Ocean320 Syllabus


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Ocean320 Syllabus

  1. 1. SDSU Summer 2010 Distance Education – OCEAN320 The Oceans Instructor: Stephen A. Schellenberg Email: schellenberg@geology.sdsu.edu Associate Professor Email subject line must include OCEAN320, SDSU Geological Sciences your name, and short description of message What is this course about? The catalog description of OCEAN320 is “The ocean system, its influence on life, climate, the Earth, and humankind.” Given our ever-increasing impact on the ocean, we will focus on three oceanographic issues commonly encountered in the media and of broad socioeconomic relevance: • How our burning of fossil fuels is warming and acidifying the ocean • How our appetites are driving overfishing as well as the rise of aquaculture • How our demand for energy is met through sometimes risky offshore petroleum exploration Each of these issues will be explored primarily from a scientific perspective, and secondarily from economic, social, and political perspectives. Furthermore, the scientific principles underlying each issue will serve as a foundation for exploring subsequent issues; for example, we will build on our model of global ocean- atmosphere circulation (first issue) to understand why coastal regions historically had such abundant fish populations (second issue) as well as why petroleum deposits form where they do (third issue). In addition, we will examine all three issues as potential examples of the “tragedy of the commons” and “shifting baselines” – two concepts that are explored in the course introduction. What is its broader context? OCEAN320 fulfills three of your nine required units for GE Explorations and builds upon the goals and skills of your GE Foundation courses. As such, the course employs an interdisciplinary approach with more complex and in-depth theory, deeper investigation of local problems, and wider awareness of global challenges. Such Exploration courses include more extensive reading and written analyses incorporating complex comparisons, well-developed argumentation, and appropriate references to the scientific literature. More specifically, OCEAN320 is a GE Explorations course in the Natural Sciences. Thus, the course will promote your ability to: (1) explain basic concepts and theories of the natural sciences; (2) use logic and scientific methods to analyze the natural world and solve problems; and (3) argue from multiple perspectives about issues in natural science that have personal and global relevance. What are the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)? SLOs provide a set of explicit learning goals for students, and thereby directly guide the selection, organization, and delivery of all course content. The SLOs for the course are provided below, and each will be explored within a specific learning module (e.g., M01 through M08). Building a • Specify how science differs from other ways of knowing (M01) Conceptual • Explain basic concept of Tragedy of the Commons (M01) Framework • Describe phenomenon of Shifting Baselines (M01) Ocean • Model general circulation of ocean-atmosphere system (M02) Warming and • Explain process of greenhouse effect and appraise its impact on the ocean (M03) Acidification • Explain process of ocean acidification and appraise its impact on the ocean (M04) Overfishing • Model basic ecological principles of “pristine” ecosystems (M05) and • Assess impact of industrialized fishing on species and ecosystems (M06) Aquaculture • Appraise potentials and perils of aquaculture (M07) Petroleum • Generalize necessary conditions for development of oil and gas reservoirs (M08) Exploration • Visualize historical events that produced Gulf of Mexico oil and gas reservoirs (M08) and Risks • Evaluate various responses to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster (M08)
  2. 2. How will the course work? The Blackboard (BB) course page for OCEAN320 will serve as the access site for all course materials (e.g., streaming video, pdf and online readings, webpages, etc.) as well as scheduled live sessions using the Wimba Classroom. The course is divided into a sequence of modules, and each module begins with a Learning Guide (LG), which will contain the following content: • Schedule of live Wimba sessions: Module lectures and discussions will take place in the Wimba Classroom, a web-conferencing tool within BB, on most Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to no later than 11:50 AM local time (with a ten minute break around 10:50). You are strongly encouraged to participate in these live sessions, but these sessions will also be archived and viewable anytime during the course. If you cannot attend a live session, you are strongly encouraged to watch its archive on that same day; otherwise, you can quickly fall behind given our compressed summer schedule. While no formal credit is associated with these sessions, they are highly integrated with the other graded content outlined below. Take home message: Keep up-to-date on the live or archived sessions! • Schedule of live Wimba office hours: I will strive to hold at least three office hours per week, typically from 10-11 PM, in our Wimba room. I strongly encourage you to either attend these in a quiet space where you can use your computer microphone or headset-microphone as the chatbox isn’t particularly effective for the one-on-one or group discussions that typically occur during office hours. If you can’t make these evening times, please contact me to arrange an alternate time. • Activities: Activities may consist of reading articles, watching streaming videos, exploring web sites, etc., and “actionable” content for each activity (e.g., specific directions, questions, etc.) will be provided in the LG. While these activities will not be formally collected or graded, they will be an integral part of discussions in our Wimba session and are fair-game on quizzes and exams! • Optional Extra Credit Activities: I would like to