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

Introduction to Oceanography

Cynthia M. Lampe

Ventura College,
Two Year College


Oceanography is a broad interdisciplinary field that focuses on the processes and interrelationships of geology, chemistry, geography, geophysics, meteorology, and biology. Topics include: a history of oceanographic research, the role of tectonic plates in oceans, features of the seafloor, the chemistry of seawater, movement of ocean waters, coastal environments, atmospheric/oceanic interactions and marine biology.

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. Most students (80%) take this course as a general education requirement, 10% of students are environmental sciences or oceanography majors, and 10% of students are life-long learners.

Course Goals:

Students will be able to:
  • Analyze and apply the plate tectonic theory to the origin and features of the ocean basins.
  • Analyze and interpret marine sediments with respect to ocean depth, temperature and latitudinal location.
  • Interpret graphs of temperature, salinity, density, and chemistry of ocean water with depth.
  • Employ the terminology of oceanographers and evaluate current events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and tides.
  • Evaluate and interpret coastal landforms with respect to ocean currents and wave action.
  • Analyze and predict the outcome of stabilization techniques along the shoreline.

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

Goals are achieved and assessed via:
  • lectures
  • class discussions
  • field trip
  • assignments
  • exams


Assignments are designed to pretest the student's knowledge and understanding of the material. After they are graded and returned we have a class discussion a week before the exam to correct any misconceptions. Understanding of why or how something occurs is emphasized rather than rote memorization. Exams are a combination of multiple choice, label-the-diagram, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer.


Introduction to Oceanography Syllabus (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 321kB May30 13)

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