GY 250 (Lecture) and GY 252 (Laboratory)

GY 250 003 21105 GY 252 007 21115 Spring 2018

IMPORTANT!!!! To do best in this class, you should be in both the ON-LINE lecture and ON-LINE lab above concurrently. You should not mix campus and on-line sections. History shows grades are lower and students must work harder, otherwise.

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Helen Hill
Office: 205 Martin Hall
Office Hours: Wednesday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., by appointment and through Blackboard IM, Blackboard Virtual Office Hours, or AOL IM

E-Mail Address: or
Telephone: (256) 782-8063 (contact me by E-MAIL)


Other Materials: webcam, computer headset (earphones and microphone), a ruler, basic function calculator, and other such basic classroom and office instruments will be required.

Homepages: The class homepages are at (LECTURE) and (LABORATORY). If materials are not posted on the Blackboard server, they will be available by link from these web locations. The web address of the Distance Learning Site is:

Dr. M. H. Hill's homepage is at This site has links to these and other web sites. If the part of the URL becomes inactive, replace with

Learning Outcomes: The student will be able to:


  1. Distinguish the broad, environmental nature of the discipline called geography.
  2. Interpret information from reading maps.
  3. Summarize Earth-Sun relations and the impacts to human-environment systems.
  4. Explain the interrelationships between atmospheric moisture, temperature, condensation, precipitation, and atmospheric aerosols.
  5. Describe the global model of atmospheric circulation and its impact.
  6. Compose a weather forecast from a weather map.
  7. Explain the components of the Earth system, and identify human impacts on these subsystems.
  8. Differentiate between Earth's climates including their locations.


  1. Interpret information from geographic tools such as maps, grids, scales, and meteorological instruments.
  2. Explain the impact of Earth-sun relations and the impacts to human-environment systems.
  3. Summarize the changes of atmospheric moisture with temperature and elevation differences.
  4. Compose a weather forecast from a weather map.
  5. Differentiate between Earth's major climates including their locations.


VERY IMPORTANT--Blackboard Gradebook: Be sure to check Tools/My Grades to make sure that scores are officially recorded. Seeing a score at the top of a test when you finish does not mean that you have received this credit, because scores are reported there without consideration of the clock. Only numbers showing in the gradebook count. Blackboard reports all time overruns and crashes as either ! or icons. These scores count as 0 points. These scores may remain visible in the student's gradebook even after more work has been successfully completed. To view subsequent scores, click on the icon to view the listing of valid scores. The professor's gradebook shows the highest score achieved. This is the way Blackboard functions and is not an issue about the system. After submitting work, check for the successful entry of the scores into your gradebook hierarchy through Tools. If the number does not show in the listing, it is a zero. When submitting work, allow for transmission time!

DUE DATES and Other Important Instructions: A due date is defined as the last calendar day that work can be completed in order to allocate sufficient time for the material. This is the last date the final attempts to raise scores should be made. Attempts should have been made prior to this date if the work has not already been completed. In other words, work should be completed AHEAD of the schedule provided, and MUST be completed by this due date. Due date does NOT mean the date to begin or to submit first attempts, but rather the last day for completion. The Assignment Window is the suggested period for evenly distributing the work, but working in advance of this schedule will lead to a more pleasant and less pressured learning experience. A make-up grace period is provided for all required assignments. This make-up grace period setting will provide ONE last attempt for grade improvement or for make-up work before the assignments disappear if that attempt has not been used. This should never be used for a first attempt; grades will suffer! Crashes or failures of this last chance attempt after the due date or as the final earlier attempt will eliminate the opportunity to improve the score. On-line classes require careful time management, because the absence of regular classroom meetings does not provide a structured and regimented forum. Self-pace yourself through the material allowing sufficient flexibility and the necessary time for review if more difficult material is encountered. Distance education students need to be self-motivated learners eager to advance their knowledge and committed to their education. Note that crashes and time overruns will count as zero and no additional attempts will be provided. Tests before the deadline are set for one extra attempt to allow for one crash or time overrun. Carefully read and follow instructions. All make-up work must be completed during this normally 24-hour (unless otherwise indicated on the schedule) make-up grace period. No additional opportunities will be available after the links disappear. Note that opening an exam uses one attempt. Links will disappear at 11:55 p.m. on the due date indicated on the schedule and on the make-up grace period date. No additional access will be available. Keep up with the assignments! Even better, stay ahead; the the highest grades are usually received by those who use their chances ahead of the schedule and allow themselves flexibility. Blackboard is incapable of calculating or computing any course points totals that are relevant to your course grade. Any "Total" column displayed in your gradebook is worthless information.