pilot a few online interactive simulations and small group projects this semester for potential incorporation into future semesters. I will explain these in detail as the course proceeds, but each student should have at least one opportunity to earn 5% extra credit through their participation in, and subsequent assessment of, these activities. Note that this extra credit will be added after the final letter-grade break have been established, so students who elect not to be guinea pigs will not have their grade negatively affected. • Quiz Time-Window: Most modules will include one or more BB quizzes that will be open for 24-hour time-windows as stated on the LG. Questions will be directly related to the Wimba sessions and related activities. These quizzes will together account for 30% of your course grade. Missed quizzes may not be made up, but the two lowest scores (including zeros) will be dropped. • Feedback Time-Windows: I will be soliciting your honest and constructive feedback during the course through occasional BB surveys. To encourage this feedback, you will be rewarded with the easiest 10% of your course grade if you complete all of these feedback requests. If you are worried about offending me, don’t be as long as you make it detailed and constructive. For example, telling me the course stinks isn’t very helpful . . . telling me what stinks, why it stinks, and suggesting how to make it stink less is very helpful and very appreciated. How your learning will be assessed and graded? Your course grade will be based on module quizzes (30%), module feedbacks (10%), and two exams worth 30% each. Each exam consists of two parts: Part A will be a one-hour BB “super-quiz” comprised of multiple choice, true-false, etc. questions. Part B will be a “take- home” (now a rather anachronistic term!) comprised of a few essay questions with responses typically limited to less than 300 words. You will have 36 hours to compose your responses on any word processing program, check them for spelling, grammar, and the stated word limits, and then paste them into their respective text-box within the Part B BB “quiz”. This submission process will be explained in detail and posted prior to the exam. These exams are designed to assess your understanding of major ideas and concepts, not your ability to regurgitate specific facts, figures, and terms. So, while you are free to refer to any materials during Part A, you simply will not have time to start from scratch and “look up” the answer to every question. Please start arranging your busy schedule now to accommodate the examination days and times on the following table. For both exams, missed Part As may not be made up and late Part Bs will lose 10% for each elapsed hour past their stated submission deadline.
  3. 3. • Covers course content from 28 May through 18 June First • Part A open as BB quiz from 10-11 AM on 21 June Exam • Part B to be submitted by pasting text into BB quiz before 11 PM on 22 June • Covers course content from 22 June through 6 July Second • Part A open as BB quiz from 10-11 AM on 7 July Exam: • Part B to be submitted by pasting text into BB quiz before 11 PM on 8 July How can you get comfortable with Blackboard and the Wimba Classroom? At your earliest convenience, go to the BB Student Help page by either clicking “help” at the top of any BB page or by pointing your browser to its.sdsu.edu/blackboard/student/index.html. For Wimba, go to the “Wimba” link in the left-menu of our BB course page, where you can verify that your computer is Wimba-ready using the “Setup Wizard for Wimba” link. How can you communicate with me? The primary means to contact me outside of Wimba sessions is by email, either directly at schellenberg@geology.sdsu.edu or through Blackboard via the “Email” link in the left-menu. In either case, your email subject line must include “OCEAN320,” your name, and a very short description of your email topic – failure to include OCEAN320 may result in your email being rejected by spam-detectors, etc. I will respond to your email as soon as possible, but it is your responsibility to re-contact me if you do not hear back within 24 hours. If we can’t solve the issue via email, a phone call or individual Wimba session can be arranged. How can you ensure that you get course-related email? Check and update your email address at SDSU WebPortal (https://sunspot.sdsu.edu/portal/) as this address will be used automatically by Blackboard. If you want to minimize potential email problems, please get and use an SDSU account through WebPortal. Of course, this means you need to check your SDSU account frequently! Will the syllabus or course design change? I reserve the right to make minor modifications to the syllabus and schedule as we progress to improve the course. Any such changes will be widely distributed via BB announcements, e-mail, and an updated course syllabus posting What constitutes academic misconduct? Section 41301 of Title V of the California Code of Regulations defines academic misconduct as “cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus.” Examples of cheating include copying others’ work during an exam, falsifying data or records for an exercise, etc. Examples of plagiarism include copying other students’ answers or, when working in collaborative groups, not stating answers in your own words based on your own understanding. More information is available from the SDSU Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities (http://csrr.sdsu.edu/index.html). Can this course accommodate students with disabilities? If you have or think that you may have a disability, please immediately contact SDSU Student Disability Services (SDS), ideally prior to the formal start of the course, at http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/sds/index.html. Once you have established a formal dialog with SDS, please contact me so that we can all work together to provide effective accommodations for your specific needs. File: OCEAN320Sum10SyllabusV01.doc