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GEOL 1030 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

GEOL 1030 - Survey of Geology with Lab (formerly Geology and Lab)

4 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is a study of the composition of rocks, minerals, landscape development, earthquakes, the earth's interior and exterior weather and climate, the nature of mountains and their development, and the drift of the continental and ocean crusted plates.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • demonstrate knowledge of fundamental earth science principles.
  • define, discuss and classify geological processes that alter the earth's surface
  • identify and understand select geological structures
  • classify earth materials
  • relate geology to other sciences and develop an understanding of the scientific method 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

This course is divided into five (5) Modules, including the "Getting Started Module," comprised of a total of fourteen (14) Lessons:

Module 1: Introduction
Lesson 1: Introduction to Geology
Module 2: Earth Materials
Lesson 2: Minerals
Lesson 3: Igneous Rocks and Intrusive Activity
Lesson 4: Soils, Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks
Lesson 5: Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks
Module 3: Plate Tectonics, Geologic Time and Earth's History
Lesson 6: Geologic Time and Earth's History
Lesson 7: Plate Tectonics
Module 4: Geological Processes
Lesson 8: Earthquakes and the Earth's Interior
Lesson 9: Volcanoes and Volcanism
Lesson 10: Deformation and the Continents
Lesson 11: Weathering and Mass Wasting
Lesson 12: Surface and Ground Water
Lesson 13: Oceans, Sea Floors and Shorelines
Lesson 14: Glaciers and Deserts 

Specific Course Requirements:

This course is divided into four Modules, not including the Getting Started Module, with grouping of Lessons. The 14 Lessons contain the following:

  • Lesson Activities: You must view the lectures, access the resources and outlines, PowerPoint presentations and other available electronic resources used to provide the content for this course. All material is provided through the Course Content. Each Lesson has an interactive Activity which develops your understanding of the presented material.
  • Discussions: There will be a series of discussions for each Lesson. The Discussion tool is accessed under Communication and Evaluation menus above. You must actively participate in all discussions, by first responding to the posted discussion topic. This is achieved by commenting or providing information or posting a summation. Next, ask questions and or make comments to other posts, and partake in the discussion.
  • Reading: The optional textbook and required lab manual, which is included in the LabPaq, provide a good general introduction to the field of geology. Both cover most of the topics in the class. Thus, they will serve to augment the lessons presented online and provide material for discussion. Additional resources and websites, available in the Course Content, will help you understand the material and study for the quizzes and exams.
  • Laboratory Assignments: The lab exercises provide an additional form of learning the content of the course. The labs help to provide a tactile and visual explanation of the material. Within some labs, you are exposed to geological material that you will be required to identify in quizzes and exams. The lab assignments utilize the LabPaq available from the bookstore. Please view How to Obtain the LabPaq to order. The completed student lab reports or score certificate of completion will be uploaded into the Dropbox of the associated lab for grading. The Dropbox tool is under the Evaluation menu above. For more information about the Score Certificate of Completion, please read the document in Getting Started called How to complete an activity/lab with a Completion Certificate.
  • Lesson Questions: The questions cover the topics introduced in the Lesson activities, labs, and associated video segments. These Lesson Questions are another opportunity for student learning. The Lesson Questions are found in the Assessments tool under the Evaluation menu above. Lesson Questions are graded but can be taken an unlimited number of times allowing the student to reach the maximum score possible for each Lesson Question assessment.
  • Lesson Quizzes: These quizzes assess your progress on a weekly basis. The quizzes will cover topics introduced in the lectures, labs, associated video segments and Lesson Questions. Quizzes assess your understanding of the material and only offer a single attempt. The Lesson Quizzes are found in the Assessments tool under the Evaluation menu above.
  • Videos and Summaries: Along with the documents are links to videos which will give further supporting material. The concepts presented in the videos will benefit the student in understanding this material. You may download and watch the videos from You are encouraged to type a brief summary of the video segments and keep for your review. You are strongly encouraged to view and summarize all 26 segments (30-minutes each episode). The summary you create will become part of your reading material. These summaries are not graded; they are for your use in learning the material. Once you have accessed the website, you can scroll down to the desired program that you wish to view. Click on the Video On Demand icon to open a new window that will play the desired video. You do not need to buy the DVDs, but you may contact your library to see if copies are available for your convenience. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Strongly encouraged but not required is the textbook: GEOL, 2nd Edition,by Wicander and Monroe, Brooks/Cole ISBN-10: 1133108695 

You are strongly encouraged to have some type of screen capture or .pdf printer to keep digital copies of documents that you will need to create and submit into the Dropbox.  PDFCreator is a good application to use.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:
  • This course has Lesson Activities that are interactive presentations. Lesson Activities are accessed through the Table of Content under the Course Content menu above. The students are required to perform activities as they are introduced to the material. At the end of each Activity the student is provided with a score. The Lesson Activities are open so that students may learn, review and can improve their score (Lesson 1-7 closes at the Midterm and Lesson 8-14 for the latter closes at the Final).
  • This course has Lesson Questions that are accessed via the Assessments tool under the Evaluation menu above. Students are allowed to re-assess their knowledge of each lesson repeatedly. The Lesson Questions are open so that the student may learn from their mistakes and improve their score (Lesson 1-7 closes at the Midterm and Lesson 8-14 closes at the Final).
  • This course has Lesson Quizzes that are accessed via the Assessments tool under the Evaluation menu above. Students are allowed one attempt and encouraged to not take the assessment until having completed all other activities in the lesson. The Lessons Quizzes are open for a given time which keeps the students on a scheduled progression through the course.
  • This course has TWO PROCTORED exams, the Midterm and Final. The exams are accessed via the Assessments tool under the Evaluation menu above. Students are required to schedule with an approved testing facility a testing time during the week the exam is open. The Midterm will focus on the first 7 lessons while the final will be comprehensive with an emphasis on Lessons 8 through 14. Please visit to find and schedule your proctored exam. 
Grading Procedures:
Total Grade for Lab ReportsGrading Criteria
9-10 points

