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Course Syllabus

GGS102-Section 002 – Physical Geography

College of Science

Fall 2010

 

Instructor Information

Instructor:                  Liping Di, PhD, Professor

Assistant Instructor: Eugene Yu, PhD, Research Assistant Professor

Office Location:         10519 Braddock Road, Patriot Square Suite 2900

(By University Mall – PARKING in the Patriot Square premise. DO NOT park on the mall premise. It can be towed.)

Telephone:                 Office – (703)993-6114 (Prof. Di), (703)993-6116 (Eugene)

E-mail:                        ldi@gmu.edu,  gyu@gmu.edu

Office Hours:              Monday 3:00pm – 5:00pm or by appointment

Course Identification

Course Number:        GGS102-002

Course Name:                        Physical Geography 

Course Location:       204 Innovation Hall

Class Times:               M 7:20pm – 10:00pm

Course Description/Overview

This is an introductory course to the physical geography. It introduces the basic concepts and fundamentals of the Earth system. The course will cover earth-sun relations, weather, climate, soils, vegetation, geology, and landforms. Physical characteristics of the earth system will be the focus.

Course Learning Objectives

The course will be delivered through lectures. Students are expected to achieve the following through this course.

1.      Build up vocabulary and basic concepts of understanding the physical aspects of the Earth system.

2.      Understand the basic methods and technologies that are adopted in geography to study the Earth.

3.      Adopt basic geographic skills in analyzing and interpreting the physical phenomena and their distribution.

Course Resources

Course Website(s)

·         Course website < http://csiss.gmu.edu/teaching.htm#2010>

·         Instructor’s websites Professor Liping Di< http://ggs.gmu.edu/People/Di/Di.html > Dr. Eugene Yu < http://laits.gmu.edu/~gyu/ >

Required Course Text

·         Introducing Physical Geography, 5th Edition, by Alan H. Strahler (Boston Univ.), March 2010, ©2011 or @2009, ISBN 978-0-470-13486-3, ISBN 978-0-470-41811-6, or ISBN 978-0-470-47316-0

Reading website for the textbook

Related links may be further explored at the companion site of the textbook - http://bcs.wiley.com/he-bcs/Books?action=index&itemId=0470134860&bcsId=5524

 

Grading Scheme

Grading System

Letter Grade

Points

Grade points/credit

Rating

A+

970 & above

4.00

Excellent

A

930-969

4.00

Excellent

A-

900-929

3.67

Very good

B+

870-899

3.33

Good

B

830-869

3.00

Good

B-

800-829

2.67

Above average

C+

770-799

2.33

Average

C

730-769

2.00

Average

C-

700-729

1.67

Below average

D

600 – 699

1.00

Unsatisfactory/Passing

F

599 and below

0.00

Unsatistactory/Failing

IN

Incomplete “The grade of IN (incomplete) may be given to a student who is passing a course but who may be unable to complete scheduled course work for a cause beyond reasonable control. The student must then complete all the requirements by the end of the ninth week of the next semester (not including Summer Term), and the instructor must turn in the final grade by the end of the tenth week. Unless an explicit written extension is filed with the Registrar's Office by the faculty deadline, the grade of IN is changed by the registrar to an F. Maximum IN extension is to the end of the same semester in which it was originally due. Students who have filed their intent to graduate have only six weeks from the date of degree conferral to resolve any incomplete grade(s) and have the final grade(s) recorded by the Registrar's Office.”

AB

Absent with permission “A student who has received permission from the student's academic dean/director to be absent from a final examination for a cause beyond reasonable control may receive a temporary grade of AB. A rescheduled exam must be administered within 10 business days of the original date of the examination or the AB will automatically become an F. Final determination of academic status is not complete while the AB remains on the transcript.”

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on the following:

First exam

300

Second exam

300

Final exam

400

Total Points

1000

Course Policies

All exams are mandatory. Please make sure that you take all the exams.

Collaboration/Plagiarism Rules

Cell phones, Blackberries, iPods, PDAs, or any other electronic devices should not be used in the classroom. 

All students should abide by the University Honor System and Code as contained in the University Catalog. Please familiarize yourself with the University Honor System and Code ( http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/plagiarism.htm ).

University Policies

Academic regulations and procedures are governed by University policy.  Academic dishonesty cases will be handled in accordance the University's policies.  

If you have a disability that could affect your performance in this class or that requires an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please see me as soon as possible so that we can make appropriate arrangements.  Please be aware of the following:

George Mason University complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you have a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for equal access to education or services at George Mason University, please call the Dean of Students Office, at 703-993-2884. For other concerns about discrimination, you may contact your advisor, department head or the Office of Equity and Diversity Services, at (703) 993-8730

Academic Integrity: http://academicintegrity.gmu.edu/

Affirmative Action:

http://equity.gmu.edu/

Disability Services: http://ods.gmu.edu/

Important Dates

 

First day of classes; last day to submit Domicile Reclassification Application; Payment Due Date

August 30

Last day to drop with no tuition penalty

September 14

Last day to add classes—all individualized section forms due

September 14

Last day to drop with a 33% tuition penalty

September 21

Last day to drop with a 67% tuition penalty

October 1

Last day to drop

October 1

Selective Withdrawal Period (undergraduate students only)

October 4 - October 29

Columbus Day recess (Monday classes/labs meet Tuesday. Tuesday classes do not meet this week)

October 11

First exam

October 12

Second exam

November 8

Reading Days

December 13

Final Exam Date
(7:30 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. on Monday, December 20)

December 20

 

Course Schedule

 

Tentative Course Schedule (Fall 2010)

Week

Date

Topic and reading

Chapter

1

08/30

Introduction, logistics

Earth shape

Earth rotation

Geographic grid

Latitude and longitude

Map projections

Global time

Earth-sun relation - revolution

1

2

09/06

GMU closed for Labor Day

 

3

09/13

Electromagnetic radiation

Insolation over the Globe

Earth’s atmosphere

Sensible heat and Latent Heat

The global energy system

Net radiation, latitude, and energy balance

1,2

4

09/20

Temperature

3

5

09/27

Water

Moisture and precipitation

Ocean currents

4

6

10/04

Atmospheric pressure

Wind

Circulation

5

7

10/12

Mid-latitude cyclones, fronts

First exam

6

8

10/18

Examination review

Climate

Regional climatology

Low latitude climates

Mid latitude climates

High latitude climates

Arid climates

7

9

10/25

Natural vegetation

Ecological succession

8,9

10

11/01

Geomorphology

Plate tectonics

Rock types

11

11

11/08

Volcanism

Second Exam

12

12

11/15

Examination review

Diastrophism

Earthquakes

12

13

11/22

Weathering, gravity as erosional agent

Karst, running water landforms

13

14

11/29

Water systems

Running water landforms

14, 15

15

12/6

Wind, arid landscapes

Glaciation

Review for final exam

16, 17

16

12/13

Reading day

 

17

12/20

Final exam date