Teach the Earth > Oceanography > Course Descriptions > Introduction to Oceanography

Introduction to Oceanography

Heather Kokorowski

Mt. San Antonio College,
Two Year College


This course covers geological, chemical, physical, and biological aspects of the Earth's ocean. Plate tectonics, physiography of ocean basins and continental margins, ocean sediment, atmosphere and ocean circulation, waves and tides, coasts, and marine ecology are also covered. The companion Oceanography Lab (OCEA 10L) is recommended for students needing a lab to transfer to a four­-year college/university. Field trips are required.

Subject: Geoscience:Oceanography
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Earth System Topics: Oceans
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Oceanography
Course Size:

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites and does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. Typically, most students take the course to satisfy a general education requirement. The course has a required field trip and an optional lab.

Course Goals:

  1. Students should be able to explain how volcanic eruptions, weathering, erosion, sedimentation, and the motion of tectonic plates are responsible for the origin and character of Earth's ocean.
  2. Students should be able to provide examples of ways in which modern knowledge of the ocean was achieved through use of the scientific method.
  3. Students should be able to describe water's distinct properties and relate them to the behavior, physical and chemical properties of seawater.
  4. Students should be able to describe how atmospheric circulation influences ocean circulation.
  5. Students should be able to explain how physical and chemical factors of the ocean affect global and local weather and climate in the past, present and future.
  6. Students should be able to apply scientific terms and the scientific method in analyzing ocean processes and the results of those processes.
  7. Students should be able to evaluate the human impact on the ocean, especially in coastal areas and in relation to global climate change.

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

This course utilizes lectures, class discussions, in-class activities, demonstrations, homework and a class field trip to convey subject matter to students. Students are assessed through graded written assignments and objective examinations.


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