26-Aug-2001 10:41

Dr. Chamberlin's Official
Fall 2001 Course Guidelines

last modified: 26-Aug-2001

HEY! Send me an e-mail now! You'll be lost and possibly dropped if you don't.

GENERAL: This course is conducted in the WebCT environment on the California Virtual Campus (CVC). There are no on-campus orientations or class meetings.

LAB STUDENTS: Lab sections fall under an entirely different set of course guidelines. You are not required to take a lab as part of this course. The lecture course and the lab course are two entirely separate courses. You are required to take the lecture course before or while taking the lab course. You are not allowed to take the lab course if you have not taken the lecture course or if you are not enrolled in the lecture course at the same time.

STUDENTS WHO WISH TO ADD: No more adds are being accepted.

ALL ENROLLED STUDENTS: Please note that these course guidelines apply to ALL students enrolled in ALL lecture sections of Sean Chamberlin's oceanography course. Sections taught by Sean Chamberlin include:

Note that Sean Chamberlin is NOT teaching section 13149, 6:00-8:50P, Wednesdays, as indicated in the Schedule of Classes. That course will be taught by John Manley, a shark expert.

Any student enrolled in any section of my course is welcome to attend any on-campus session. Class attendance is not required as part of my course but students attending on-campus sessions will have opportunities to earn points in class. Online participation is required of all students and counts as 25% of your grade. See below.

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These guidelines establish specific requirements, grading criteria, description of exams and other key aspects of this course. Please make sure you read these guidelines very carefully. It is your responsibility to make sure you understand and agree to what is required in this course. Your first exam, the Cybernauts Rite-of-Passage Exam, covers the information contained on this page. If you want to pass the easiest exam all semester, then I suggest you make notes and/or underline key sentences as you read along.

General Information

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 interaction of humans with the marine environment is woven throughout.

In addition, for the first time in Fall 2001, this course is part of a learning community called The Nautilus Project. The Nautilus Project links ESC130: Introduction to Oceanography with THEA235 Experimental Theater and explores oceanography through a scientific, literary and dramatic study of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. While enrollment in THEA235 is suggested (but not required), you are invited to participate in field trips and touring show preparations as part of the Project.

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 workload 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.

Have you read the above section thoroughly? Good for you! Put a check mark here.

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What You Will Learn in This Course

By taking this course, not only will you be smarter and wiser about the planet we live on but you will develop a better appreciation for your relationship with the ocean AND you will learn some real-world skills to boot.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

Got that? Right-O! Put a check mark here.

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A Plea from Sean and Fullerton College: Please Don't Drop!

You may not realize it, but dropping courses doesn't only hurt you but it hurts your college. State funding to community colleges is based on something called the success and retention rates of students. When students drop courses or fail to successfully complete them, our ability to provide better services, purchase better equipment and build new buildings is severely hampered. Everyone has circumstances in life that create stress or cause changes in the way we live, but there is no problem that cannot be solved. Before you drop a course, and especially before you drop this course, contact a counselor or me. At the very minimum, please complete a short survey before you drop. That way, we can discover how to better serve our students and how to better insure that they successfully complete their courses.

Can you agree to that? I hope so! Put a check mark here.

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21st Century Computer and Internet Requirements

Enrollment in this course requires use of a computer and use of the Internet. These skills are vital to your success as a student and as an individual in the 21st Century so, for that reason, they are an essential part of this course. All students will be required to use computers and the Internet to complete this course. Computers can be found in the numerous computer labs on our campus or in the library. You may also find a computer with Internet access at your home, your parent's house, a friend or relative's house or at some other location.

If you are not familiar with computers or the Internet, you may want to take a basic course in computers and the Internet prior to or at the same time as taking this course. I am also more than willing to sit down with you and help you become familiar with the basic operation of a computer and with surfing the Internet. You may also ask one of your classmates for help. Most people can get up and running on the Internet in a half hour, if they are willing to learn. Otherwise, if you are unwilling to learn how to use a computer, I suggest that you enroll in another section of this course with a different instructor.

Does that make sense? Wonderful! Put a check mark here.