Original, thoughtful analysis of the questions and of the experiment. Clear and fluent writing.
All Data recorded.
All questions are answered completely. 

7-8 points

Some analysis of the questions and of the experiment. Clear writing.
Not all Data is recorded.
Over 75% of the questions are answered. 

4-6 points

Little or no analysis of the questions and of the experiment. Contain inconsistent and/or unclear writing.
Little or no Data is recorded.
Over 50% of the questions are answered. 

0-3 points

No analysis of the questions and of the experiment Significant writing errors.
No Data is recorded.
Less than 50% of the questions are answered. 


Total Grade for DiscussionsGrading Criteria
9-10 points

Original, thoughtful analysis of the discussion question.
Clear and fluent writing.
Student contributes meaningfully throughout the week.
4 or more responses to other posts are thoughtful and advance the discussion.
Discussion Question is answered completely. 

7-8 points

Some analysis of the Discussion Question.
Clear writing.
Student may participate meaningfully, yet inconsistently throughout the week.
1 to 3 thoughtful responses to other postings.
Over 75% of the Discussion Question is answered 

4-6 points
Postings may be too short.
Postings may contain inconsistent and/or unclear writing.
Student may post on only one or two days during the week.
0 to 1 weak response to another posting.
Over 50% of the discussion Question is answered. 
2-3 points

Minimal postings, on very few days.
Significant writing errors or too-short postings.
No interaction with other postings.
Discussion Question is unanswered.
Less than 50% of the discussion question is answered. 

0-1 point

Off-topic postings.
Posting may take place on one day only.
Major writing errors that inhibit reading.
No interaction with other postings.
Discussion Question is unanswered.
Abusive or inappropriate behavior. 


Grading Scale:
900-1000 PointsA
800-899 PointsB
700-799 PointsC
600-699 PointsD
under 600 PointsF


Assignments and Projects:

The Lesson Activities, Lesson Questions, Lesson Quizzes. Exams and some Lab Assignments are automatically graded by the computer. At the end of the Lesson Activities a Certificate of Completion for the interactive presentation is provided with your score for the Activity; you are strongly suggested to print a digital copy for your records in case the grade recorded in the grade book does not match the score on the certificate. The grade book, Grades tool under Evaluation menu above, should record the highest score from your attempts.

For some Lab Assignments, to receive a grade you must post the Certificate of Completion or lab report in the appropriate Dropbox for grading. For those with a Certificate of Completion, the score reported on the certificate will be the score recorded into the grade book. For Lab Assignments that require a lab report to be completed (a downloadable student report form is provided with the Lab Assignment) the rubric below will be utilized to assess the report.

Please refer to the "How To/Guide" in the "Getting Started" to see how to generate a Certificate of Completion: How to complete an activity/lab with a Completion Certificate 

Final Exam @ 210 points210 Points
Midterm Exam @ 170 points170 Points
14 Discussions @ 10 points each140 Points
14 Lesson Activities @ 10 points each140 Points
14 Lesson Quizzes @ 10 points each140 Points
13 Lab Assignments @ 10 points each130 Points
14 Lesson Questions @ 5 points each70 Points
Total Points1000 Points


Class Participation:

It is important that you submit the Lab Safety Agreement into its dropbox before starting any labs. Therefore, the remaining labs and their associated drop boxes are invisible until this is completed. The Lab Safety Agreement can be found in the Course Content under the Getting Started Module under Lab Safety Agreement.

Regular submission of Lesson Activities, Lesson Questions, Lab Assignments and active postings in Discussions reflect participation in the course. Discussion posts and Lesson Quizzes have due dates reflecting the period the lesson the student should be working on and will close at the end of the week. Lab Assignments, Lesson Activities and Lesson Question will close at the time of the Midterm for Lessons I through Lesson 7, while Lesson 8 through 14 will close at the time of the Final. See Grading Procedure above on awarding of points for the Discussions and Lab Assignments. 

Late Policy:

All material is open and you are encouraged to move ahead especially since some activities, such as the labs, require extra time to complete. You are required to submit completed work by the designated due dates, as posted in the calendar and schedule of course news item, for full possible credit. Discussion posts and Lesson Quizzes have due dates reflecting the period the lesson the student should be working on and will close at the end of the week. Lab Assignments, Lesson Activities and Lesson Question will close at the time of the Midterm for Lessons I through Lesson 7, while Lesson 8 through 14 will close at the time of the Final. See Grading Procedure above on awarding of points for the Discussions and Lab Assignments. If you are unable to meet this deadline you must contact your instructor to see if arrangements can be made.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 27, 2018