The Respondus lockdown browser is incompatible with this course. The purpose of a lockdown browser is to prevent the opening of other windows while taking an exam. A lockdown browser must NOT be used in this course, because many activities require multiple window multitasking. Likewise, tablets should not be used to open the testing instruments. Use reliable Internet connections and acceptable browsers to avoid wasting test attempts.

Mandatory Assignments: Completion of a post-test for lecture and laboratory is required. These will be limited to one attempt. Failure to complete a post-test will result in grade reduction as indicated in Blackboard.

Four examinations, each counting 1/6 of the lecture grade are available on-line prior to their due dates and make-up grace period. The examinations may be taken up to three times counting the opportunity available under the make-up grace period setting. Failure to complete the work before the due date will result in only ONE chance during the make-up grace period. No additional opportunities will be provided and crashes or time overruns will result in a score of zero. The highest score officially recorded will be used for grade calculations. Check to make sure the gradebook shows a score. Work ahead of the due dates (see Due Dates above)! Deadlines are firm. You need not use all of the attempts that are available. For best results, examine what you missed, review the material, and only then make another attempt. Consecutive attempts back to back do not significantly increase scores, and that does not help you to prepare for the comprehensive final examination. Summary point totals reported by Blackboard are meaningless.

A comprehensive final will count 1/3 of the lecture grade. The multiple choice final exam questions are variations similar to those in the resource manual emphasizing the content materials. The goal throughout the course is to build your knowledge and to prepare you for this final examination. The final exam may be taken no more than three times. The highest official score recorded by Blackboard will be used to determine the percentage. The final consists of a map portion worth 1/10th of this grade and comprehensive questions worth 9/10ths of this grade.

Bonus points are incorporated into the examinations and final. All examinations must be completed by the due dates provided in the schedule below or in the make-up grace period. Failure to complete them by achieving a valid score before these deadlines will result in a score of 0. All work is made available when the class material is opened. WORK AHEAD and meet deadlines. Note the stated additional mandatory requirements. This course is structured to help you to learn the material and to do well; however, the responsibility to use material wisely and as your individual instruction requires rests upon your shoulders. The professor is available to help you with your learning. Familiarize yourself with the syllabus including the helpful advice that is provided here, and direct your attention to the resources to build the understanding of course content. Blackboard will guide you through the resources to enable a rich and highly structured curriculum to direct your learning. The goal is to build your knowledge through an understanding of the lessons rather than simple repetition of stated facts. The final exam requires concept understanding rather than mere repetition of previously presented answers that are provided to guide learning.