The California Virtual Campus and WebCT

The California Virtual Campus, also known as the CVC, provides support for community colleges throughout the state of California that offer online courses and courses that use the Internet as part of their curriculum. Our course web site is hosted by the CVC.

Our course web site has been designed using a courseware product known as WebCT. You will need to become familiar with WebCT to succeed in this course. A booklet on WebCT, called What the Heck is WebCT? A Guide for Students Using WebCT in Online, Hybrid and Web-Enhanced Courses can be found on my faculty home page at http://staffwww.fullcoll.edu/schamberlin.

While you are there, you may also want to refer to I Will Survive...(my online course) A Guide for Students Enrolled in Online, Hybrid and Web-Enhanced Courses, which will give you a better idea of what's expected in online-based courses.

All of our work in this course will be conducted on our WebCT course web site at the CVC, which you may find at http://cvc2.org/webct. Use the Fall 2001 login at the top left of the page.

Your username (known as your WebCT ID) is composed of the first two initials of your first name (in ALL CAPS), the first two initials of your last name (in ALL CAPS) and the next-to last four digits of your new Student ID#. For example, if your name is Otto Rocket and your student ID# is 12345678, then your WebCT ID would be OTRO4567. Everyone's initial password is STUDENT. Change it immediately after logging in.

You will need to log in to the CVC at http://cvc2.org/webct to be able to access our course. Make sure you click on the Fall 2001 Login. You must log in and complete the first exam before 11:59PM, Wednesday, September 5 or you will be dropped from the class. Your username and password can be also found by following the instructions at the CVC web site or on my faculty home page.

When you log in properly, you will come to a page called MyWebCT, which lists all the courses using WebCT in which you are enrolled. You will also see a link for the FC Online Student Support Center (FCOSSC). One of your first assignments is to go to the FCOSSC and take the WebCT Tutorial. Even if you have used WebCT previously, you will want to make sure that you can answer the Self-Test questions that appear in modules 2-7 of the tutorial. These questions will be included in your first exam, the Cybernauts Rite-of-Passage exam, which must be completed by midnight, September 5, 2001.

Do you understand what that means to log in at the CVC? Perfect! Put a check mark here.

Materials Requirements

Two Textbooks - Cheap and Invaluable!

All students are required to purchase the Naval Institute Press edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne translated by Walter James Miller and Frederick Paul Walter, ISBN 0-87021-678-3, paperback edition, 1993. This translation provides excellent footnotes that are vital to our study of oceanography. Other translations are not recommended. Your final exam in the course will be based on this text. You may purchase this text on-campus or online at the Fullerton College Bookstore (http://bookstore.fullcoll.edu/) or from any other local or online book vendor who carries this edition. (as of 6-12-01, sells for $23.36 plus shipping at www.borders.com)

In addition, you may want to purchase a printed copy of Dr. C's Remarkable Ocean World, more than 400 pages of lecture notes covering historical, geological, physical, chemical, biological and environmental processes in the sea. While you may access these notes free-of-charge online and print a copy for your use, the printed version contains an index and glossary that may be useful to your studies. A copy of this text can be purchased at The Remarkable Ocean World web site, http://www.oceansonline.com, for $30, including shipping. (Price subject to change; hopefully, I can get them cheaper!)

Get a Notebook - A Journaling we will go

Everyone is required to keep a journal as part of your service learning project (see below). You can use a composition notebook, a spiral notebook, loose-leaf paper in a binder or pieces of napkins if that's what you like to write on. The important thing is to always have your journal with you to write down your thoughts and impressions, your innermost feelings, your doubts and fears, your joys and successes and anything else that's going on in your life. You won't show this journal to anyone, not even me, but you will be asked to summarize your journal entries as part of your points for the project.

The 3.5-inch floppy disk that you will want to have

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, lots of important information would have been lost forever.

The moral of this story: SAVE EVERYTHING! Carry a 3.5-inch floppy disk that you can use at school, at your local cybercafe or at your parent and friend's houses. If you don't have all of your work saved on a floppy disk, you are playing a most dangerous game. If you don't know how to save files to a floppy disk, please ask a fellow classmate or me. Get one. Use it. Carry it everywhere. Store it in a safe place. Send a backup copy to your cousin in Norway.

