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
- Required Course Materials
- Assignments and Grading
- Course Schedule
- Technology Requirements
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.
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.
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.
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
Assignments and Grading
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.
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.
|Assignment||Percent of Grade|
|Midterm Exams (2)||15% each|
|Labs (12 weeks with multiple labs)||30%|
|Capstone Project (1)(12)||15%|
Your scores for all assignments will be kept current in the Course Management System.
|A||93 - 100%|
|A-||90 - 92.9%|
|B+||87 - 89.9%|
|B||83 - 86.9%|
|B-||80 - 82.9%|
|C+||77 - 79.9%|
|C||70 - 76.9%|
|D||60 - 69.9%|
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.
Note: Labs are due in the following week lab period (i.e., Lab 1 is due in Lab 2 lab period).
Do not use this list for Readings or Assignments, use the Lesson Road Maps at the beginning of each module for these.
Return to top of page
Technical RequirementsSee Technical Requirements (upper right of Orientation).
Return to top of page
DisclaimerPlease 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.
Return to top of page
Already used some of these materials in a course?
Considering using these materials with your students?
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 »