, University of Houston
This is a survey of a broad spectrum of geology. We have majors in the class so there are certain things I think we need to cover but mostly I like to give a flavor of the big topics in geology and how a scientist thinks about problems.
Entry Level :Physical Geology Course Size
Students enroll in separate lecture and lab components. The lecture is taught by the professor and the lab is taught by TAs.
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs
This course is the most popular science course for non-science majors in the university (but this is also a required course for majors). The range of majors covers almost the entire university (with the exception of very few engineers). The course has a separate and optional lab.
In your department, do majors and non-majors take separate introductory courses? no
If students take a "non-majors" course, and then decide to become a major, do they have to go back and take an additional introductory course? no
A broad range of geology including the formation of the solar system, minerals, rocks, geologic time, tectonics, streams, glaciology, atmospheric chemistry, and the formation of gas and oil. I generally skip deserts.
I want the students to understand what are the major issues addressed by geologists and what it means to evaluate a problem like a scientist.
I guess the only feature of the course is me, the instructor. I take a lot of time to convince the students that the best way to learn is to ask questions. I make it clear to them that I don't care how many chapters we finish in the book. If they ask questions, I'll answer.
I didn't really choose it. The way I teach the course is the way I have become comfortable with after 18 years and 4000 students. The top third of the class seems to really like my style and I have found there isn't much I can do for the bottom third of the class that won't disturb the top third.
I give four tests and a final. I will drop the lowest of the four tests but not the final. The final is comprehensive and mandatory. I use a point system in which 450 total points are possible. It takes 335 points (74%) to get an A and 200 points (44%) to pass the course.
Syllabus (Microsoft Word 46kB May19 08)
References and Notes:
Course text: Tarbuck and Lutgens
This is a committee choice. We have several sections of the class and we have agreed to all use the same book.