Course Policy Letter

SO422, Spring 2009



Instructor: Prof. P.L. Guth

            Available Hours: By arrangement (usually in 0745 to 1645)

            Phones:  (provided in class, first day)



         Komar, Beach Processes and Sedimentation, 1998, Prentice Hall (2d ed)

         Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engineering Manual, on-line PDF files.


Course Objectives:

1.  Study and evaluate, quantifying where possible, oceanographic processes in the region extending from the edge of the continental shelf to the shore.

2.  Describe beaches, shallow water waves, and the interactions of waves and the shore.

3.  Understand the tradeoffs to society in developing the nearshore environment.

4.  Analyze the relationship of nearshore oceanography to amphibious operations of the Navy and Marine Corps.

5.  Integrate classroom and laboratory studies with the environment through a field trip to gather and analyze data.


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 text will be brought to class to utilize graphs, tables, figures, etc. during lectures.  The instructor will also lecture from other 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.


Many students will find that the texts are not easy books to skim through.  You will find that there are many things we do not know in detail about the nearshore environment, with active debate and ongoing research.  You should let the class discussion and the course objectives guide your reading; you can skim many of the mathematical discussions, but should focus on the summaries of what happens and why.  Read the lesson objectives before you read each assignment


B.  Calculators: All graded work is likely to involve calculator work.  We will supply calculators.


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:  Short, announced quizzes covering assigned text and handout readings, labs and lectures since the last quiz are scheduled on the syllabus; you should assume that a quiz will take place on the date listed at the start of class.  A missed quiz due to unexcused absence will receive a grade of zero.  It is the student's responsibility  to inform the instructor of the reason for his/her absence, otherwise an unexcused absence is assumed, and to schedule a makeup in a timely manner.  Since prompt feedback is vital to the educational process, I will go over all quizzes and exams, normally at the next class attendance; any material thus covered is fair game on later quizzes, tests, or the final exam.  If you do not make up the quiz before I return it to your classmates, I will assume that you have talked with them and you should expect that the makeup quiz will build on the comments I make when I return the regular quiz and cover other aspects of the material than were covered on the regular quiz.  Unannounced quizzes are the option of the professor should student preparation for class deteriorate to unacceptable levels.


E. Tests.  I will provide copies of old tests and quizzes on the course web site.   The format of the quizzes and tests will be similar to past years.  All quizzes and tests will be open book; you can use your personal copy of the text and anything you can physically and permanently write in it.  You may not use glue, staples, or otherwise increase the size of the book.


F.  Absenteeism: If you miss a class or lab session 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.


G.  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.  There will be no E.I. for an exam, and questions answered, about the material on the exam after 0001 hours on the day the exam in scheduled.


H.  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.


I.  Fast Start: This course gets off to a very fast start.  All material up through the first exam builds on the concepts and problem solving techniques that we will develop starting with the first classes and labs after the course introduction.  Do not get behind early, in either the labs or the lectures, or you will dig yourself a deep hole.  Seek help early if you need it.


J.  GRADING        



5 week

12 week

18 week

















Field Trip Group Report





Final Exam







K.  Lab report Guidelines:

1. Some labs will require individual writeups.  On these labs there will be no collaboration authorized beyond what is specifically authorized on the lab assignment sheet.  In particular you will not use old labs from individuals who have had the course before.  There will be no xeroxed copies of computer output; all output will be an original, and pasted into a Word or PowerPoint document..

2. Reports will be typed and double-spaced, and submitted to the course drop box in Blackboard. .

3. Labs will be due at the start of the lab the week following the lab.  This gives you two additional lectures to ask questions.  Labs are due on time unless you are medically incapacitated and inform me of that fact.  If you will be on watch or movement order, turn it in early. 

4.Assignments will be turned in electronically on Blackboard.  The time stamp in Blackboard will determine if the assignment was submitted on time.  The file name will be composed of your last name, an underscore, and the assignment name, such as "Guth_Lab1.doc".  Unless specifically instructed, submit one file per assignment.

5. Late labs will be assessed a bonus of -50% per work day they are late; they are late immediately following the time when due.  The late bonus will continue until the negative score give you a 0 for the lab portion of the course or you turn in the lab.


L.  Fire or other evacuation:  if the classroom or lab must be evacuated, we will move in an orderly fashion to the chapel side of Stribling walk nearest Mahan Hall.


M. 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.


SO422 Web Site.  I maintain a web site  which will have material for the course.  You are responsible for checking this site.  It currently contains: 

         Old Tests and Quizzes.  I do not view the file as a question bank, but the file should give you some indication of how we prepare tests and what concepts are important.


         Objectives and reading assignments for each lesson.

         E-text, portions of the Shore Protection Manual.

         Supplemental material to the text, mostly relating to labs.