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PSCI 1020 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PSCI 1020 - Survey of Physical Science II

4 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

The second course of a two-semester sequence designed for the non-science major to fulfill general education requirements in the laboratory based physical sciences. This course includes a study of three fundamental components of the physical sciences, Chemistry; structure of the atom, the atomic nucleus, periodic table, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, acids, bases, molecular mixing, and organic chemistry. Earth Science; Rocks, minerals, Earth's internal properties, water, surface properties, the atmosphere, oceans, and the weather. Astronomy; Our solar system and the relation to the Universe. This course is designed to correct a missing essential in the sciences: the practice of conceptualizing before calculating.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Describe the difference between physical and chemical properties.
  • Define the types of bonding.
  • Write chemical equations.
  • Balance chemical equations.
  • Distinguish between acid, base, and redox reactions.
  • Determine the strengths of acid and bases.
  • Define the pH scale.
  • Discuss the various types organic compounds.
  • Distinguish between rocks and minerals.
  • Discuss the rock cycle.
  • Describe the earth's internal properties.
  • Discuss the theory of continental drift.
  • Discuss the theory of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the effects and changes of global circulation patterns.
  • Distinguish between air masses, fronts, and storms.
  • Describe our solar system
  • Discuss the various models of the solar system.
  • Discuss the birth and death of stars.
  • Describe the components of the universe.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Acceptable placement scores or completion of Learning Support competencies.

Course Topics:

This course will deal with the following information:

1. Atomic structure and the Periodic Table

2. Chemical Bonding

3. Chemical Reactions

4. Carbon Compounds

5. Rocks and Minerals

6. Hydrosphere, Atmosphere and the Weather

7. The Solar System

8. Galaxies

9. The Cosmos

Specific Course Requirements:

Students are expected to:

  • take an active part in all discussions on the web.
  • take an active part in e-mails to the instructor and other class members.
  • complete laboratory reports as scheduled.
  • take quizzes and exams at the scheduled times.
  • complete all special reading assignments.

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:
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:


Grading Procedures:

Your grade in Physical Science II will be determined by the following procedure. As you complete activities and class work, submit the requested materials to me for evaluation. I will evaluate your materials and award you points. You may view the points awarded by clicking on "My Grades" on the Course Menu.

Description                                                Points

16 Discussion Posts @ 15                           240

3 Problem Sets @ 20                                   60

11 Laboratory Exercises @ 20                      220

15 Chapter Quizzes @ 20                             300

1 Term Paper @ 100                                     100

Initial and Final Bibliographies (20 pts each)     40

Total Points                                                  1020

Grading Scale:

Grading Scale:

90 – 100 A

80 – 89 B

65 – 79 C

55 – 64 D

54 and under F

Assignments and Projects:

Assignments and Projects are identified above under the topic "Graded Assignments"

Class Participation:

You are expected to participate in all interactive aspects of the course. For example, you must communicate with other students via emails and discussion board exchanges. You are expected to communicate with your instructor on a regular basis and check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements. You must actively participate in threaded discussion events. Students are expected to work at a pace conducive to collaborative learning. That is, don't work too far ahead or too far behind the group. The class is designed to support student interaction.

Late Policy:

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 April 28, 2017