Introduction to Geology
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
Introductory Geology at CSUSB is one of the Physical Science General Education courses, of which all students must take one. Science majors generally do not take this course, as they fulfill that GE category with chemistry or physics. Approximately 20-25% of all students at CSUSB take this course for that GE requirement. It is also the entry course for geology majors, although students transferring from community colleges generally come in having already taken it.
For many of the GE students, they choose to take Introductory Geology because they are afraid of chemistry, physics, or science in general. Thus, they often put off taking this course as long as possible, and come in with considerable trepidation. Considering that this may be the only science course these students will ever take, we see an obligation to improve their attitude towards science, and convey something of the larger picture of what science is and does.
We use as much hands-on as possible, mostly in the lab, as tangible materials and activities are most effective in conveying understanding of the processes being presented.
We also take advantage of our location (immediately adjacent to the San Andreas fault in particular, and in southern California in general) to reinforce the importance of earthquake awareness and preparedness. One of the labs consists of a hike to the fault, along with some lab calculations about earthquake recurrence intervals and magnitudes. Also, we devote one lab period to groundwater processes, as this region depends on groundwater reservoirs for most of its water supply. Several contamination plumes have been identified, and as residents (therefore voters, taxpayers, etc.) these students need to have a basic understanding of groundwater occurrence and behavior.
Each chapter is organized into an opening spread, several topical spreads, then an application spread, and closes with an investigation spread. The opening spread focuses on a location that illustrates the processes discussed in that chapter. The topical spreads describe aspects of the chapter topic, with a "Before you leave this page be able to" box highlighting major concepts the student should have mastered from that spread. In the Application spread, the concepts and processes presented earlier are integrated and applied to a real-life situation. The Investigation spread is an exercise for the students, where they can practice applying the concepts they learned in the chapter. Integrated with the print text are an array of support resources available to instructors that provide, in addition to the usual image bank, question bank, etc., interactive 3D images and animations.
References and Notes:
The old text was selected because it was written by California-based authors and the text used many illustrations and photographs taken in California.
The new text was selected because uses it uses recent research on thinking and learning to deliver information in a much more accessible manner than traditional textbooks.
Introductory Geology Lab Manual by Dr. Joan Fryxell
It was written by the courses' original creator to accompany the course lecture.