How to do well: Many helpful materials are provided to guide you through learning this material. Short cuts reduce the likelihood of success and reduce scores. Follow the course through Blackboard. This organizes the assignment steps. Read the chapters in the textbook, LISTEN and view the video lectures (unlike in the classroom, they can be repeated), work through the instructional materials, LISTEN and view to the laboratory video lectures, review the instructional materials, DO THE LABORATORY ASSIGNMENT, CHECK THE ANSWERS by entering your results to these lab problems, understand errors and/or redo these activities. Then, take the laboratory exam. If you are unsatisfied with the grade, review lecture and laboratory lectures and redo the lab assignment and answers, then redo the laboratory quiz. After completing the indicated materials in the lecture lesson, you are ready to attempt the lecture mastery activity. Complete the answers and enter them into Blackboard. If the score is not satisfactory, review all of the material and try again. AFTER completing all of the lessons in the unit, attempt the lecture examination. If you are not satisfied with your score, review the material of the missed content. Do not immediately retry the exam. Remember, you are studying to learn the content for the final examination. Review the material to improve your comprehension, then make another attempt. Answers to questions on examinations may be given early on, but will not be directly supplied later in the lecture section. Your goal is to understand and to learn the material and to build your knowledge for future application throughout your life.

Each laboratory will consist of video lectures, a laboratory assignment and feedback, and a quiz. The mean of the official quiz score percentages will determine the final grade. The quizzes may be taken up to three times. The highest official score as reported to the professor by Blackboard will be used for grade calculations. Summary point totals reported by Blackboard are meaningless.

All lab quizzes must be completed by the due date or make-up grace period provided in the schedule below. Failure to complete the quizzes by these deadlines will result in a score of 0. Note that opening a quiz uses one attempt. Work has a due date and a make-up grace period. All quizzes should be completed before the due date. (See Due Dates above.) The make-up grace period provides for make-up work or one last attempt to raise the score. No additional opportunities will be available. Quizzes before the deadline are set for one extra attempt to allow for one crash or time overrun. The quizzes will disappear at 11:55 p.m. on the due date indicated on the syllabus and on the make-up grace period date. Read and follow the directions carefully. Only automatically graded points and officially recorded scores count toward the final grade.

The lab provides fundamental conceptual material for lecture and subsequent labs. A number of these critical concepts are presented early in the term. Thus, getting a strong start on the course is important to successful completion of the laboratory. Blackboard provides the materials needed to get started. Make attempts right away and work to improve scores later if you don't have all of the materials. Do not delay. Making excuses tends to forfeit the opportunities to do well.

All work is made available when the class material is opened. WORK AHEAD and meet deadlines. Additional attempts will NOT be provided in either lecture or laboratory. The laboratory contains a significant amount of preliminary introductory material making early diligence to laboratory assignments crucial for success. Note the mandatory assignments identified earlier.

The two course grades are reported separately.

Guaranteed percentage grades will be: above 90% A; 80-90% B; 70-80% C; 60-70% D; below 60% F. Grades are rounded to .01 or hundredths. Deadline for completion of the course is 11:55 p.m. Central Time (time in Jacksonville), Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

"All materials presented in this class are done so with educational goals in mind and are not intended to cause distress of any nature. Please be aware that controversial materials, theories, exhibits, etc. will be presented in this class. If you are unwilling or unable to view these presentations in the educational light in which they are presented, then you need to reconsider your enrollment in this class."

E-mail contact: All e-mail contacts will be through the JSU GEM address. If this is not your preferred address, be sure to place a FORWARD on this GEM account by logging in to your GEM address and completing the forward option. Send yourself a test e-mail at your GEM address to be certain that your forward is functional.

Reading Assignments: Use the attached schedule to read the assignments BEFORE attempting to do the activities.

Lectures: Lectures for both parts of the course are now embedded as videos in the Blackboard shells. These have been upgraded from the previous Powerpoints on disk or from downloads. These lectures are an important part of the courses and provide the classroom course content. The advantage of the on-line sections is that these lectures can be repeated, whereas on campus this is not possible. Questions from the lectures should be e-mailed to the professor with specific references to the lecture and slide number.

Disabilities: According to Public Law 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jacksonville State University will provide reasonable access and appropriate accommodations for otherwise qualified disabled students. If you need such access or accommodations, please consult with Disability Support Services and your professor immediately. Where extended testing sessions are allocated, notify the professor when additional time was needed on an attempt. Allow for e-mail response time. The additional time will be permitted, but cannot be extended after deadlines. By clicking on the ! or grade, both student and faculty can view these reports and verify completion within the appropriate time limits. The highest score within the appropriate time limit will be used.

