unforeseen personal or family emergency.
If you have a disability (learning, physical, psychological etc.) that may require classroom or testing accommodations please let the instructor know as soon as possible to ensure these accommodations are implemented in a timely manner. If you have not already done so, please contact Disabled Students Program and Services (DSPS) in Eddy Hall, or call 938-5297, for authorization and coordination of disability verification and accommodation assistance.
Make-up policy for missed work
Although our class schedule will be the same throughout the semester (new assignments will be posted on Monday mornings by 9:00 AM and be due by the following Monday at 9:00 AM) I realize that, occasionally, a student will have unforeseen problems or simply "space out" and fail to turn in an assignment in on time. The key to avoiding this problem is to complete your assignments well ahead of the Monday due dates. If you do end up missing a deadline, however, do not access the assignment in Etudes and, instead, contact me within 24 hours of the original deadline. I will re-open the missed assignment for a short period (typically two days) and suspend the accompanying review for the same period. Each student will be allowed two such "excused" make-ups, after which the late assignment policy given below will apply. Because of the tight schedule for turning in final grades the final exam may not be made up.
Late assignment policy
Except for the excused make-ups mentioned above, late assignments will not be accepted for full credit. If you find yourself having to turn a third or fourth assignment in late you probably should carefully consider whether you have the time or inclination to give this course the attention it requires. Nevertheless, it is better to submit work late than not at all. So, if you are going to be late with a third or fourth assignment contact me within 24 hours of the original deadline and I will arrange to extend the submission period for one or two days. Such assignments will be penalized 1 point for each day (or part of a day) they are late.
Students are encouraged to collaborate with one another as they work on their weekly reading assignments and exercises by posting questions to the discussion board, sending one another private messages and using the class chat area. I expect that a student will work independently, however, when he or she submits exercise results, takes quizzes and the final exam and does his or her writing assignments. If I find evidence that any student is not living up to this code of academic integrity (for example, because he or she submits a writing assignment identical or nearly identical to another student's) I reserve the right to drop that student from the class unless it is after the fourteenth week, in which case he or she will receive an F grade regardless of accumulated points.