Contact Information

Course Logistics

Student Success

Success in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) courses like Oceanography (GEOL 1140) depends on a student's preparation and participation as well as on the format of the course.

Course Materials

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course a student is expected to be able to:

Spring 2012 Course Schedule


Lesson Topic(s)


18-Jan:20-Jan Introduction; Earth and its Waters 1 and 2
23-Jan:27-Jan Plate Tectonics and the Development of Ocean Basins 3
30-Jan:3-Feb Seafloor Features and Sedimentation 4
6-Feb:10-Feb Physical Properties of Water 5
13-Feb:15-Feb Chemistry of Seawater: Salts, Dissolved Gases, and Nutrients 6
22-Feb:24-Feb Structure and Dynamics of the Atmosphere 7
27-Feb:2-Mar Ocean Circulation and Structure 8
5-Mar:9-Mar Ocean Surface Currents 9
12-Mar:16-Mar Waves: Swells to Tsunamis 10
19-Mar:23-Mar Tides: "Waves" Raised by Sun and Moon 11
26-Mar:30-Mar SPRING BREAK ---
2-Apr:6-Apr Land and Sea: Coasts, Beaches and Estuaries 12
9-Apr:13-Apr Marine Environmental Issues: Erosion, Pollution, and Wetlands 13
16-Apr:20-Apr Oceanic Environments for Life 14
23-Apr:27-Apr Flows of Nutrients and Energy: Oceanic Productivity 15
30-Apr:4-May Planktonic Communities: Drifters 16
7-May:11-May Nektonic Communities: Free Swimmers 17
14-May:18-May Benthic Communities: Bottom Dwellers 18
23-May final exam, 10:00-11:50 AM all


Grades will be based on total scores for:

There will be no alternate or "extra credit" assignments. For the writing assignments a student will read an article of their choice from a set of three selected for the class and write an outline, an abstract and a revised abstract of that article. The final grade will be computed from the total of 300 points and 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 class score distribution, but under no circumstances will a student who earns a score of <60% or fails to turn in any element of the writing assignments receive a satisfactory (A, B or C) grade.

A student should expect to spend about 6 hours per week reading, taking notes on the text, and studying for exams. Completion of the homework and writing assignments will also require about 9 hours over 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. Absences will be excused if the student: (1) notifies the instructor by email or phone, (2) schedules a time to make up the missed work before the next class session he or she attends, and (3) makes up the work as scheduled. Unexcused absences will be tallied in the online gradebook, and a student who incurs six unexcused absences will be dropped from the class. A student may withdraw before 27-Apr-2012 without receiving a grade, and is responsible for notifying the admissions and records office and completing all necessary forms. Arrangements for an incomplete must be made with the instructor, and an "I" will be granted only in the case of an unforeseen personal or family emergency.

Learning Disabilities

If you anticipate the need for reasonable accommodations to meet the requirements of this course you must register with the Disabled Student Services (DSPS). If you qualify for services through DSPS, bring your official notification of your accommodation needs to your instructor as soon as possible. Disabled Student Services is located in Eddy Hall and can be contacted by calling Donna Farris or Linda Rogers at 938-5297.

Make-up Policy for Missed Work

Writing assignments, computer exercises, midterm exams and daily clicker questions may be made-up if: (1) prior arrangements have been made with the instructor; and (2) they are completed by the next class period or before graded exercises are returned to the class (as appropriate). The final exam may not be made up.

Late Assignment Policy

Writing and online assignments will be penalized 1 point for each class period they are late, and will not be accepted after the graded assignments have been returned to the class.

Academic Integrity

Students are encouraged to collaborate with one another as they discuss assignments and prepare for exams. I expect that a student will work independently, however, when he or she takes exams, and writes his or her outline and abstracts. If I find evidence that any students are not living up to this code of academic integrity (for example, because they submit identical or nearly identical writing assignments) I reserve the right to drop them from the class unless it is after the fourteenth week, in which case the students will receive F grades regardless of accumulated points.