Geology 12 - Historical Geology
Course Syllabus Course Schedule Assignments Department Home Page Kusnick Home Page

Geology 12 Course Policies Fall 2015

Judi Kusnick
Placer Hall 1019
Office Hours: TTh noon-1pm, Weds 11-noon or by appt.
Office phone: 278-4692
Home phone: 530 -756-8404 before 10 pm
Catalog description: GEOL 12. Historical Geology. Origin and geological history of the earth and the evolution of its animal and plant inhabitants. Fee course. Note: Lecture 3 hours. Prerequisite: GEOL 5 or GEOL 10 and GEOL 10L. Graded: Graded Student. Units: 3.0
G.E. Credit: Geology 12 satisfies GE Area B-5.
Area B-5 Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to do one or more of the following:

Course Themes: In this course, we will focus on three big ideas:

Specific Learning Objectives: At the end of this course, you should be able to do these things:

Format: The class will combine lecture and small group work. Because many of the problems you do will be done in class, faithful attendance is essential.

Required texts:

Required work: Your grade will be based on one quiz, two exams, homework assignments, and a comprehensive final.

Exams: There will be two 60 minute exams and one 20 minute quiz. The quiz and exams will consist of short answer questions and essays. Short answer questions typically require recall of information and can be answered in a paragraph to half a page. Essays require synthesis and application of information, often making interpretations and providing evidence. Essays should be one to two pages. For each exam, you will find a list of potential exam questions at the "EXAM" link on the course schedule. I will select the questions for that exam from that list, so if you prepare answers to those questions, you should do well in the course. WARNING: because you have the questions in advance, I expect very high quality answers. See below for the grading standard.

Final: The final is the same format as the exams, but about twice as long, and comprehensive. It will draw on the unused potential questions from all the exams, as well as a brief list of questions from the last couple weeks of the course.

Homework assignments: There are three kinds of homework assignments. Assignments are due at the beginning of class.

Topic Guides due almost every week: Every chapter has a Topic Guide with instructions for reading the chapter, some terms to pay attention to, Key Concepts and Questions to address, and an Assessment outline that shows what you need to know and be able to do for that topic. You will find links to the Topic Guides on the Course Schedule. You must write out definitions for the vocabulary words and answers to the questions and bring them to class. At the beginning of class I will check that you have done them. 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 Reading Guides, and only one week late.

Assignments due many weeks: You will be assigned geologic problems to work on every week in the first half of the semester. Usually we will work on the problems in class and you will finish them at home. You can work on the problems together, but you will hand in your own assignments and receive individual grades on them. You will be permitted to rewrite up to five assignments (including Topic Guides) for a higher grade. Late assignments count as rewrites, and will not be accepted more than one week late. There is a master list of assignments and due dates available at the Assignments link.

Group Problem Set: The second half of the semester is devoted to the history of the Earth. You will learn this material by reading the textbook, by listening to some lectures, and through a series of problem sets in which you will interpret the geologic history of a region from stratigraphic data. You will do the problem set mostly in class (with some outside time if you don't finish in class) in groups, and hand one copy in as a group (you will all want your own copy to use to study for the exams).

Field Trip: You are required to attend a field trip to Rocklin. The date will be announced as soon as the vehicles are reserved. You will complete a write-up during the field trip which will be a portion of the homework score. If you have a conflict with the field trip date, see me ASAP. There is a required field trip fee.

Grade breakdown:

Assignments (including Topic Guides)
Group Problem Sets
below 60

Grading Standard: Exams

A: Answer completely addresses question. Answer completely explains answer, contains requested details, and illustrates mastery of the concept. For short answer questions, the requested information is complete and well-explained. For essays, the answer provides evidence for every argument, synthesizes information from different topic areas, and clearly distinguishes between evidence and interpretation. Neither short answer questions nor essays must be written as expository writing; charts, annotated lists and illustrations may be appropriate as long as they completely answer the question.

B: Answer competently addresses the question. The answer may be lacking a bit of explanation or a few details. Some less important information may not be quite correct. "B" answers for short answer questions typically are missing a piece of requested information or explanation of the information. "B" quality essays are typically lacking some evidence or contain a bit of incorrect information.

C: Answer adequately addresses the question. "C' quality short answers are typically missing one piece of important information, missing a significant amount of explanation, or contain some incorrect information. "C" quality essays typically are missing significant amounts of explanation or evidence, or do not synthesize information well. "C" quality answers may confuse evidence and interpretation to some degree.

D: Answer is inadequate. "D" quality short answers typically are missing about a third of the relevant information, or lack explanation. "D" quality essays do not synthesize information, do not provide evidence for arguments, or fail to address a large portion of the question. Because essays require synthesis and application of knowledge, simply doing a "brain dump" of all the information you know about a topic will result in a "D" grade. Each essay must contain the relevant information shaped into an evidence-based response to the question to be considered adequate.

F: Answer is very inadequate. "F" quality short answers contain less than 60% of the required information, with very little explanation. They typically include significant incorrect information. "F" quality essays contain little or no evidence, little or no synthesis, and very little relevant information.

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.