InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society > Section 1: Introduction to the Coastal Zone: Forms, Processes and Society > Module 2: A Global Glance at the Geology of Coastal Landscapes
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Module 2: A Global Glance at the Geology of Coastal Landscapes

Mark Kulp, University of New Orleans
Author Profile

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Dec 7, 2016

Summary

This unit was compiled to provide an overview of the first-order role of plate tectonic interactions on the characteristics and classification of coastal zones and to examine second-order controls on the charactertistics and morphology of coastal zones. Students will make observations about a wide range of pictures and satellite images to develop an understanding of the global variability of coastal landscapes as well as the processes that contribute to the global variability.

Learning Goals

The primary goal of Module 2: A Global Glance of the Geology of Coastal Landscapes is to provide the geologic basis for coastal processes. This module will provide students the ability to:

  • Develop an understanding of the role of plate tectonics in the development of coastal zone characteristics and how processes such as glaciation, climate, sediment supply, waves, and tides also influence coastal evolution;
  • Develop an appreciation for the geomorphologic diversity of coastal zones;
  • Gain an understanding of the differences between emergent and submergent coasts, depositional and erosional coasts, and how hydrodynamic regime exerts a strong control on coastal geomorphology;
  • Use geospatial tools such as Google Earth to examine and analyze the geomorphology of world coastlines in relation to plate tectonics, climate, and marine processes.

Context for Use

Overall, this one-week module is intended to be used as a stand-alone lesson or as part of an online or blended general education or introductory-level course that would satisfy a science distribution requirement. The module would be appropriate for non-majors and undeclared students looking for a major. There are two formats: (1) Blended where the students meet at least once to perform the activities in teams; and (2) 100 percent online. As a general guideline, the delivery of content and assessment of learning goals/objectives have been designed to accommodate the logistics of large class sizes where students are expected to work approximately three hours per week covering lecture content with an additional six hours per week of additional reading and work on assessments. Note that some students will require more or less time to meet the goals and objectives of the module.

Description and Teaching Materials

Materials for students for this module are linked below. Teachers can find documentation of the activities at this location as well as rubrics for students. Rubrics for teachers are compiled on the Assessment page. Suggestions for teaching and a list of the assessments are found below. The formative and summative assessment of this module focus on getting students to make observations about coastal landscapes at a range of scales (continental scale to local scale). Students then must use these observations to interpret the coastal geomorphology in the context of plate tectonic setting, climate, and marine processes to develop a more robust understanding of coastal evolution.

Teaching Notes and Tips

What works best for the module?

  • Students should be encouraged to explore the extra links and information provided in text and videos. Students who read all of the material and follow the extra, external links will develop the most complete understanding of concepts. There are numerous concepts embedded in the links that will foster a richer understanding of assessment topics, and students should be encouraged to investigate these materials.
  • Students should be encouraged to read the material in the module before coming to lab.

What students found tough and how we adapted to that.

  • Students who did not thoroughly read the text and look at the accompanying external links had the most problems with the module. These students were unable to relate concepts to one another and consequently had difficulties completing some of the assessments that sought to develop a comprehensive view of the controls on coastal environments. A greater emphasis was placed on examining these materials.
  • The module assessments were modified to be more guided and with a clearer direction of where topics of the assessments were embedded in the module text. Additionally some of the assessment questions were scaled down so that students could make more general observations and interpretations.

Reflections on Assignments

Formative Assessment: Plate Tectonics and Coastal Morphologies

  • Most of the students were familiar with overhead imagery and how to specifically access Google Earth. These students most easily completed the assessment work. Some students were not as accustomed to Google Earth and for this reason students should, during the orientation week, be told to begin familiarizing themselves with Google Earth. A greater emphasis was placed on examining Google Earth, and students must also be made aware that some settings and toggle button locations vary as a function of the computer operating system being used.
  • Students had difficulty understanding how onshore and offshore processes impacted the morphology and width of the shelf on both sides of Africa.

Module Summative Assessment: Controls on Coastal Morphologies

  • Students need to feel very comfortable with Google Earth at this stage of the module in order to effectively complete this assessment.
  • Students need to expand their way of thinking about coastal zone morphology and tie together the complex interplay between how large-scale regional processes such as plate tectonics or major glaciations affect coastal morphology without losing sight of the fact that localized variability in sediment supply or tidal energy will also secondarily affect coastal morphology. The goal of this assessment is to unite large-scale with small-scale processes and students need to consider the entire range of topics in this module in order to effectively complete the assessment.

Assessment

Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment

  • Summative Assessment: Evolution of Coastlines — Students explore their understanding of the various coastal classifications and understanding of the role that various coastal processes exert in coastal evolution and morphology.

References and Resources

Student Readings:

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »