GO300 Introduction to Dinosaurs

for F1T 2011

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GO 101 Introductory Geology


F1T 2011 DLA


Barwood, Henry L.


Adjunct Instructor


PhD Virginia Tech University
MS Auburn University

Office Location

Troy, Alabama

Office Hours


Daytime Phone




Semester Dates

F1T 2011

Class Days


Class Time




Credit Hours



Introduction to the study of Dinosaurs 2nd Ed, 2006, Anthony J. Martin, Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 9781405134132

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Course Description:
GO300 Introduction to Dinosaurs(MLL): This course is an introduction to the paleontology of dinosaurs. The preservation, history of dinosaur studies, evolution, classification, behaviors, extinction, and current topics concerning dinosaurs are discussed. This course satisfies the Liberal Learnings requirement for the Natural Sciences. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Classify Dinosaurs and explain the complications of classifying them.
  2. Summarize the paleoecology and life habits of dinosaurs.
  3. Compare and contrast the numerous ideas on the causes for the End of the Cretaceous mass extinction event.
  4. Evaluate the functional morphology problems associated with dinosaurs

Core Assessment:

Core Assessment (20% of course grade):

Write a term paper in MLA or APA format. The paper should be at least 10 pages in length excluding figures and literature cited. A well-defined introduction, body, and conclusions should be apparent. Information covered in the paper should include the following issues with dinosaurs:

Assignment Issues:

1. Classify Dinosaurs and explain the complications of classifying them (CLO #1).

2. Paleoecology and life habits of a specific dinosaur group (CLO #2).
3. Evaluate the functional morphology problems associated with at least two dinosaur groups (CLO #4).

4. Describe how dinosaur fossils are found in other countries and how this complicates classification and paleoecology studies. (CLO#1, 2)

5. Personal opinion of items 1-3 above (CLO#1, 2, 3)

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:


In order to complete graded assignments, you will need read the assigned text on a weekly basis:

Week 1: chapters 1 & 2; Week 2: ch. 3, 4 & 5; Week 3: ch. 6, 7 & 8; Week 4: ch. 9, 10 & 11; Week 5: ch. 12, 13 & 14; Week 6: ch 15, 16 & 17; Week 7: ch. 18, 19, 20; Week 8: ch. 21

Graded Activities

Grades will be calculated based on a percentage of 1000 points earned through weekly assignments. These assignments fall into 5 categories, and each is worth a specified number of points as discussed below:

Students will participate in eight discussions, worth 24 points each. One discussion will be conducted each week and will cover the assigned reading and current events or other articles that relate to geology. An additional "introduce yourself" discussion will be posted in the course home and is worth 8 points. These discussions are open and free form. Students will receive a 100% grade for any participation that is relevant to the subject matter covered in those chapters, and a 0% grade if they fail participate. Relevant participation includes asking or answering questions (there is no such thing as a stupid question), debating issues, or giving examples.

Students will take six online quizzes on chapter readings, containing 25 multiple choice or true-false questions worth 1 point each. One quiz will be administered every week except weeks 4 and 8. The quizzes are open-book.

Students will complete six activities on assigned topics, each worth 25 points. In any given week the student may have a choice of up to three options for completing this activity. The first choice is an interactive activity which involves analysis and answering questions. The second is a field trip and written report. The third is a simple research report. The option 2 and 3 reports should be at least 1 page long and in written in the student's own words. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a zero grade. Students who have difficulty understanding or implementing methods to avoid plagiarism should avoid options 2 or 3 and practice writing writing in the discussions. Students are expected to research these topics on the internet (or in print), and, for option 2, to conduct their own simple field observations and "lab" work. Students are required to write their own reports, not copy previous work, and to cite at least four references (more is better). Reports should be saved in MS Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) and posted in the activities drop box. This is a generalized grading rubric for activities reports:

Rubric for Activities Reports

  • Report written in student's own words (not just a series of quotations from original sources)  8 points
  • References at the end of the paper + citations within the text 4 points
  • Report addresses question/topic 9 points
  • Grammar/style 4 points
  • Total 25 points

Copying a source verbatim is bad writing, bad scholarship; copying verbatim without using quotation marks and acknowledging (citing) the source is plagiarism and will result in a "0" grade for the assignment, and possibly a failing grade for the class. Please see plagiarism policy below.