Additional Comments: No individual extra credit papers, projects, or activities will be allowed. Use your time and energy to improve the scores on your work.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty is defined to include any form of cheating or plagiarism. A discussion of the topic is set forth in the student handbook. Working and studying with classmates is beneficial and to be encouraged. Copying work is not to be confused with comparing work and discussing similarities and differences. You are responsible for both understanding answers submitted and the completion of the materials. Academic dishonesty will receive a grade of zero for the assignment or F in the course depending on the severity of the offense and will be reported.

Questions or problems: Please contact the professor. Asking questions is an extremely important part of the learning process. For course management questions, review the syllabus. Many of the questions are answered in this document. For additional assistance, send an e-mail and/or suggest a time for a Blackboard IM conference. Be sure to have your headset available.

This syllabus is in no way binding. All information is subject to change. Any changes made by the professor will be announced to the class through e-mails or posting to the Announcements area.

Class Schedule: Use the outline provided to complete the assigned readings and activities. Note that a tentative schedule is given. It is your responsibility to complete the assignments BEFORE the deadlines. You may complete the work ahead of schedule, but remember that the completion dates and times are FIRMLY SET! All work must be completed by 11:55 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Traditionally, the students who complete the work early earn higher grades.

How to read the table--Read the table across the rows or lines. The DUE DATE is the last date that the work should be completed not begun. (See the earlier Due Dates discussion.) Allow yourself time to review and retake the exams. All rows on the table that do not have a date indicated are due on the date indicated above that row. Make-up grace periods extend for 24-hours after the due date to allow make-up work or for grade improvement. The first two lab assignments have an extended make-up grace period. Do not wait to complete the work until the make-up grace period when only one attempt is provided. For optimal grades, work ahead of this schedule. FOLLOW THE ORDER OF WORK PROVIDED and use the Blackboard resources. Work the lab assignments when indicated, not independently from the lecture.

Course Outline and Due Dates: Make-up grace periods end 24 hours after due date unless indicated in red. (Red indicates extended make-up grace period date.) Work ahead and follow the indicated order for greatest efficiency and success!


WEEK dates topic lecture
DUE DATE/grace
date (if extended)
1 January 9-15 introduction Pretest January 12/January 16
geography 1 1
location 2 1
2 January 16-22 1 lat. & long. January 16/January 22 1
earth-sun 3 1
3 January 23-29 2 time January 23/(extra time) January 30 1
3 sun angle January 29 1
4 January 30-February 5 mapping 4 2 & Appendix II
4 scale January 31 2 & Appendix II
5 projections February 5 2 & Appendix II
5 February 6-12 6 isopleths February 7 2 & Appendix II
February 12 Exam 1 February 12
6 February 13-19 atmosphere 5 3
temperature 6 4
moisture 7 6 & 9
7 February 20-26 7 moisture February 21 6 & 9 & Appendix III
8 lapse rates February 26 6
8 February 27-March 5 review
February 28 Exam 2 February 28 MID-TERM GRADE
wind 8 5
9 March 6-12 weather 9 7 & Appendix IV
9 weather March 12 7 & Appendix IV
10 March 13-26 10 weather maps March 15
5 & 7 & Appendix IV
March 26 Exam 3 March 26
11 March 27-April 2 climate 10 8 & Appendix V
12 April 3-9 climate (cont.) 8 & Appendix V
11 climate April 9 8 & Appendix V
13 April 10-16 review
April 11 Exam 4 April 11
14 April 17-23 review
April 23
April 23
All work must be completed by 11:55 p.m. Central time, April 24, 2018.

All work must be completed by 11:55 p.m. Central Time (time at JSU), Tuesday, April 24, 2018.