Alison M Anders

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


A mixed undergraduate/graduate course for geology, natural resources and geotechnical engineering majors.

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Course Context:

This is an upper-level undergraduate/graduate course for geology and non-geology majors. The course includes a 2 hour lab section each week (although lab and lecture times are combined and interchanged frequently). It is required only for a small subset of the students - for most it is an elective.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to analyze data to test a hypothesis
Students should be able to generate a hypothesis
Students should recognize and interpret geomorphic features in the field
Students should be able to apply conceptual models in geomorphology to real landscapes

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

Students keep a research notebook in which they record data and their thought-process during field and lab activities - I can read these notebooks to determine if they are correctly making measurements and to follow their thought processes as they formulate and evaluate hypotheses.

Skills Goals

Students should be able to write a scientific manuscript

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

Students practice writing individual parts of a scientific manuscript over the semester before producing a complete manuscript as a final paper


I use class discussion in short bursts within labs to determine progress with concepts. I use a research notebook format to track and evaluate the thinking that goes in to more polished final products. Writing assignments, oral presentations and exams are also part of the assessment.


Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 19kB May5 08)