Syllabus for GEO-151
Physical Geology acquaints you with how earthquakes, active volcanoes, and other geologic formations and processes relate to the theory of plate tectonics. The history of the theory of plate tectonics also illustrates how the scientific process works and how scientists propose hypotheses, gather evidence, discard ideas, and modify them to support existing knowledge. The course stresses that Earth continues to evolve and that its future depends on our actions of today.
Through studying the text Physical Geology: Earth Revealed, viewing the twenty-six half-hour video programs, and working through the telecourse guide, you should be able to:
You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The textbook and telecourse study guide are available from the textbook supplier, MBS Direct.
Telecourse Study Guide
Note: The video programs are being offered via streaming video technology through the course Web site. See the Video Playlist in the top section of the course space.
Physical Geology is a three-credit, online course, consisting of nine (9) modules. Modules include study materials and activities.
As the course is centered around the telecourse guide lessons, we suggest you read “Before You Begin Lesson 1” on page 3 of the telecourse guide to get a sense of how each lesson is presented. You will note the following sequence of learning steps and activities:
For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and take two proctored online examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.
Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.
In addition to posting an introduction to the class, you are required to participate in four graded online discussions, each focusing on an issue related to physical geology.
Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.
For additional information on online discussions, see Online Discussions in the Online Student Handbook.
Physical Geology requires that you complete and submit six (6) written assignments. Each written assignment consists of questions that are built around the relevant reading and viewing assignments. The question may deal with text material, video material, or telecourse guide material. Your answer to each question should be at least one typed page (avoid one-sentence definitions).
Answer each of the assignment questions as completely as possible. When you use material from your reading or viewing, be sure to cite it properly. Do not merely copy answers from your reading and viewing materials. Formulate answers in your own words, citing source materials where you feel it is appropriate (i.e., strengthens your answer).
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Modules Details for each module where you can find the written assignments. Read through the written assignment questions before you begin each lesson.
Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.
Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.
For additional information on preparing and submitting written assignments, see Preparing and Submitting Assignments section in the online Student Handbook.
You are required to take two (2) proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.
The midterm exam covers all the material assigned in Modules 1–3. The midterm examination contains multiple-choice items and short-answer essay items. It is closed-book and is two hours long.
The final exam covers all the material assigned in Modules 4–6. The final examination contains multiple-choice items and short-answer essay items. It is closed-book and is two hours long.
Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.
Statement about Cheating
You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:
If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).
First Steps to Success
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
Consider the following study tips for success:
Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.
Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:
Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.
Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)
Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.
Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.
Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.
For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.
Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism
When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
Writing Assistance at Smarthinking
Originality Report Checking at Turnitin
First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:
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