Physical Geography Course Policy Letter

SO262, Fall 2018

Sections:  1001


Instructor: Prof. P.L. Guth

            Available Hours: By arrangement

            Office and Phone: (distributed in class first day)


Text: Christopherson, Elemental Geosystems, 7th Ed.


Course Learning Outcomes  


  1. Describe how the physical environment influences natural resources, human culture, national security, and military operations.

  2. Understand the basic scientific principles of physical geography, and how location on earth influences climate, landforms, soils, and natural vegetation. 

  3. Discuss the controls on climate, and the distribution of climate regions.

  4. Discuss the physical processes and resulting landforms in coastal, river, glacial, and desert environments.

  5. Use satellite imagery and geographical information systems to look at the physical environment in a wide range of natural environments. 


Course Policy and Guidelines:


Students in this course will come to class prepared, alert and ready to actively participate in classroom discussions.  The following course policies are listed for your guidance:


A.  Reading Assignments:  Will be completed prior to each class, and may be included on quizzes prior to coverage in lecture.  The instructor may lecture from material not readily available to the student.  It is imperative that students keep well organized class notes.  The student is responsible for all material covered in class and during laboratory sessions.  The instructor will cover major topics and supplement text material in lecture, but some testable material will only be found by reading the text.  The frequency of unannounced quizzes will be driven by the level of interest and preparation demonstrated by students in class.


B.  Calculators: Calculators should not be required for quizzes and tests.  If calculators are required for graded work, students will be notified in advance, and the quiz or test will be in two parts: one with calculators allowed, and the other without.  Calculators will not be allowed otherwise.


C.  Cease Work:  Students will immediately stop work on all graded work when instructed to do so by the instructor.  Where I come from, failure to do so resulted in dismissal for an honor violation.  Here I will take up the matter with your company officer as failure to respond to a direct order and violation of written instructions.


D. Quizzes and Tests.   The tests will be a mixture of definitions, short answer and problems.  There will be announced quizzes approximately every other week.  Each student will also so a 5 minute presentation on a satellite image related to one lesson which will count as a quiz grade. Tests from previous semesters are posted on the course web page.


E.  Absenteeism: If you miss a class you are responsible to get the notes, handouts and assignments from that session.  Lateness will be duly reported by the section leader or assistant section leader.


F.  Extra Instruction:  The instructor has an open door policy, but you must find him in before you can take advantage of it.   The most efficient way to obtain E.I. is to make an appointment.  E.I. may not be possible on the spur of the moment; professors do have other commitments.  Come to E.I. prepared to recount what you have already done to find answers to your questions; have questions ready.  The key to education is learning to find answers on your own.  You will be encouraged to do just that (painful as it may be).  DO NOT come to E.I. expecting "gouge" as you will be disappointed.


G.  Section Leaders:  Section Leaders and assistants are expected to be familiar with the procedures associated with the academic accountability system.  You are required to simply report what is true and allow the system to make judgments concerning guilt.


H.      GRADING    



5 week

12 week

18 week


Quizzes and Exercises















Final Exam






The quiz grade will include:


I. Project. There will be a  project required for this course.  You will be responsible for collecting data and performing an analysis of a region to demonstrate that you can apply the principles of physical geography. 


Fire or other evacuation:  if the classroom or lab must be evacuated, we will move in an orderly fashion to muster on Stribling Walk between Tecumseh and the Mexican Monument.  If on the lab deck we will use the nearest open doorway to exit toward Ingram Field and then go around the buildings.


K.  Classroom Decorum.  In accord with USNA policy, there will be no eating or sleeping in class.  In accord with Oceanography Department policy, the only drinks allowed in the classroom will be a personal water bottle or covered coffee mug that will be removed at the end of the classroom and will not generate any trash.  Violators of this food and drink policy will be dismissed from class with a note to their company officer.  Once class starts and until class is dismissed, there will be no using the computers in the classroom unless directed by the instructor for class purposes.


L. SO262 Web SiteI maintain a web site with the syllabus and  material for the course.  This site will be updated throughout the semester.

Last revision 4/27/2018