Do you know what you need? Jolly good! Put a check mark here.

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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 Announcements and Updates - Subscribe to Sean's Mailing List Now!

Course announcements, news, updates, clarifications, FAQs, field trip and extra credit opportunities are e-mailed to your personal e-mail address through the Nautilus subscribable mailing list.

To subscribe, send a blank e-mail (no subject, no message, no signature) to students@oceansonline.com. You will receive a confirmation notice very shortly (within minutes) after subscribing. If you do not, then please make sure you have removed any signatures or stray marks in your e-mail and try again.

Immediately after receiving your confirmation message, post a short introduction message about yourself ("Hi! I'm Sean and I am in this class. Hope everyone makes an A"...or something like that.). Your message will be sent to everyone who is subscribed, including you. It will appear in your inbox soon after you submit it. That way, you insure that you are properly sending and receiving messages.

Please make sure you are properly subscribed to this group or you will miss critical information. The information provided through the Nautilus mailing list will keep you current with everything that is happening in this course.

Sending E-mails to Sean

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to my personal e-mail address at drc@oceansonline.com. PLEASE put your NAME, SECTION and STUDENT ID# as the first line of all e-mails you send to me. If they are questions of a general nature, I will respond to them through the mailing list. Please indicate a SUBJECT for your e-mail (like "Help", "a quick question", question about exam", etc). Please do not put your name, section and student ID in the subject. Put this information as the first line of your e-mail before you start typing anything else. E-mails without this information will not be answered.

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. Copy and paste your message into the body of the e-mail if you want to send me something.

Cheating - The Wrath of Sean!

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.

Have you read the above section in its entirety? Fabulous! Put a check mark here.

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Two Paths to Go By...

Let's be honest, some of us are more motivated to learn than others. Some of us are genuinely interested in college courses, others are completing courses strictly to meet degree requirements and still others have no idea why they are enrolled in college. Maybe a friend is taking it or maybe someone recommended it to you or maybe your parents said you had to take this course or get a job. Whatever.

In an effort to help more students succeed, I am offering two different paths to get through this course. The first path, the Challenger Deep Path, offers you a fully loaded, jam-packed, brain-busting adventure in oceanography. The second path, the Surface Drifters Path, provides a more general overview of oceanography, without the depth and intensity.

Read on for more details.

Challenger Deep Path

If you are motivated to earn the highest grade possible in this course, then you should follow this path. The challenge here is that you will complete all the reading and take all the exams that are required of general education oceanography students. This path encompasses the same materials and exams as a typical oceanography course at any community college or four-year institution. This path offers the most thorough and deep understanding of oceanography. It will inspire in you a desire to learn more about the oceans than you ever thought possible. The key ingredients here for success are motivation and desire.

You should choose this path if you:

Students engaged in this path may earn an A, B, C or D in the course.

If you discover that this path is too hard, if you find that learning about oceanography is not as fun as you thought it would be and/or if you realize that you don't really have the right stuff (i.e. what it takes to make an A), you can always jump paths. You'll have to start all over on topics that you've already taken but you will have less reading and easier exams. It might be worth it in the long run. Note, however, that you must finish one path completely or you risk failure. Points earned from different paths will not be combined. So choose wisely.

Surface Drifters Path

It is not a bad thing to just want to pass a class. In many cases, just getting by in a course and passing it are the best choices possible. It creates less stress, less hassles and less studying. This path encompasses less material and easier exams than the Challenger Deep Path. You will still learn a great deal about oceanography, but the pressures on you will be considerably reduced if you choose this path. There is no loss of honor or glory in taking this path. Be honest about your time and motivation. This might be the best path for you.

You should choose this path if you:

Students engaged in this path may only earn a C or D in the course.

If you discover that this path is way easy, if you find that learning about oceanography is more fun than you ever imagined and/or if you realize that you might have the right stuff (i.e. what it takes to make an A), you can always jump paths. You'll have to start all over on topics that you've already taken (you'll have to do more reading and take more exams) but it might be worth it for the higher grade. Note, however, that you must finish one path completely or you risk failure. Points earned from different paths will not be combined. So choose wisely.

Did you read and understand the above section in its entirety? Are you sure? Way cool! Put a check mark here.

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Course of Studies: How It Works

Your course of studies this semester will not be the traditional, table-of-contents, lecture-style approach that you have been subjected to since the dawn of time. Rather, you will play an active part in your learning and in the learning of your classmates and you will have some flexibility to determine what you study. While you will be required to complete two introductory sections and to participate actively in the course throughout the semester, your course of studies can be tailored to your interests and your approach to learning. As noted above, it can also be tailored to a realistic expectation of the grade you want to receive in this course.

Here's how it works:

Lecture Materials and Exams

  1. When you log in to the course home page at the California Virtual Campus, you will see an icon titled Start Here! Click on that icon and start reading. You must complete the section Start Here! which includes these Course Guidelines and the WebCT tutorial, and you must take the Cybernauts Rite-of-Passage exam before you will be allowed to proceed in the course. This exam may only be taken an unlimited number of times. The highest score will be taken. You must complete this exam no later than 11:59 PM, Wednesday, September 5, 2001, or you will be dropped from the course, no questions asked and no exceptions.
  2. Upon completion of the Start Here! section, you must complete the section titled Ocean Science for Everyone and complete the Ocean Science for Everyone exam. This exam may be taken three times. You must complete this section no later than 11:59 PM, Wednesday, September 19, 2001
  3. Once completed, two options are available to you: the Challenger Deep Path, the ultimate oceanographic challenge, or the Surface Drifters Path, the easier, softer way. Students following the Challenger Deep Path may achieve grades of A, B, C or D in the course. Students taking the Surface Drifters Path may achieve no higher than a C or D as their grade in the course. No one will fail if they complete all the requirements for either of these paths. I guarantee it! Specific details on these paths are provided above (in case you missed reading them).
    1. Six major topics are available for study. They are:
      • Historical Oceanography
      • Physical Oceanography
      • Chemical Oceanography
      • Geological Oceanography
      • Biological Oceanography
      • Environmental Oceanography
  4. After you have completed the Start Here! and Ocean Science For Everyone! sections, you will have a choice over which of these topics you wish to pursue. You will be required to complete three of six topics by the end of the 16 weeks. Completion of a topic occurs when you take the exam for that topic.
  5. You must complete at least one topic exam no later than 11:59PM, October 17, 2001; two different topic exams must be completed by 11:59PM, November 21, 2001; and three different topic exams must be completed no later than 11:59PM, December 12, 2001.
  6. You may take an exam up to three times but the scores will be averaged over all the exams you take. For example, if you score 70 on the first exam, that will be your score. If you score 70 on the first exam 90 on the second exam, then your score will be the average of these two exams, i.e. 80. If you take the third exam of a topic, your score will be the average of all three exams. Note that if your scores is less on the second and third tries, your average score will be diminished. You may not take an exam more than three times for any single topic.
  7. If you complete more than three (3) topics, the highest three scores will be counted. In other words, you may drop the lowest score from one (1) topic if you complete four (4) topics or you may drop the low scores from two (2) topics if you complete five (5) topics or you may drop the low scores from three (3) topics if you complete all six (6) topics. Otherwise, all topics will be counted (i.e. if you complete only three topics.)
  8. Exam scores from Start Here! and Ocean Science For Everyone! will count in full. Neither of these scores may be dropped.
  9. You must successfully complete three topics. It's up to you to determine how long to spend on one topic before moving on or whether to switch between topics before attempting exams in a given topic.
  10. All work must be completed by 11:59 PM, Wednesday, December 12, 2001, which is the last day of classes.
  11. If you have any questions about how this works, please e-mail me. You are responsible for finishing the work that is required of you by the end of the semester.
  12. More information on type of exams can be found below.

Have you read all of the above section? Nice! Put a check mark here.

Participation Assignments

  1. Every week of the semester, starting at 12:01AM, Monday, August 20, 2001 and ending at 11:59PM, Wednesday, December 12, 2001, you will be required to complete Participation Assignments in the Discussion section of our course web site. You will find the Discussion link in the Communications Center, which appears after you have completed the Cybernauts Rite-of-Passage exam (see above.)
  2. Because our course is so large, students will be divided into groups of 20 and given their own group discussion board. Breaking our discussion groups into smaller units will help you get to know each other better and help us to build a stronger online learning community. Topics within each discussion group may vary somewhat but the rules for discussion apply to everyone.
  3. Participation Assignments are due each week and they cannot be made up. All participation assignments are due by 11:59PM, Sunday, of the week in which they occur.
  4. You will be required to complete up to fifteen (15) Participation Assignments during the semester. The first assignment, Getting to Know You, will be available for two weeks, starting 12:01AM, Monday, August 20, 2001 and ending at 11:59PM, Sunday, September 2, 2001.
  5. Completion of a participation assignment includes replying to my discussion questions and responding to two of your classmates' replies. Thus, you must post three (3) times to complete each Participation Assignment.
  6. Each post is worth 5 points. Over the course of the semester, you must post 40 times to gain full credit. No more than 3 posts per week will be accepted. Participation in Discussions is worth a total of 200 points, or 20% of your grade.
  7. Participation Assignments for each week of the semester (except the first assignment, which covers two weeks) are listed as TOPICS in the Discussion Section. You may not work ahead or behind in the assignments. The assignments are only available during the week listed. Otherwise, you may read them but not reply to them.
  8. Each week, I will post discussion questions in the TOPIC for that week. Except for the first assignment, all discussion questions pertain to our study of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  9. Information on how to post to discussions can be found in the WebCT tutorial on my faculty home page and in the Start Here! section of our course web site.
  10. More information on Participation Assignments can be found below.

Have you read everything in this section? Peachy! Make a check mark here.

Service Learning Project

  1. All students will complete eight (8) hours of service learning as part of this course. If you are not familiar with service learning, see below. The service learning requirement is mandatory and no alternative assignments will be permitted. With a little effort and imagination on your part, a suitable project can be found, provided you start early.
  2. A list of relevant service learning agencies and organizations is posted under the Service Learning icon on our course web site. You must contact one of these agencies and inquire about service learning opportunities available with them. A "helper sheet" for contacting agencies can be found in the Service Learning section.
  3. Once you've found a suitable agency, you must fill out the service learning proposal form. All proposal forms are due no later than 11:59PM, Monday, October 1, 2001. Properly submitted proposal forms with all required information will receive 25 points. However, if you fail to turn in a proposal form by the due date, you will lose 125 points in this course. No one will be allowed to proceed with a service learning project without turning in a proposal form by the due date. There will be no exceptions for any reason. Do it ahead of time if you think you are going to have an emergency.
  4. Once your proposal has been accepted, you must carry out your service learning hours and record them on the time sheet provided in the Service Learning section. Your service learning agency supervisor must sign off the hours you work. Five (5) points will be awarded for each hour you work. Ten (10) points will be awarded for providing a bullet-point summary of the activities you conducted while performing your service learning activities.
  5. From the very beginning of your service learning project, even before you make the first phone call, you should record your thoughts and feelings and make notes about what you are doing in your service learning journal. (See Materials above.) Suggestions for journal-keeping can be found in the Journaling link of the Service Learning section.
  6. Twice during the semester, a summary of your journal entries must be posted to the Student Web Pages section of our course web site. Journal summaries are due at 11:59PM on the following dates: 1) Wednesday, October 10, 2001; 2) Wednesday, December 5, 2001.
  7. Your service learning project is worth 125 points or 12.5% of your grade.
  8. More information on service learning can be found below.

Just to be sure you understand the above section in its entirety, go back and read it again. Then put a check mark here.

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Types of Assessment Used to Determine Your Final Grade

To paraphrase another well-known saying, "Assessment happens!" If I didn't have to give you a grade, that would be fine with me. But we are stuck in a system that insists on ranking people by criteria that supposedly indicate some measure of their learning or potential for success. Whatever.

Until such time that grades are abandoned, we are stuck with them. In this course, I evaluate your learning and understanding of the course materials and mastery of the course objectives in three ways:

Multiple Choice Exams

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.

Five (5) online exams will be required this semester. The five (5) online exams correspond to the two required topics and 3 of the 6 self-paced topics that you choose to study this semester. Each online exam is based on course material indicated in that topic. Each exam consists of 25 questions worth 4 points each for a total of 100 points. All exams are open book.

