Fall 2000 Course Guidelines
for ESC130: Introduction to Oceanography
Professor Chamberlin

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Materials requirements
Points and grading criteria
Final grade determination
Rules of conduct
Times and Dates of Exams
Grade Reports


These guidelines establish specific requirements, grading criteria, description of exams and other key aspects of this course. Please make sure you read these guidelines carefully. It is your responsibility to make sure you understand and agree to what is required in this course. Some of the sections in these guidelines appear elsewhere. If you missed reading those sections, please go back and review them.


This course equates to three (3) lecture hours per week. It presents a survey of the geological, physical, chemical and biological principles of oceanography. This course examines how these processes interact to form a variety of habitats within the marine ecosystem. An overview is provided of the physical nature of these habitats, the distribution and characteristics of the organisms found within them and the oceanographic tools used to determine these properties. The interactions of humans with the marine environment is woven throughout.

Please be aware that this course is NOT the same course as Marine Biology. Oceanography encompasses physics, chemistry and geology, as well as biology. Equal time will be given to each of these topics during the semester; marine biology makes up about 25% of the course.

All college, district, state and federal policies, guidelines and regulations in effect for on-campus courses apply to this course. Students are urged to review the FC Catalog, especially with regards to Academic Honesty. Students are also reminded that alcohol and drugs are forbidden on campus and during all college activities and events, including those held off-campus. This policy applies to all field trips and expeditions offered as part of this course.

According to college guidelines, a student should expect to spend at least three (3) hours per week for each unit (1) of credit taken during a sixteen (16) week course. Thus, you may expect to dedicate at least 9 hours per week to this course (3 hours "in" class and 6 hours "outside" class). Realistically, you will need to spend a minimum of five (5) hours per week engaged in studying (not printing, surfing the web, chatting over IM, etc.) if you want to pass this course. Students are urged to review the suggestions provided in the FC Course Catalog concerning work load and class load.

Instructional objectives for this course have been established by the FC Earth Sciences Department, the FC Curriculum Committee, the FC Administration, the North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) and the State of California. Every effort will be made to insure your success in meeting these objectives.

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Materials Requirements


In this course, the lecture notes (available online and for purchase through this site) serve as our textbook. In my opinion, textbooks have become way too expensive for what they offer, so I'm not requiring you to buy one. However, if you can find an inexpensive oceanography textbook from a friend or check one out from the library, then it will definitely help you. Former students tell me they get along just fine using my notes so that's good enough for me. If an oceanography textbook is something you plan to use and keep (i.e. something that you want for future reference), then e-mail me and I would be happy to recommend one to you.

Lecture Notes

All of the lecture notes for this course are available online. However, reading from a computer monitor can be tiring and stressful for some. Moreover, some students like to make notes in the margins or carry their notes with them for studying in places where computers don't exist (!). You are welcome to print all or any of the lecture notes on this web site (~400 pages), or you may wish to purchase a bound copy of my lecture notes. These notes are available for purchase through the bookstore on this site.

3.5-inch floppy disk

Let me tell you a little story. In Spring 2000, a computer virus wiped out everything on my hard drive. Fortunately, I had backups. BUT...if I hadn't backed up everything, then all of my students' online exams would have been lost forever.

The moral of this story: SAVE all your EXAMS on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. If you don't have all of your exams saved on floppy disk, you are playing a most dangerous game. There are NO excuses for not carrying out this assignment. If you don't know how to save files to a floppy disk, please ask me or a fellow classmate. This is one of the most important policies in the entire course!

Besides saving exams, you may want to save certain web pages on floppy disk. Get one. Use it. Carry it everywhere. Store it in a safe place. Send a backup copy to your cousin in Norway. See also Internet Basics and Protocols.


Keep a loose change jar for handy study items like Styrofoam balls, cheap flashlights, food coloring and mineral spirits. Although not required, they will make your studies more fun. More details during the course.

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Points and Grading Criteria

Grading in this course is based on a 1000-point scale. Please note the type and number of assignments that are required for this course. Specific information on assignments and requirements for the course can be found below.

Type of Evaluation
Number of points per assignment
Number of assignments
Total Points
Percentage (%) of Grade
Online Exams 100 4/5 400 40%
On-campus Midterms 150 2 300 30%
On-campus Final 150 1 150 15%
X-Games 15 10 150 15%
Total 1000 100%

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Final Grade Determination

Your final grade will be determined on the basis of the following accumulation of points.

Percentage (%) of Total Points
Minimum Points Needed for Grade
A 85% 850
B 75% 750
C 60% 600
D 50% 500
F <50% <500

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Rules of Conduct

The following rules are highly specific. Read them very carefully. Failure to follow these rules could result in crash or injury to your grade.

Course Announcementsand Updates - Stay Alert!

Course announcements (such as those heard at the beginning of on-campus lecture classes) are posted 3-5 times per week in the Daily Dope. Read the Daily Dope every day! The information provided in this posting will keep you current with everything that is happening in the class. Here you will find clarification on assignments and exams, special announcements, updates of every sort and tidbits of fascinating information. Make it a daily habit! If you find the same information posted for more than two days, hit the REFRESH or RELOAD button on your web browser. Sometimes your web browser stores pages and doesn't update them unless you specify. Modify the preferences section of  your browser to insure that pages are updated every time you access them. In addition,vital course information will be sent via the cybernaut mailing list. Please make sure you are properly subscribed to the CYBERNAUTS mailing list or you may miss important information. For more details on subscribing to the mailing list, see below.

Sending E-mails:

See Internet Basics and Protocols.

Attachments - Don't send them!

Attachments are the number one vector for dangerous computer viruses. Please don't send them. I will delete them no matter what the subject or text of the e-mail says. Copy and paste your message into the body of the e-mail if you want to send me something.

Late Exams - Not!

All due dates and times are final. There will be no exceptions. Due dates and times are posted on the exam pages. Please allow plenty of time to complete your exams. Failure of your computer and/or disruption of Internet service are not excuses for late exams. Exams will not be accepted after the due dates and times.

Cheating - Don't Even!

Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Students are urged to review the Fullerton College policy on Academic Honesty. Any person or persons caught cheating will dropped from the course or receive an F for the course at a minimum. Additional disciplinary action, such as expulsion from the college,  will be pursued at the discretion of the instructor. Cheating includes but is not limited to:

If you are uncertain whether something you are doing may be considered cheating, ask me. Students are encouraged to form study groups, discuss material and help each other with material in the course. However, you must perform all of your own work and you must answer all exam questions on your own.

Backups - Do It! Do It! Do It! Do It! Do It!

ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK! When you complete your exam, you will be sent an e-mail containing your graded exam. Print the graded examl and make a copy of it on a floppy disk. Hardware and software problems do occur. If your exam is lost by some error on my part, I will ask for your copy. If you don't have a copy, you won't receive credit for the work. It is mandatory that you keep a floppy disk backup of all work related to this course. I also suggest that you keep a backup copy of any e-mail correspondence. E-mails often serve as proof that you submitted an exam. Please take this requirements seriously. Honestly, it's for your benefit!

Extra Credit - Terms and Conditions

There is no such thing as extra credit in this class. If you focus on the exams and assignments, you will do marvelous in this course.

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Examinations test our retention and understanding of information, concepts and processes. Exams are an integral part of teaching and provide one of the best means for quantitatively evaluating student learning. Perhaps most importantly, exams allow you to demonstrate your ability to analyze problems, synthesize relevant information and communicate your ideas.

This course employs a combination of online exams and on-campus exams. Your final grade includes the following:

Please read very carefully the description of these exams. This information will give you a very good idea of what's expected of you in this course.

Online Exams

Five (5) online exams will be given this semester. Each online exam is based on course material indicated in the Course Syllabus. Specific topics and reading for the online exams will be provided in the Daily Dope and on the online exam web pages. Each online exam will consist of 25 multiple-choice (A-E) questions worth 4 points each. Each online exam is worth a maximum of 100 points.

Only the four (4) highest online exam scores will be counted towards your final grade. However, if you miss more than two (2) online exams, you will be dropped from the class. In other words, three strikes and you're out. Whatever you do, make sure you keep up with the exam schedule.

You will have a 7-day period over which a particular online exam will be available for completion. For any online exam, you may only take it once AND you will only have two hours to complete it from the moment you log in. You must be prepared for the exam before you decide to take it. Once you log in for the very first time, the clock starts ticking. If you are accidentally logged off, you must log back on immediately and continue with the exam. Anyone who takes more than two hours to submit the exam will receive a zero (0). There is no such thing as accidentally logging in to an exam, so if you choose to log in, make sure you are prepared to take it.

Finally and very importantly, exams must be submitted in the proper format. All exams must contain your name, student identification number (also known as the Perm number), your section number and a proper e-mail address. If you fail to provide ANY of the required information, you will receive a zero (0) on the exam. No exceptions. For more information on the proper format, please go to Internet Basics and Protocols.

On-Campus Midterms and Final

In weeks five (5) and eleven (11), all students will take on-campus midterms. In week seventeen (17), an on-campus final will be given. You must make arrangements to take the on-campus midterms and final during those weeks. On-campus midterms and the final will not be held during any other weeks. Please e-mail me no later than two (2) weeks prior to the midterm or final period to arrange a time and place for your exam. Arrangements can be made at the Fullerton College testing center, my office or some other suitable location. Students living more than 50 miles from campus may elect to take the midterm and/or final exam at an alternate location, such as a college campus or church, if available and if approved by the instructor. More information will be forthcoming on when and where you may take midterms during the third week of classes.

The on-campus midterms and the final will be based on the materials that precede it according to the course syllabus. Some materials from the midterms may appear on the final but the final is not intended to be comprehensive. A study guide will be made available for the midterms and the final. Review sessions will be held on-campus or over pizza, if requested. The on-campus midterms and the final will consist of 50 multiple choice (A-E) questions worth 3 points each. The midterms and final are worth a maximum of 150 points each.

