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

GY 251 003 21203; GY 253 006 21204 WWW Spring 2020

Physical Geography II: Landscape Patterns and Processes and Physical Geography Laboratory II

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.

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Helen Hill
Office: 205 Martin Hall
Office Hours: Monday 10-3; or by email, by appointment, and through Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business, Distance Education availability is 24/7 so just tell me when you want to meet with me on line

E-Mail Address: (I try to achieve an average response time of less than an hour but sometimes I am in a meeting or asleep)
Telephone: (256) 782-8063 (contact me by E-MAIL)  messages now go to email



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.

Course Information

Course Descriptions: GY251 Study of Earth’s soils, biomes and physiographic regions with emphasis on the processes that formed them and their global patterns. GY253 Exercises focus on study of the physical properties of soils, the analysis of biomes, the use of topographic maps to identify land surface features and the identification of physiographic regions. The two courses are mutually required and should be taken concurrently for maximum benefit, although that is not required.

Course Objectives for lecture and laboratory: The objectives of this course are to introduce fundamental physical geography concepts and tools including earth materials, plate tectonics, volcanism, geologic structures, geomorphologic processes and landforms, biogeography, soils, climate and human-environment systems.

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.

Web Links

Homepages: Dr. M. H. Hill's homepage is at It provides links to course materials and other information. The lecture section homepage is at GY251 and for the lab section at GY253. The web address of the Distance Education site is the base for all laboratory activity is:


VERY IMPORTANT--Canvas Gradebook

Be sure to check Grades to make sure that scores are officially recorded. Only numbers showing in the gradebook count. To view subsequent scores, click on the icon to view the listing of valid scores. The professor's gradebook shows the highest score achieved.  After submitting work, check for the successful entry of the scores into your gradebook. If the number does not show in the listing, it is a zero. When submitting work, allow for transmission time!

DISAPPEARANCE DATES and Other Important Instructions

A disappearance 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 disappearance date. Disappearance 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 test 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 disappearance 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 all 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 and active evaluations will terminate at 11:55 p.m. on the disappearance 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. Canvas 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.

All assignments and evaluation materials are available at the beginning of the course.  Many assignments and activities are not assigned a disappearance date and do not appear in the Canvas calendar.  They are, however, included in the class schedule as assignments should be completed in the order prescribed both by the schedule and their placement in the course curriculum presented in Canvas.  Furthermore, these assignments can be repeated as needed throughout the term, especially in preparation for the comprehensive final examination.  "Attending class" by viewing the lecture videos is important to preparing for the examination and other activities.  Canvas provides an interactive learning environment that provides feedback and supports success in the course.  Start at the top of each page and work progressively through the hotlinks  (underlined text) to the bottom of each page. Hotlinks are best opened by right clicking the link and opening in a new window.  This helps track your progress so you do not lose the parent page and confuse the children pages.  All work should be done on the digital pages that comprise the curriculum, and some of these are interactive with materials not contained in the resource manual.  The resource manual provides supplements and a bed for helpful notes and reference.

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 Canvas.


The final course grade will be derived from the percentage grade of each of the four regular exams, the lecture quiz percentage, and the percentage grade of the final exam that counts as two regular exams. The exams are available on-line prior to their disappearance dates and make-up grace period from the beginning of the class. The examinations may be taken up to three times not counting the opportunity available under the make-up grace period setting. All available attempts may be used, but spend time reviewing before each attempt. Failure to complete the work before the disappearance 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 disappearance dates (see Disappearance 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 Canvas are meaningless.

The final exam is comprehensive counts double or as two regular exams. 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 times not counting the make up grace period opportunity. Again, all available attempts may be used. The highest official score recorded by Canvas will be used to determine the percentage.

The lecture quizzes, found within the lectures, may be taken multiple times; however, only the FIRST attempt will count toward the score. Scores are automatically entered into Canvas, and those scores are official and final. Do not open lectures that first time unless ready to complete the assignment. The total points achieved on all of the quizzes amount to one examination or one percentage exam grade. Subtotals will be established at the end of each unit of the course.

Bonus points are incorporated into the examinations and final. All regular examinations must be completed by the disappearance 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. Canvas 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 Canvas. This organizes the assignment steps. Read the chapters in the textbook, attend to the lecture assignments, 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 Canvas. The lecture mastery activities provide a base for the regular lecture examinations.  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 seeking clarity for the missed content. Do not immediately retry the exam. Remember, you are studying to learn the content for the final examination that is a new test bank over the entire course content. 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 examination is comprehensive.


Each laboratory lesson will conclude with a quiz over the materials covered in that lesson. These quizzes may be taken up to three times not counting the make up grace period opportunity, so the system is set to offer four attempts 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 disappearance 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 Grades to be sure scores were recorded. This shows the official scores.

All lab quizzes must be completed by the disappearance 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 disappearance date and a make-up grace period. All quizzes should be completed before the disappearance date. (See Disappearance 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 disappearance date indicated on the syllabus and on the make-up grace period date. Bonus points are of two types. Lecture quizzes are embedded within the video lectures and only the score of the FIRST attempt will count. Other quiz activities are contained within the lessons, and those are available only BEFORE the deadline, not during the grace period. Lesson content remains available to review for the lecture section final examination. Read and follow the directions carefully. Only automatically graded points and officially recorded scores count toward the final grade.

