Teach the Earth > Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Earth Surface Processes

Earth Surface Processes

Laura Moore

Oberlin College
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Ready for Use: Course Goals Only
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geomorphology
Course Type: Entry Level:Physical Geology
Topics: Earth surface
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is a 200-level course with a prerequisite of introductory physical geology. The course does not serve as a prerequisite for other geology courses. Class meets twice a week for 75 minutes. The course has a three-hour lab and two one-day field trips.

Course Goals:

-Students will be able to analyze the role of active and ancient Earth surface processes in landform evolution.

-Students will be able to predict the effect of thresholds and changes in forcing on geomorphic systems.

-Students will be able to evaluate the geomorphic significance of anthropogenic activities.

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

Instead of covering all possible Earth surface processes, the course will focus on five main content topics. Within these content topics, activities such as case studies, problem-based field labs and geomorphic experiments will give students practice analyzing landscapes and the effect of changes in forcing on geomorphic systems. Weekly or multi-week lab assignments, in-class assignments, exams and a final project will be assessed for progress toward course goals.

Skills Goals

- reading geologic literature
- research design
- quantitative abilities
- teamwork skills

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

We will spend time discussing how to read a journal article and then read several throughout the course of the semester. Students will practice quantitative skills during laboratory and these skills will be assessed in lab reports and on exams. Research design and teamwork skills will be honed primarily through case study assignments and problem-based field labs where students will work together to design an experiment to answer a question of geomorphic significance.

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