Gene Pearson

University of the Pacific
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


Course URL:
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is an "upper" level geomorphology course with the prerequisite of an introductory earth science course. It is a required course for Environmental Science majors and an elective course that geology majors may take to satisfy their "applied geology" requirement. Occasionally, Computer Science majors take the course as their second "science" requirement.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to describe landforms from analysis of topographic maps, aerial photography and on site field analysis.

Students should have a basic understanding of the surface processes that produce landforms.

Students should be able to develop hypotheses explaining the origin and evolution of the landforms they describe.

Students should know the importance of the importance of rock type and structure, tectonic history and time in the development of landforms.

Students should be able to identify areas of potential hazards from analysis of landforms.

Students should be able to use landform analysis to develop hypotheses about the past climates of an area.

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

Students interpret landforms using images and topographic maps in laboratory assignments. In addition the course includes six full days of field experience [one four-day trip and two one-day trips]. Lectures and class discussions also provide support to the course goals

Skills Goals

Ability to observe

Ability to synthesize information from diverse sources in developing hypotheses

Collaboration in developing hypotheses


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

Students work collaboratively in lab and during field experiences when developing hypotheses. They present their hypothesis in laboratory and other written reports. Assessment is based on observation during lab and field experiences and written reports.

Attitudinal Goals

Increasing excitement in observing, describing and interpreting landforms.

Building student confidence in field interpretation of landforms.

Increasing student desire to explore of the complexity of surface process interactions.

Increasing student desire to understand the complexity of problems which can arise when humans alter surface processes and impact or stewardship of the Earth.

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

The attitudinal goals are primarily achieved through formal [and informal] discussions in classs, laboratory and field.


Laboratory and field reports; exams, a "Last" laboratory exercise [a "take-home" non-collaborative lab]; and observation during laboratory and field experiences


Syllabus (Microsoft Word 40kB Jul17 08)

[file 'Other Materials']