Laboratory activities are provided to help guide and prepare you to take the graded Laboratory Quiz. Skipping these assignments has inherent penalties that impact both the lecture and laboratory sections. The purpose of the laboratory is to clarify, emphasize, review, and reinforce the concepts from the lecture, so that the students do better. The content of lecture and laboratory is integrated, and the assignments should be completed in the order presented by the lecture shell. Similar content, formats, and questions are used in the paired lecture/lab sections.

The total number of points earned out of 250 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.

Canvas is incapable of doing grade computations and reports bogus totals. Guaranteed percentage grades will be: above 90% A; 80-90% B; 70-80% C; 60-70% D; below 60% F. The maximum possible score for lecture is 106.96% and for lab is 106.4%.  Grades are rounded to .01 or hundredths. Deadline for completion of the course is 11:55 p.m. Central Time (time in Jacksonville), Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Instructions and Additional Policies

Use Canvas 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.

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

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.

"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."

Material Availability

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 material should be completed from the digital contents rather than the resource manual except for the 3-D folded block diagrams.  Canvas and the schedule provide the course organization and progression.    At deadlines pages disappear from Canvas and permanent grades will be calculated and recorded.

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.

Students with Disabilities Statement

Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with Disability Support Services DSS and the instructor, as early in the semester as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Disability Support Services is located in 139 Daugette Hall or students can call or email at (256) 782.8380,

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.

Military-Connected Student Statement

The Office of Veteran Services serves all active duty, guard, reserve, veteran, and dependent students at JSU. If you have any questions about Veteran Services please contact (256) 782-8838,, or at the physical location in the basement of Daugette Hall. If you are a student currently serving in the military (Active Duty, Guard, or Reserves) with the potential of being called to military service or training during the course of the semester, you are encouraged to contact your course instructor no later than the first week of class to discuss the class attendance policy. The instructor may make accommodations for this absence or suggest that you take the course at another time.

Academic Honesty

In a University community, true knowledge can be gained only through honest means. All academic dishonesty is expressly prohibited. This policy is applicable for campus and distance learning activities. Students who violate this Academic Honesty Policy will be subject to disciplinary actions which could range from a zero on an assignment to failure of the course; repeated offenses can result in dismissal from the university.

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.

Title IX Statement

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Jacksonville State University does not tolerate sex discrimination of any kind including: sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking or other conduct that is addressed in the university’s “Title IX Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy.” This type of conduct may interfere with or limit an individual’s ability to benefit from or participate in JSU’s educational programs or activities. Anyone with knowledge of this type of conduct are asked to immediately report such incidents to the University Police Department at (256) 782-5050 or the Title IX Coordinator at (256) 782-5769. These incidents may also be reported to an instructor, faculty or staff member, who are required to notify the Title IX Coordinator. If a student wishes to keep the information confidential, the student may speak with a counselor at the Counseling Services office at (256) 782-5475 or a medical provider at Student Health Services (256) 782-5310. For more information about Title IX, please visit the JSU Title IX webpage at

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 Microsoft Teams conference. Be sure to have your headset available.

Changes to the Syllabus

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, Thursday, April 23, 2020. 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 DISAPPEARANCE DATE is the last date that the work should be completed not begun. (See the earlier Disappearance Dates discussion.) Allow yourself time to review and retake the exams. All rows on the table that do not have a disappearance date indicated are ongoing assignments or work that is incorporated into other assignments with disappearance dates. Make-up grace periods extend for 24-hours after the disappearance 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 Canvas resources. Work the lab assignments when indicated, not independently from the lecture.  This schedule shows many assignments besides those with designated submission dates. Examinations require preparatory work and the progression of these assignments is incorporated in the schedule and provided by the course materials in Canvas.

Course Outline and Disappearance Dates

Make-up grace periods end 24 hours after disappearance date. Work ahead and follow the indicated order for greatest efficiency and success!

Date topic Chapter Lab Disappearance Date
January 10 Pretest January 10/extended time to January 15
January 13 Earth Materials 13
January 16 Rock Cycle and Igneous Rocks 1 January 16
January 22 Sedimentary Rocks 2 January 22
January 27 Metamorphic Rocks 3 January 27
January 29 Plate Tectonics 14
February 3 Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes
February 5 Folding, Faulting, and Volcanism
February 6 Geologic Mapping 4 February 6
February 11 EXAM 1* February 11
February 13 Mapping Appendix II
February 19 Mapping Fundamentals 5 February 19
February 24 Topographic Mapping* 6 February 24
February 25 Weathering and Mass Wasting 15
February 26 Ground Water 9
February 28 Karst Topography 17
March 3 Fluvial 16
March 4 Hydrology 7 March 4
March 5 Fluvial and Karst Landforms 8 March 5
March 10 Cumberland, MD Map Interpretation 9 March10
March 12 EXAM 2 March 12
March 13 Glaciation 19
March 17 Glaciation 11 March 17
March 18 Arid and Eolian 18
March 20 Waves 20
March 31 Eolian and Shoreline Process 10 March 31
April 2 EXAM 3 April 2
April 3 Climate 8
April 7 Biogeography 10
April 9 Biomes 11, Ap. VI
April 13 Soils 12, Ap. VII
April 14 Soils 12 April 14
April 16 EXAM 4 April 16
April 22 FINAL EXAM** April 22

*Midterm grade computed
**All work must be completed by 11:55 p.m. Central Time (time at JSU), Thursday, April 23, 2020.