The following rules will apply to the on-campus midterms and final:

  1. All students must bring a Form 882-ES Scantron and a #2 pencil. Any other materials, including backpacks and water bottles, will not be allowed in the exam area.
  2. All students must present photo identification (student card, id card or driver's license) with name.

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Time and Dates for Exams

Students may take exams only during the period in which they are offered. There will be no makeup exams. There are no exceptions to this rule ever.

Time and dates for the all exams are as follows:

Online Exam #1:  Online @12:01am, Monday, 9/4/00; Offline @11:59 pm, Sunday, 9/10/00
Online Exam #2:  Online @12:01am, Monday, 10/9/00; Offline @11:59 pm, Sunday, 10/15/00
Online Exam #3:  Online @12:01am, Monday, 10/23/00; Offline @11:59 pm, Sunday, 10/29/00
Online Exam #4:  Online @12:01am, Monday, 11/13/00; Offline @11:59 pm, Sunday, 11/19/00
Online Exam #5:  Online @12:01am, Monday, 12/4/00; Offline @11:59pm, Sunday, 12/10/00

Midterm #1(online): 12:01 AM, Monday, 9/18/00- 11:59 PM, Sunday, 9/24/00
On-Campus Midterm #2: Monday, 10/30/00 - Sunday, 11/5/00
On-Campus Final: Monday, 12/11/00 - Sunday, 12/16/00


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While you won't be required to sky surf over Monterey Bay, you will be required to take an active role in learning oceanography this semester. X-games are designed to deepen your understanding of the materials presented in the lecture notes. They give you a chance to observe and experiment with the some of the geological, physical, chemical and biological processes that we will study.

Please note that X-games this semester are quite different from X-games in previous semesters. Ten (10) X-games are required of each student. Each X-game has a specific goal and specific set of directions for completion. More details will be revealed in the Daily Dope and on the Cybernauts mailing list throughout the semester. Most X-games require you to perform a simple set of observations or experiments and discuss your results in written format. Other X-game points are rewarded for completing the student-teacher contract of understanding, your two grade reports and your final review sheet.

Each X-game is due by 11:59PM of the last day of the week in which it is assigned. Each X-game is worth fifteen (15) points for a total of 150 points (15%) towards your final grade. Criteria for grading the X-games are as follows:

15 points: perfect spelling, grammar and organization and good discussion
10 points: imperfect spelling or grammar, not well-organized, ideas not well-developed
5 points: for at least trying

Here is a list of X-games and due dates for this semester. You may also refer to the course syllabus for this information.

Due Date
Student contract
11:59 PM, Sunday, 9/3/00
Weather buoys, surf cams and tide tables
11:59 PM, Sunday, 9/24/00
Grade report one
11:59 PM, Sunday, 10/01/00
Latitude & longitude
11:59 PM, Sunday, 10/8/00
5 & 6
Oceanography in a coffee cup; Satellite oceanography
This will be a combined group assignment.
11:59 PM, Sunday, 10/22/00
Grade report two
11:59 PM, Sunday, 11/5/00
Fishy adaptations
11:59 PM, Sunday, 11/12/00
Sonic vision
11:59 PM, Sunday, 12/3/00
Final review sheet
11:59 PM, Sunday, 12/12/00

Grade Reports

As part of your X-game points, you will be required to keep track of and calculate your grades during this course. Not only does this give you a sense of accomplishment in the course but it also insures that your scores are properly recorded. While I try to be as careful as possible, I do make mistakes and your grade report gives you a record against which you check the scores that I post.

I also like grade reports for teaching simple math skills. Everyone should know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide but unfortunately many of us don't. The sad fact is that most people develop a bad attitude about math. They don't see the relevance of math to their lives. Well let me tell you a little something. Banks and credit card companies make a very good living because you and me aren't very good at math. Take a look at student debt and consumer debt. It would be a fraction of what it is if people learned the math skills for balancing their checkbooks and calculating interest.

I think it's a real shame that students get to our community college with such poor math skills. Rest assured, you are not to blame. The fault lies with educators, myself included. So to stem this tide of math illiteracy, I have pledged to do whatever it takes to get you started on the road to learning simple math skills. I'm not talking big time stuff, I'm talking adding and subtracting and dividing. Please, please, do yourself a big favor. Spend a few moments with me or someone else to learn a few simple rules of math. Practice your math on your checkbook every day. Learn to love it! You are throwing away your hard earned bucks. Let a newfound knowledge of math empower you. If you already have good math skills, then offer to help on one of the Forums.

Here's an example of what your grade report should look like. I suggest that you set them up in a simple spreadsheet, such as Microsoft Excel. If you have any questions about what your grade report should include, please contact me.

Name	Sean Chamberlin		
SID#	130130		
Exam One Grade Report          
Online Exam #	Points	Possible	Percentage
1		     	 88			100		  		88%
2 * 15 = 30 30 100%
Total		 118	130				 91%	
Current Grade:	A

Please e-mail me a copy of your grade report by the due date.

Please save the electronic versions of all your exams to floppy disk and keep track of your scores in a spreadsheet as you get them.

As always, if you have any questions on your grade reports or any other section of this syllabus, please e-mail me, drc@oceansonline.com.

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