Any original (not plagiarized), genuine effort will be rewarded with at least 4 points

An open book midterm will be administered during week 4. This is worth 200 points. Questions are similar to those found in the quizzes with the addition of essay questions.

Proctored final examination - A final proctored examination will be taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th (or 16th) week at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location. For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test. Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Website.

Proctored Final Exam

Other Information on proctored exams: It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who is accepted and approved by the course instructor. Approval of proctors is the discretion of the Online instructor. A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval.

Failure to take a final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade.

Point value - Because it is proctored, the final exam may not be delivered in the same format as the weekly quizzes or the midterm exam. However, as with weekly quizzes and the Midterm Exam, the point value of each question will be posted on the exam, and the final percentage correct will be standardized to 300 points.


Summary Rubric for  Course Work

  • Introduction Discussion (1 total): Reasonable participation = 8 points week 1
  • Weekly Discussion (8 total): reasonable participation before Thursday (12 points) and before Sunday night (12 points) = 24 points each week 
  • Homework (2 total): rubric above unless noted otherwise = 50 points for weeks 3, 5
  • Exams (3 total):  Score correct = 100 points for weeks 2,5,7
  • Term Paper: 200 points  week 7
  • Proctored final (1 total) 200 points  week 8


Grading Scale

The total points earned will be added. The resulting score can also be expressed as a weighted sum of the average percent earned in each of the five categories; each category constitutes a percentage of the final score as listed below


Activity Points each number total points percent




















Term Paper





Proctored final exam









The final percentage score will be calculated by dividing the total points earned by the maximum possible score of 1000.

Letter Grades

The final score earns a letter grade according to this scale:

Letter Grade range of scores Percentage

900 - 1000

90.0 - 100.0%


800 - 899

80.0 -  89.9%


700 - 799

70.0 - 79.9%


600 - 699

60.0 - 69.9%


0 - 599

0 - 59.9%

This is your minimum letter grade; in the event that overall scores are lower than expected, the instructor reserves the right to award higher letter grades.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Given the possibility of late adds and problems with ordering books, there is an automatic one-week grace period for the first two weeks of work. Because grades are due immediately after the end of term, work may not be accepted after the last day of the term, Sunday night, week 8. Normally work is due at the end of the week that it is assigned unless otherwise indicated. Work submitted after the deadline is subject to up to a 5% per day penalty. Work that is more than a week late may not be accepted. Late penalties may be waved for medical and work emergencies, at the discretion of the instructor. If you anticipate problems finishing any work on time, contact your instructor to make arrangements.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

This is an online class and requires adherence to some basic rules of online etiquette.  Mainly, avoid making disparaging remarks about others, particularly other participants, in the classroom discussions. Do not use offensive or lewd language, and avoid steering too far off topic in topical discussions.  Remember that private conversations, including conversations with the instructor, are best carried out through email, where you may be able to express yourself more directly.

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 (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
There is a “no tolerance policy” for cheating in effect in this class. If cheating is caught, the students involved will receive a zero grade for the assignment, and will be reported to Park University administration as a matter of routine. In some cases (see below) this will result in a failing grade for the class.  See also “Plagiarism” below.

Much of the work in this class is open book/ take home material, and weekly quizzes are given on an “unlimited” basis.  So “cheating” on objective (multiple choice) quiz questions would be both difficult to define and impossible to detect.  It is understood that you attempt quiz questions on your own and that you do not ask for help from other students to answer them, but different students get different sets of questions, so the discussion would actually benefit learning.  

