Geology 140 - Environmental Geology
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Geology 140 Course Policies

Fall 2011

Judi Kusnick
Placer Hall 1019
Office Hours: TTh 12-1, W 1-2 or by appt.
Office phone: 278-4692
Home phone: 530 -756-8404 before 10 pm - urgent calls only or by prior arrangement

Catalog Description: GEOL 140. Geology and the Environment. Applies geologic data and principles to situations affecting our environment. The geologic study of earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, landslides, groundwater and similar topics supplies the background data for lectures on land use and other social choices. Topics such as geopolitics and mineral supply provide a basis for understanding international politics, social costs, and world economics. Fee course. 3 units.

Specific Learning Objectives: This course satisfies the D2 area of the General Education requirement as outlined at CSUS. Specifically by evaluating the role of natural and human activities on Earth and the function of new and innovative technology to help solve human and naturally-produced impacts, students critically evaluate the problems and potential solutions to mitigating these impacts. Overpopulation, resource consumption, global climate change and waste disposal issues (to name a few) and the role that culture, race and gender play in these issues will be examined, debated and critically evaluated.

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

Course Themes: In this course, we will look at natural hazards and natural resources through the lenses of three big ideas:.

Format: The class will combine lecture and small group work. Because much of the material will be learned through discussion and group problem-solving, faithful attendance is essential.

Required texts:

Required work: Your grade will be based on homework assignments, three exams, a paper and presentation.

Exams: There will be two exams. The exams will consist of several short answers (paragraph-length answers), and one or two longer essays. You will receive a list of potential exam questions two weeks before each exam. Each exam will test only material covered since the previous exam. There will be no comprehensive final.

Homework assignments: There are three kinds of homework assignments. No work for the class will be accepted more than one week late, except under extraordinary circumstances.

Topic Guides due regularly: Many topics have a Topic Guide with terms to define and questions to answer. You will find links to the Topic Guides on the Course Schedule. You must write out definitions for the terms and answers to the questions and bring them to class on Tuesday. I will check that you have done them and return them to you on Thursday. Topic Guides are required but ungraded - by getting it checked off you earn all the available credit for each one. I will accept only three late Topic Guides, and only two weeks late.

Assignments due many weeks: In many weeks you will be assigned homework: either response papers, or write-ups of activities done in class. I will accept only three late Assignments, and only one week late. You may rewrite up to three assignments for a higher grade. Late assignments count as rewrites.

Response Papers: On the on-line Course Schedule, you will find links to response paper assignments. Each assignment includes a set of on-line readings and a question. Write a one-page response to the question (typed, of course) and bring it to class on Tuesday. The response papers will be graded from 0 to 2: 2 for exceptional papers, 1 for papers that answer the question, 0 for papers that fail to address the question. These papers will be graded on content only, but I may make a brief comment on the writing. A score of 1 on every paper will earn you all available points for response papers. Scores of 2 give you extra credit.

Write ups of in-class activities: Sometimes we will do activities in class where you will collaborate with your classmates in analyzing an issue. Each of these activities will have a write-up to go with it. The purpose of the write-up is to see if you can apply the ideas in class, and if you can defend your opinions with evidence. These assignments are graded on a 1-10 scale. The assignments will be available on the on-line Course Schedule (and on the Assignments page).

Paper and Presentation: You will write a 6-8 page paper on an environmental geology issue. You will choose the topic from a list provided in class and on the course web site. The paper must be analytical, outlining both sides of the argument and coming to a conclusion. You will research your own sources for this paper. Details of the assignment for the paper are available on the Paper page.

You will also be responsible for teaching this topic to the class. You will give a 15 minute presentation on the topic on an assigned day. This will be the only instruction the class will receive on this topic, so you are responsible for making sure your classmates learn the material. Your presentation will be due BEFORE the paper is due, so you must be prepared to get working on the topic early in the semester.

Grade breakdown:

Assignments (including Topic Guides, Response Papers and Activity Write-ups)
below 60

Makeup Exams: No makeups for missed exams. You may be excused from an exam if:

1. You have a Real Good Reason (illness, accident, serious family emergency, jail). I may need verification depending on the reason (i.e., kidnapped by aliens).

2. You inform me on or before the day of the exam that you have an emergency. You can always leave a message for me on my office phone, or call me at home in the evening. No call, no excused absence.