Teach the Earth > Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Coastal Geology

Coastal Geology

Lindley Hanson

Salem State College
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate

Course URL:

Subject: Geoscience:Oceanography
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi, Course Information, Course Site
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Oceanography
Topics: Ocean
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

Coastal geology is an introductory course for our environmental geology majors, which constitute approximately 10% of our majors. The course includes 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab. The only prerequisite is physical geology.

Course Goals:

1. Upon completion of this course students will be able to assess the response of coastal systems to natural and man-induced changes, and

2. will be able to designed, complete, and present a simple field-oriented beach study using scientific method.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

1. For class students will be asigned a coast to assess at different scales. They will work in small groups or pairs, and each group will have time to evaluate their coast in the context of the current lecture material(e.g. tectonic setting, climate, depositional features, geologic history, etc.) and assigned readings.
2. Working in small groups students will be designing, completing and presenting a field study on a North Shore beach.

Skills Goals

1. effective communication of observations and interpretations in both oral and written formal
2. cooperative group skills and peer- teaching
3. reading, analyzing and citing journal articles
4. retrieving and applying data from the Internet

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Students will work in groups and present their findings to the class on a continual basis. At the end each student will turn in a paper based on his/her field study. Students will be required to research, synthesize, and incorporate in the final paper two journal articles that descibe beaches similar to the one they studied. They will also have to obtain and analyze daily wave, tide, and weather data from the Internet.

Attitudinal Goals

1. building the confidence to independently pursue and complete a project
2. increasing students' ability to constructively interact with their peers
3. understanding that they may not have all the answers to their observations, but can come up with one or more hypotheses for further testing
4. relating the details of what they learn to the big picture
5. improving planning and time management.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Throughout the semester students will be working under clear deadlines, when they will have to present to the class what they've learned. Presentations will be followed by times when they can address the concerns and imput of their peers. In addition to presenting their field work, students will have to describe their beach in the context of the local coastal system and its geologic history. From synthesizing journal articles students will learn the limitations of their own field study, develop one or more hypotheses, and design a plan for further study that will be incorporated in their final paper. There will be times outside of required class or lab time that they will have to collect field data. These times have to be planned by the students using weather, wave, and tide forecasts.

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