Physical Geography II: GY 251 (Lecture) and GY 253 (Laboratory)

GY 251 003 21105; GY 253 006 21204 Spring 2018

To do best in this class, you should be in both these lecture and lab sections above concurrently. You should not mix campus and on-line sections.

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Helen Hill
Office: 205 Martin Hall
Office Hours: Wednesday 10 a.m. to 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 REQUIRED Materials available from the campus bookstore:

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

Learning Outcomes:
For GY251, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify earth materials and explain their formation
  2. Describe processes affecting the Earth's surface including plate tectonics, folding, faulting, volcanism, weathering and erosion
  3. Identify landforms and the processes that form them
  4. Describe the development of soils and their importance in terms of biological systems
  5. Identify and describe the biological systems that have evolved in Earth's physical environments

For GY253, The student will be able to:

  1. Identify important rocks, their properties, and rock family.
  2. Interpret maps and geologic diagrams.
  3. Identify landforms and the processes that form them.
  4. Explain soil properties and classification.

Homepages: The lecture section homepage is at and for the lab section at pglabtwof.html. If materials are not posted on the Blackboard server, they will be available by link from this web location. If the part of the URL becomes inactive, replace with The web address of the Distance Learning Site that is the base for all laboratory activity is:

Dr. M. H. Hill's homepage is at and .


VERY IMPORTANT--Blackboard Gradebook: Be sure to check Tools/My Grade 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 date 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 assignment submissions. 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 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. Use the first attempts for feedback to help you study and improved on later attempts. 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 random selections from the entire comprehensive course content. The goal throughout the course is to build your knowledge and to prepare you for this final examination. The final exam may be taken up to three three times. The highest official score recorded by Blackboard will be used to determine the percentage.

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: 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, review the materials provided, work through the instructional materials, work through the laboratory materials on line, DO THE LABORATORY ASSIGNMENT, 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 may 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. Some materials through the course are comprehensive, and the final is comprehensive.

Each laboratory lesson will conclude with a quiz over the materials covered in that lesson. These quizzes may be taken three times with the system being set to four to allow one crash or time overrun. If it doesn't crash you can use the extra opportunity, and this theoretically balances with if it should crash twice where you lose the chance. So, you are given four attempts to earn a valid score before the due date. You are not required to use all of the attempts. The highest official score (from either of the two columns in the grade book) will be used in the calculation of grades. Check your grades under Tools/My Grades to be sure scores were recorded. This shows the official scores.

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. 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 total number of points earned out of 240 will be used for grade calculations in lab. 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. Note the stated additional mandatory requirements.

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.

Use Blackboard to work through the course to access all materials and to receive the interactive feedback that cannot be provided through a traditional text and laboratory manual. Do NOT use the lockdown browser, because it prevents accessing required testing materials.

"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.

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 due date indicated are ongoing assignments or work that is incorporated into other assignments with due dates. Make-up grace periods extend for 24-hours after the due date to allow make-up work or for grade improvement. 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. Work ahead and follow the indicated order for greatest efficiency and success!

Date topic Chapter Lab Due Date
January 10 Earth Materials 13    
January 17 Rock Cycle and Igneous Rocks   1 January 17
January 19 Sedimentary Rocks   2 January 19
January 22 Metamorphic Rocks   3 January 22
January 23 Plate Tectonics 14    
January 26 Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes 14    
January 29 Folding, Faulting, and Volcanism      
February 6 Geologic Mapping   4 February 6
February 9 EXAM 1*     February 9
February 12 Mapping Appendix II    
February 14 Mapping Fundamentals   5 February 14
February 16 Topographic Mapping*   6 February 16
February 19 Weathering and Mass Wasting 15    
February 21 Ground Water 9    
February 22 Karst Topography 17    
February 26 Fluvial 16    
March 5 Hydrology   7 March 5
March 7 Fluvial and Karst Landforms   8 March 7
March 8 Cumberland, MD Map Interpretation   9 March 8
March 9 EXAM 2     March 9
March 12 Glaciation 19    
March 15 Glaciation   11 March 15
March 16 Arid and Eolian 18    
March 27 Waves 20    
March 29 Eolian and Shoreline Process   10 March 29
March 30 EXAM 3     March 30
April 2 Climate 8    
April 4 Biogeography 10    
April 6 Biomes 11, Ap. VI    
April 10 Soils 12, Ap. VII    
April 12 Soils   12 April 12
April 16 EXAM 4     April 16
April 23 FINAL EXAM**     April 23

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