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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 materials are free 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.
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Syllabus - Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society Course

Fall Semester, 2015

This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can read it sequentially by scrolling down the length of the document or by clicking on any of the links below to "jump" to a specific section.

Course Overview

Description

This course will provide students with a global perspective of coastal landscapes, the processes responsible for their formation, diversity, and change over time, as well as societal responses to current changes in the coastal zones around the world. Active learning elements include analyzing real data sets and applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world coastal issues that affect human populations. Students will complete a capstone project in which they consider a real-world coastal issue.

Course Objectives
When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • develop the fundamental geospatial skills and concepts needed to assess the coastal processes and hazards discussed in this course;
  • link geologic time and current shoreline processes in order to explain the past and present evolution of coastline morphology;
  • assess the economic and social impacts of coastal hazards;
  • select optimal engineering options to mitigate specific risks;
  • assess how government and stakeholders can plan for and respond to coastal hazards.

Expectations

On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits.

We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. The Internet may still be a novel learning environment for you, but in one sense it is no different from a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me as well as with your fellow students.

Specific learning objectives for each module and project are detailed within each module.

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Required Course Materials

Online Lesson Content

All materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website. In each module, we provide citations for additional reading.

Complimentary Subscription to the New York Times

We require you to obtain a complimentary subscription to the New York Times. You can use the online version.

Simply register with your Penn State email address and create your user password to claim a NYTimes.com Academic Pass and receive NYTimes.com access

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Assignments and Grading

Assignments

This course will rely on a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

  • weekly quizzes multiple choice, administered through your course management system;
  • two midterm exams short answer, given in the lab period midterm weeks;
  • labs: take place during weekly lab meetings;
  • Blogs: see Course Blogs for a full description of this activity;
  • capstone activity: will be introduced at the end of Module 3.
It is important that your work be submitted in the proper format by the designated due date. We strongly advise that you not wait until the last minute to complete these assignments—give yourself time to ask questions, think things over, and chat with others. You'll learn more, do better...and be happier!

Due dates for all assignments are posted in the syllabus for your campus and below. Please make sure you are aware of the weekly deadlines.

Grading

Breakdown of each assignment's value as a percentage of total course grade.
AssignmentPercent of Grade
Quizzes (12)15%
Midterm Exams (2)15% each
Labs (12 weeks with multiple labs)30%
Blogs (12)10%
Capstone Project (1)(12)15%

Your scores for all assignments will be kept current in the Course Management System.

Letter Grade and Corresponding Percentages
Letter GradePercentages
A93 - 100%
A-90 - 92.9%
B+87 - 89.9%
B83 - 86.9%
B-80 - 82.9%
C+77 - 79.9%
C70 - 76.9%
D60 - 69.9%
F

Late Policy

We accept late work only in exceptional circumstances, but you must contact us immediately if you need an exception. The earlier you contact us to request a late submission, the better. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis. If you miss a quiz or a blog entry, that will count as your dropped score. Late labs will be assessed a penalty of 10% per day.

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Course Schedule

Weekly Schedule
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
Blog posts are due by Midnight.

Quizzes are due by Midnight.
Lab: 9:30-10:45 am

Note: Labs are due in the following week lab period (i.e., Lab 1 is due in Lab 2 lab period).

Module Schedule

Do not use this list for Readings or Assignments, use the Lesson Road Maps at the beginning of each module for these.
























Weekly Schedule
Week 1:

Course Orientation
DatesMonday, August 24, 2015 - Sunday, August 30, 2015
Topics
  • Meet the Instructors
  • The Learning Environment
  • Assignments
  • Technical Requirements
  • Course Blogs
  • Refreshers and Tutorials
  • How to Succeed in this Course
  • Course Communication
  • Getting to Know You
  • Course Introduction
  • Modern Earth Science Principle
ReadingsNone
Assignments
  • Perform tasks outlined in course orientation to become familiar with the course and the course environment
  • Post a self-introduction to the course Blog
  • Complete the Initial Course Survey on your CMS (Professors will give you more information).
Week 2:
The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions
DatesMonday, August 31, 2015 - Sunday, September 6, 2015
Topics
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 1 Labs
  • Take Module 1 Quiz
  • Post Module 1 Blog
Week 3:
A Global Glance at Coastal Landscapes
DatesMonday, September 7, 2015 - Sunday, September 13, 2015
Topics
  • Classification of Coastal Zones
  • Second Order Influences on Coastal Zones
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 2 Labs
  • Take Module 2 Quiz
  • Post Module 2 Blog
Week 4:
Coastal Systems: Landscapes and Processes
DatesMonday, September 14, 2015 - Sunday, September 20, 2015
Topics
  • Rocky Coasts
  • Reef Coasts
  • Nearshore, Beaches, and Dunes
  • Barrier Islands
  • Deltaic Coasts
  • Estuaries
  • Coastal Wetlands and Maritime Forests
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 3 Labs
  • Take Module 3 Quiz
  • Post Module 3 Blog
  • Begin working on the Capstone Activity
Week 5:
Understanding Sea Level Change
DatesMonday, September 21, 2015 - Sunday, September 27, 2015
Topics
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 4 Labs
  • Take Module 4 Quiz
  • Post Module 4 Blog
Week 6:
Coastal Catastrophes: Storms and Tsunamis
DatesMonday, September 28, 2015 - Sunday, October 4, 2015
Topics
  • Tropical and Extratropical Storms
  • Tsunamis
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 5 Labs
  • Take Module 5 Quiz
  • Post Module 5 Blog
Week 7:
Impacts on the Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions

DatesMonday, October 5, 2015 - Sunday, October 11, 2015
Topics
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 6 Labs
  • Take Module 6 Quiz
  • Post Module 6 Blog
  • Continue working on the Capstone Activity
Week 8: Midterm 1
DatesMonday, October 12, 2015 - Sunday, October 18, 2015
Topics

  • Modules 1-6
Readings
  • None
Assignments
  • Take the Midterm.
Week 9: Hard Structures and Coastal Modifications through Mimicking Natural Processes
DatesMonday, October 19, 2015 - Sunday, October 25, 2015
Topics

  • Overview of Coastal Erosion
  • The Dynamic Coastline
  • Coastal Protection and Mitigation
Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 7 Labs
  • Take Module 7 Quiz
  • Post Module 7 Blog
Week 10: Managed Retreat/Multi-Layered Protection
DatesMonday, October 26, 2015 - Sunday, November 1, 2015
Topics

Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 8 Labs
  • Take Module 8 Quiz
  • Post Module 8 Blog
Week 11: Smart Building
DatesMonday, November 2, 2015 - Sunday, November 8, 2015
Topics

Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 9 Labs
  • Take Module 9 Quiz
  • Post Module 9 Blog
  • Continue working on the Capstone Activity
Week 12: Understanding and Assessing Coastal Vulnerability
DatesMonday, November 9, 2015 - Sunday, November 15, 2015
Topics

Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 10 Labs
  • Take Module 10 Quiz
  • Post Module 10 Blog
Week 13: Tsunami and Storm Surge Policy
DatesMonday, November 16, 2015 - Sunday, November 22, 2015
Topics

Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 11 Labs
  • Take Module 11 Quiz
  • Post Module 11 Blog
Week 14: Sea Level Rise Policy
DatesMonday, November 30, 2015 - Sunday, December 6, 2015
Topics

Readings
Assignments
  • Complete Module 12 Labs
  • Take Module 12 Quiz
  • Post Module 12 Blog
  • Continue working on the Capstone Activity
Week 15: Final Exam
DatesMonday, December 7, 2015 - Sunday, December 13, 2015
Topics

Modules 6-12
ReadingsNone
Assignments
  • Take the final exam
  • Continue working on the Capstone Activity


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Technical Requirements

See Technical Requirements (upper right of Orientation).

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Disclaimer

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes will be posted to the course discussion forum.

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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 »