Midterm exams include both multiple choice and essay type questions.  Essay questions should be answered in the student's own words, and any evidence of plagiarism (see below) will be counted as cheating.  DO NOT PLAGIARIZE ESSAY ANSWERS from other students, the book, or any other source.  Use your own words, or, under very rare circumstances, use quotations marks and cite the source of the information.

The final exam is to be taken under the supervision of a proctor.  Any attempt to circumvent the proctoring system, or any evidence of copied/plagiarized work (evidence of “successfully” circumventing the system) on the final exam will result in a failing grade for the entire class.

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
All written work is to be in the student's own words. There are two types of written assignments in this class: weekly discussions and the fieldtrip or research options on the weekly homework reports. While the use of quotations is strongly discouraged, failure to properly document those quotations with quotation marks (or other clear indicator of quotation--see style manuals) or failure to cite sources of those quotes is unacceptable. Even if written work has been submitted in the student's words, failure to cite sources of specific information is unacceptable.

Students who have trouble implementing proper research methods, or understanding the concept of plagiarism as set forth above are strongly encouraged to avoid options 2 or 3 in the activities. The discussions provide a relatively low-pressure environment where these students can practice proper writing by posting the URL (web address) of a web page and discussing the information contained on that web page without copying anything from that web page. The instructor will comment on proper ways of avoiding plagiarism in this forum.

Written activity reports (Fieldtrip report and research report) will be checked very closely for plagiarism. If one assignment is found to be plagiarized, it will earn a zero grade without opportunity for resubmission.  If more than one assignment is found to be plagiarized the student may receive an "F" grade in the class.

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: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a courserelated question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Uses 12 or more peer-reviewed citations Uses 9-11 peer-reviewed citations Uses 6-8 peer-reviewed citations Uses lees than 6 peer-reviewed citations 
Compares facts from 4+ citations for any assignment issue. Compares facts from 4+ citations for any assignment issue. Compares facts from 2 citations for any assignment issue. Compares facts from less than 2 citations for any assignment issue. 
Assesses the outcomes of all 4 assignment items Assesses the outcomes of 3 of the assignment items 4-6 factual errors 7+ factual errors 
No factual errors 1-3 factual errors Demonstrates mastery of 2 of the assignment items. Demonstrates mastery of 1 or less of the assignment items. 
Demonstrates mastery of 4 of the assignment items. Demonstrates mastery of 3 of the assignment items. Discusses 1 explanations for function for assignment issue #3. Discusses 3 explanations for function for assignment issue #3. 
Discusses 3 explanations for function for assignment issue #3. Discusses 2 explanations for function for assignment issue #3. Has 3-4 errors in providing a well-defined introduction, thesis statement, body (and sections within) and conclusion; and follows format guidelines based on MLA or APA format Has 5+ errors in providing a well-defined introduction, thesis statement, body (and sections within) and conclusion; and follows format guidelines based MLA or APA format 
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Provides a well-defined introduction, body (and sections within) and conclusion; and follows format guidelines based on MLA or APA format Has 1-2 errors in providing a well-defined introduction, thesis statement, body (and sections within) and conclusion; and follows format guidelines based on MLA or APA format Contains 3 errors in the following paper format:
Page numbering
Headings and subheadings
Citation style in text
Citation style in Lit. Cited
Scientific names
Contains 4+ errors in the following paper format:
Page numbering
Headings and subheadings
Citation style in text
Citation style in Lit. Cited
Scientific names
Contains 0 errors in the following paper format:
Page numbering
Headings and subheadings
Citation style in text
Citation style in Lit. Cited
Scientific names
Contains 1-2 errors in the following paper format:
Page numbering
Headings and subheadings
Citation style in text
Citation style in Lit. Cited
Scientific names
Does not demonstrates competency of assignment issue #4. Does not address assignment issue # 4. 


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Last Updated:8/5/2011 11:13:42 AM