SO503: Honors Research Methods

Spring 2012 Course Policy and Information


Classroom: Lecture and Labs: CH087


Course Objectives

  1. Apply basic statistical procedures to analyze scientific data.
  2. Understand the applications of remote sensing and geographical information systems to gathering and displaying earth science data.
  3. Use modern instruments to gather oceanographic data.
  4. Understand the procedures for setting up a scientific research program.
  5. Understand some of the significant problem areas of modern oceanography.

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.  The text will be brought to class to utilize graphs, tables, figures, etc. during lectures.  The instructor may 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.

 B.  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.  If there is not enough time, the crunch applies equally to all students.

C.  Quizzes:  Short, announced quizzes covering assigned text and handout readings, labs and lectures since the last quiz may be scheduled on the syllabus.  Unless you hear otherwise, 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.  Unannounced quizzes are the option of the professor should student preparation for class deteriorate to unacceptable levels.

D.  Exams:  Students can expect short answer, calculation, and essay questions on exams.  If calculators are required, either they will be on a separate portion of the exam for which material stored in the calculator memory will no be a problem, or students will be issued calculators by the instructor.

E.  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.

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.  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.

G.  Section Leader:  Section Leaders and assistants are expected to be familiar with the procedures associated with the academic accountability system.  The section leader will have the report ready for the instructor at the start of class.

H.  Class Decorum: In accordance with USNA policy, there will be no sleeping or eating 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.

I.  Fire or other evacuation:  if the classroom or lab must be evacuated, we will move in an orderly fashion to the oceanography department assembly area and wait for further instructions.  The assembly area in the Yard adjacent to Maury Hall.

 J.  Paper:  Each student will prepare a paper that could be the background  for a research project that would be completed during 1/C year (you are not committed to actually performing this research, but are reminded that honors students are required to complete a research project, and that most of our better non-honors majors also complete a project).  The research proposal will consist of:

The paper will follow the Oceanography Department style, available on the WWW

 Critical dates for the paper will be listed on the course syllabus.

Grading:  The fraction of your grade determined by the grading categories for the different grading periods during the semester is listed below.  Students with a 90% average will be guaranteed an A, 80% a B, 70% a C, and 60% a D.  I reserve the right to lower (but not to raise) some of those guidelines if appropriate.

  5 week 12 week 15 week Course
Quiz & Labs 50 40 30 25
Tests/in class exercises 50 60 40 30
Paper     30 20
Final Exam       25

Late Bonus: Labs and papers turned in late will be awarded a 50% penalty for each day they are late.

Lab and paper submission.  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 "YourName_Lab1.doc".  Unless specifically instructed, submit one file per assignment--graphics from Excel or Matlab should be pasted into the Word document.

Adobe Connect.  We will be using  Adobe Connect for remote EI this semester.  This allows you to see my computer, or me to see your computer, for diagnosing problems in the evening or weekends.  If you have problems, email or call me and we will set up a video conference.

Syllabus.  Because we will be using EOS and Physics Today for a number of the readings, and we won't know what they will contain until we receive each issue, the syllabus at this time is just a skeleton.  I will fill it on the WWW as we go along.  The web contains the objectives for last year; we will probably cover about 70% of those topics and have 30% different topics.  If there are topics you would like to see covered, see the instructor.

SO503 Web Site.  I maintain a web site which will have material for the course, including the syllabus, lab advance sheets, data sets, and readings.  It currently  contains a file with copies of old exams and quizzes (but not the final exam) which you may use for review purposes.  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.