1. To understand the breadth and significance of the science of geology
to the environment, to the Earth, to you, and to society.
2. To become familiar with the methods used in solving problems in environmental geology, including field observations, laboratory work, data analysis, hypothesis testing, and research.
3. To understand the basic geologic processes responsible for the Earth's landscape and internal structure.
As part of this course, we will conduct investigations into several problem areas of environmental geology using basic principles and methods of science and geology. The course format will be nontraditional in several ways: 1) the content of the course topics will be driven by questions, 2) we (the class) will conduct the research (i.e. collect and analyze data) to address the question, and 3) your active participation in the course (as an individual, as a small group member, and as a class member) is critical to your success in the course as well as to the success of the class as a whole
The objectives of our class are 1) to scientifically understand
the geologic processes underlying our investigation topics, 2) to learn
basic approaches and methods that can be used to study problems in environmental
geology, 3) to understand the role of society in causing and solving environmental
problems, and 4) to understand the relationship of the findings at WCU
study to similar problems in other regions of the world.
I have high expectations for each of you. I expect you to attend all classes and I expect your active participation in class--by listening, thinking, asking questions, and relating ideas and topics we discuss to other courses and your past experiences. The primary purpose of lecture is not to provide you with a "good set of notes" ready for publication (nor is it to provide you with a set of notes to memorize to regurgitate for an exam). Contribute to and engage yourself in the course--the quality of your experience in the course and the quality of the class depend on it.
I expect you to dedicate at least 6-9 hours per week to our class outside of scheduled class meetings—whether or not there is an exam or an assignment pending. I do not expect you to do well in this course without this work effort.
I expect you to take all assignments seriously whether they are to be turned in or not. I expect you to have lightly read appropriate chapters in your text prior to class time. I expect you to understand the topics we discuss. Understanding is not being able recite definitions of various terms (although I do expect you to know appropriate terminology). Understanding means comprehension; it means you understand relationships between facts; it means you can explain relationships and make predictions; it means you see connections between observations that someone without the understanding does not. For example, with respect to geology, understanding is being able to explain why the dams on the Mississippi River have increased rates of coastal erosion along the Gulf of Mexico, or why clear cutting on a hill top may cause a decrease in fish abundance in a stream in a nearby valley.
I expect you to attend all classes unless you have an excused absence, although I will not directly count attendance in your grade. Your presence, your preparedness, and your participation in all classes are critical to your success in the course as well as the success of the class. Exams may be made up only if you have a valid excuse with written documentation.
Please be in the classroom on time. Show courtesy and respect to fellow students by being quiet and attentive when someone is speaking. Being late to class and non-course related talking during class are not just bad manners, but they diminish the educational value of the course to the class as a whole. Simply, behavior disruptive to the education of the class will not be tolerated.
Environmental Geology, 8th Edition by Keller, 2000
First the obvious--do all assignments, come to all classes, read your text before coming to class, and study regularly rather than just prior to exams. Reread (or better, rewrite) your class notes and add your own notes from the text. Set up a regular study schedule; a few hours of study crammed into the night before the exam will not produce acceptable results. Consider setting up study times with others to review and quiz each other. Important--see me and other human resources when you have difficulty. It is best to try to see me during my office hours, but you are welcome to try to catch me anytime—I am around a lot. Also, feel free to email me--this is sometimes the easiest way to get some quick help. I am anxious to get to know each of you past our time in class and work with you to improve your understanding and experience in the course.
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