GGH305 Geography of Russia

for S1T 2011

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GGH 305 Geography of Russia


S1T 2011 DL


Whitney, Damian M.


Adjunct Instructor


MA Geography   University of Missouri, Columbia
BA Geography   California State University, Fresno


Semester Dates

January, 10, 2011 - March, 6, 2011

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



There is no required text for this class, although I will be posting readings for most weeks. Be sure to check for readings.

You will need an Atlas. I do not require that you have a specific one, so long as it is fairly detailed and as recent as possible.

Additional Resources:
Check Doc Sharing and Class Announcements for additional resources.

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Course Description:
GGH305 Geography of Russia: This comprehensive course will study the physical and cultural geography of the regions of Russia and the former Soviet Union (Near Abroad). Topics will include: economic problems, environmental problems, population dynamics, and current political geographical issues involving Russia and its neighbors. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:


  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to recognize regions, cultures and nations associated with the Russian realm, and be able to understand their basic cultural history.
  2. To recognize the major environmental problems associated with the Russian realm, the political factors leading up to it, the potential solutions and be able to recognize the basic physical regions of Russia.
  3. Students will be able to name the major power regimes of Russia throughout history as well as name the influencial individuals associated with Russia.
  4. Students will be able to identify all major nations, national districts, major cities, physical landmarks and important sites on a map.
Class Assessment:

Discussion Questions:

I will post a couple of discussion questions for every week. Note that many of these are not made to produce a specific answer, so there is no right or wrong answers per say. In many cases, I just want you to exercise some critical thinking on some of the issues presented in the questions. There are two requirements regarding discussion questions that I want you to keep in mind. 1, In addition to answering all the questions, I want to respond to at least one answer that some one else has posted. You may agree, add on to their argument or offer a rebuttal. 2, Anytime you write on the discussion board (whether it be responding or answering a question) keep it civil and professional! If I have to remind you about inappropriate or discourteous comments, it means you have lost points!

Weekly Quizzes:

I will be giving short quizzes at the end of each week. You may do these whenever you have completed taking notes on the lectures. Keep in mind that there may be more than one quiz a week (see the schedule for more details on this).

Reading Assignments:

For the weeks that I have assigned Readings, there will be a short quiz or discussion question relevant to the reading or readings. Be sure to check the schedule so you know when the readings are. These will be available under course documents as well as under the weekly assignment tabs.

Research Paper (Core Assessment for this class):

There will be a research assignment (minimum of 4 pages). You will have until the end of week 7 to complete it and send it to me. I will post full instructions and details about the research paper on the class site. This will be the core assessment for GGH305.

Final Exam: The Final exam will be cumulative. If you can not take the final at the nearest Park University campus, you must arrange with a testing center or proctor in order to take the final. Proctor forms will should be available on student web sites starting week 2. Make sure you arrange this and get it approved by me AS SOON AS YOU CAN.


Discussion questions

5 pts each

40 total pts

lecture quizzes

10 pts each

90 total pts

Reading questions

5 pts each

30 total pts

Research Paper (Core Assessment)

50 pts

50 total pts

Final Exam

40 pts

40 total pts


250 pts

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late Materials will not be accepted. If you have any difficulty with the course schedule, let me know in advance.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
I expect you to conduct yourselves courteously and professionally. This includes weekly discussion questions in which you may post agreements or refutations of your classmate’s posts. If I have to remind you to keep it courteous, it means I have docked you points.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Note; although they are not posted here, there will be discussion questions every week.


Lecture: Basics of Geography and overview of Russia

Quiz #1


Lecture: Formation of Russia and the Russian people

Reading: “Natasha’s dance” by Orlando Figes

Quiz # 2


Lecture: Muscovy (the rise of Moscow)

Reading: “Russia, the once and future empire” by Phillip Longworth

Quiz # 3


Lecture: Tsarist Russia

Lecture: The USSR

Quiz #4

Quiz #5


Lecture: The Russian Federation

Lecture: Human Trafficking


Reading; 6 articles (more details will be posted under week 5 reading assignments)

Week 6:

Lecture: The Caspian Sea (and the environmental/resource problems facing Russia)

Quiz #7

Reading; “Essentials of World Regional Geography” Joseph Hobbes



Divisions and peoples of Russia [There will not be lecture notes for this lesson]

Reading: TBA


Research paper due


Ex-Soviet nations [There will not be lecture notes for this lesson]

Reading: “The Baltic” by Alan Palmer


Final exam

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:1/12/2011 2:06:18 PM