GGP115 Physical Geography

for SP 2013

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GGP 115 Physical Geography


SP 2013 HO


Woodburn, Terri


Adjunct Professor


(PhD candidate (ABD), Geography, University of Kansas)
MA, Geography, University of Kansas (2008)
BS, Geography, Northwest Missouri State University (1998)

Office Hours

Noon to 1:30 PM Monday, 11:00 AM to Noon Wednesday, or by appointment

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

January 14 - May 10

Class Days

Lecture: -M-W-F-, Lab: Monday

Class Time

Lecture: 10:00 - 10:50 AM, Lab: 1:30 - 4:20 PM



Credit Hours


Elemental Geosystems (7th Edition, 2013)by Robert W. Christopherson
Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers
ISBN: 9780132698566

Lab Manual:
Physical Geography Laboratory Manual (10th Edition, 2011) by Darrel Hess
Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers
ISBN: 9780321678362

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
GGP115 Physical Geography- - Examination of the major physical element process, and patterns that comprise the earths four major spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere) and their continuous interaction and relevance to human occupancy of the earth on a global basis. Laboratory exercises will reinforce and extend course concepts. 3:3:4

Educational Philosophy:

My educational philosophy is one that is based on the idea that the interaction that occurs through lectures, readings, quizzes, discussions, exams, internet research, and writings should serve to engage the learner and encourage the exploration of content, concepts, and ideas. As the course instructor, I will focus on furthering the learning experience of each individual, and encourage active participation from the students by way of asking questions, providing your own comments to lectures, and participating in discussions with your own experiences.      

Class Assessment:

Discussions:  You are expected to attend every class session and actively participate by asking and/or answering questions, contributing general comments or personal experiences to the topic at hand, etc. On eight (8) unannounced occasions, you will receive grade credit on the basis of your participation in discussion-related learning activities. In many cases, this will require making a written summary of your thoughts and reactions to the material presented or discussed during the class session. Some discussion activities may require use of the eCompanion website outside of the regular class period. Discussion activities must be completed on the day they are given and may not be made up unless you have provided appropriate documentation for an excused absence for the class session (such as participtation in an approved university event). Each student will be allowed only ONE make-up opportunity for a missed discussion activity due to any excused absences.

Lab Assignments: Lab exercises that are designed to apply and extend the concepts being learned in the lecture component of this course will be assigned each week during the designated lab period (Mondays, 1:30-4:20 PM).  Llab assignments are mostly associated with lab exercises in the Physical Geography Laboratory Manual (by Darrel Hess), but some will involve other resources that will be provided.  Note: Although the total number of exercises and points awarded for those exercises will vary, your scores from each week's set of assigned exercises will be compiled as one "lab assignment" score and each will be equally weighted in the calculation of your final grade fro the course.  

Quizzes: Seven (7) quizzes will be given during the regular course of the semester. Each quiz will consist of approximately 20 multiple choice and/or true-false questions. Quizzes will be completed online on the course eCompanion website ( and will be completed outside of the regularly scheduled class time. Unless otherwise announced in class, quizzes must be completed by Sunday night (no later than 11:59 PM, CST) of the week that it is assigned. Quizzes are open-book, but will be time-limited to 50 minutes and can only be taken once. The quiz material is over the textbook readings (not necessarily what has been covered in the lectures), so you should make sure that you have sufficiently read and studied the textbook before you begin each quiz.


Research Project: This project involves the investigation of the various elements of the physical geography of a selected location. The location selection is entirely up to you and can vary greatly in aerial size – for example, from your backyard to a block-sized city park to a several thousand acre state parkHowever, it should be a place that you will be able to personally visit at least once during the course of the semester in order to obtain certain data through “field work.” The project consists of gathering and compiling information from various sources, including field observations, and is due by Friday, May 3, no later than 5:00 PM (CST). Use of Microsoft PowerPoint is the preferred software for the final document that must contain all of your information. Use of Google Earth, Microsoft Excel, and other Internet resources will be required to complete this project.  See the Research Project instructions available in the course eCompanion ‘Doc Sharing’ page for specific instructions and requirements. The grading breakdown is listed below, and a detailed grading rubric is available in the course ‘Doc Sharing’ page. Project guides will be provided periodically to help you complete your research project.       


For Following Proper Format:

Title Page                                               2.5

Headings                                                2.5

Citations within slide text                       10

Quality of Sources                                   5

Works Cited slide                                     5

Total for Following Instructions      25

Quality of Content

Place Overview                                   10

Atmosphere                                        10

Hydrosphere                                       10

Lithosphere                                         10

Biosphere                                            10

Human-Environment Interactions       20

Total for Quality of Content         70

Grammar & Organization

Writing Quality/Basic Grammar                 15   

Communication of Content                       10

(Relevant terms and illustrations)

Total for Grammar & Organization   25

 Total Points                                          120

Final Exam (Core Assessment):  The Final Exam will serve as the “Core Assessment” for this course and will include many questions that are comprehensive in nature. The Final Exam will consist of 60 multiple choice and/or true-false questions and will be closed book/notes. The Final Exam MUST be taken during the assigned period on Monday, May 6 at 10:15-12:15, unless arrangements are made at least one week IN ADVANCE by the student. 




Grade (% value of each)

Total % Value Toward Final Grade


8 @ 1.25%


Lab Exercises

14 @ 2.25%



7 @ 4.5%


Research Project



Final Exam (Core Assessment)




Course Grading Scale:

The course grade is determined by weighting the number of points earned for each assessment based on the above percentages. Final grades will be based on the following percentage cutoffs:

A = 100% - 90%

B = 89% - 80%

C = 79% - 70%

D = 69% - 60%

F = 59% - 0%

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Assignments will NOT be accepted after their due date and students may NOT make up quizzes or exams missed because of unexcused absences.  Excused absences may be allowed for medical and work emergencies, at the discretion of the instructor with any appropriate documentation that may be requested by the instructor for verification purposes.  If you anticipate problems finishing any work on time, contact me to make arrangements PRIOR to the due date (or as soon as reasonably possible in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance). Typically a 10-20% grade reduction penalty may be assessed for late work that is submitted within 1-2 weeks of the announced deadline, and only half credit is allowed for assignments over 2 weeks late. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Make class time your first priority. Notify the instructor as soon as possible if you have a critical scheduled or emergency situation that would require a deadline extension. It is up to the instructor’s discretion to determine whether or not any request for an extension is valid and whether or not you must provide any type of official documentation for verification purposes.

Treat fellow students and the instructor with RESPECT. Disrespectful comments toward another student or the instructor will not be tolerated. The offending student(s) may be asked to leave the classroom by the instructor and will NOT receive credit for any assignments given/due during the time that the student has been dismissed from the class session. Repeated occurrences of such behavior will be grounds for further administrative action as allowed by the Park University student code of conduct.

You will be expected to use the eCollege website for the course: In addition, this course will also require the use of Google Earth. If you do not currently have a copy of the free version of this Internet-based software already installed on your computer, then you must go to their website ( and install it. Students are expected to notify the instructor in advance of any due date if you have any questions or concerns regarding access to or use of this technology. 

You are expected to be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of any technological problems that may be encountered. Therefore, computer problems will NOT automatically be considered grounds for having late work excused. Be sure to save copies of your work OFTEN and in multiple locations for backup purposes.

Never plagiarize. Always follow and abide by the university’s policies on academic honesty.      

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:




Week 1

Introduction                                                                  Ch. 1 – Essentials of Geography

Week 2

Ch. 2 – Solar Energy, Seasons, & the Atmosphere

Lab Assignment #1          Quiz # 1

Week 3

Ch. 3 – Atmospheric Energy & Global Temperatures

Lab Assignment #2

Week 4

Ch. 4 – Atmospheric & Oceanic Circulations

Lab Assignment #3          Quiz #2

Week 5

Ch. 5 – Atmospheric Water & Weather

Lab Assignment #4

Week 6

Ch. 6 – Water Resources

Lab Assignment #5         Quiz #3

Week 7

Ch. 7 – Climate Systems & Climate Change

Lab Assignment #6

Week 8

Ch. 8 – The Dynamic Planet

Lab Assignment #7         Quiz #4

Week 9

No Classes (Spring Break)

Week 10

Ch. 9 – Tectonics, Earthquakes, & Volcanism

Lab Assignment #8

Week 11

Ch. 10 – Weathering, Karst Landscapes, & Mass  Movement

Lab Assignment #9          Quiz #5

Week 12

Ch. 11 – River Systems & Landforms

Lab Assignment #10

Week 13

Ch. 12 – Oceans, Coastal Systems, & Wind Processes

Lab Assignment #11       Quiz #6

Week 14

Ch. 13 – Glacial & Periglacial Landscapes                   Ch. 14 – The Geography of Soils

Lab Assignment #12

Week 15

Ch. 15 – Ecosystem Essentials                                      Ch. 16 – Terrestrial Biomes

Lab Assignment #13       Quiz #7

Week 16

Ch. 17 – Earth & the Human Denominator

Lab Assignment #14 Research Project Due

Week 17

Final Exam – Monday, May 6, 10:15 AM-12:25 PM

Final Exam (CA)

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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 95

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.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

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:1/9/2013 9:35:44 PM