You may take an exam up to three times within any one topic but the scores will be averaged. For example, if you score 70 on the first exam, that will be your score. If you score 70 on the first exam 90 on the second exam, then your score will be the average of these two exams, i.e. 80. If you take the third exam of a topic, your score will be the average of all three exams. Note that if your scores is less on the second and third tries, your average score will be diminished. You may not take an exam more than three times for any single topic.

You will only have 90 minutes to complete an exam 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 90 minutes 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. If you don't take it, you will receive a zero (0) for that exam.

Once you take an exam, you must wait 24 hours before you will be allowed to take it again. Practice exams are available for all exams.

Exams will consist of a combination of the following:

For the most part, exams will cover materials in the Content Modules for a particular topic. However, you are expected to utilize the World Wide Web, any oceanography books and a dictionary or encyclopedia to find answers for questions that do not appear in the textbook or the content modules. A good student knows how to find answers when they are not handed to them. Life is not a multiple choice exam out of some book. I fully expect you to THINK and SEEK for answers to questions that may not be explicitly covered in the course materials.

To the extent possible, practice exams and a study guide will be available for all exams. If you do not understand what an exam will cover, please, by all means, contact me to clarify what is expected of you.

Final Exam

The final exam in our course will be based on our discussion of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. One essay question and 50 multiple choice questions will be included. The final exam is worth a total of 125 points or 12.5% of your grade. More information on the final will be provided midway through the semester.

Do you understand everything in this section? Okay! Make a check mark here.

Participation is the Key to Success

While your studies of the course materials are somewhat self-paced, your participation in the course is not. Mandatory course participation accomplishes several purposes. It gives you that little boost you need each week to go online, i.e. it's a motivator. It gives you an opportunity to earn points each week so that you feel you are making progress in the course, i.e. it gives you self-confidence and self-pride. It creates a learning environment where you and your classmates can share similar experiences, both in terms of the content and the technology, i.e. it creates a sense of community. It helps you learn valuable skills for interacting with your classmates and instructors, i.e. it teaches you how to communicate. It helps you think about and consider more carefully the "big picture", i.e. it helps you relate your life and experiences to your studies. Finally, it's just plain fun and you can do it from anywhere!

Your participation in this course is evaluated primarily through participation assignments but also through self-assessment surveys and an end-of-course survey, described below.

Participation Assignments

Except for the first week, every week during the 16-week semester, participation assignments will be posted in the Discussion board of our course site. Discussion topics center around our reading of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and you will need to read the novel to be able to respond to the discussion questions. You will also find the discussion questions listed in the Study Guide for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A schedule of reading assignments can be found in the Course Syllabus.

To earn participation points, you will be expected to

1)      respond to each of these discussion topics;

2)      to respond to two of your classmates' responses.

Responses to the topics and your classmates must be substantive. Comments like "Cool, I agree" or "That's bogus" are not substantive comments. You must write at least 100 words in all of your responses to receive credit. Five (5) points will be awarded for every response: five (5) points for your initial response and five (5) points each for your response to two of your classmate's responses. More information on how to reply to and post messages can be found in the Discussion Basics section in Start Here.

Fifteen (15) participation assignments enable you to earn a total of 200 points. You must post forty (40) times to earn the maximum possible points. You may earn no more than 15 points per week (3 postings per week) and you may earn no more than 200 points in the entire semester. Once a participation assignment terminates, you will not be allowed to go back and earn points for that assignment. However, because there are a maximum of 45 opportunities to post, you may skip a couple weeks and still earn the maximum points.

Deadlines for each topic are posted in the Calendar although you can pretty much figure out the due dates by the listing of topics in the forum. All postings for a week are due by 11:59 pm on the Sunday of that week. You must meet the deadlines to receive points. There are absolutely no exceptions to my deadlines. If you forget to post something or have a problem that prevents you from posting, you lose the points.

Self-Assessment

Evaluating your progress is one of the most important activities a student can undertake. Making yourself aware of your study habits, your time management, your self-organization skills and motivation can point you to weaknesses that may hinder your studies. By being aware of your weaknesses, you can take steps to improve those areas and, as a result, improve your ability to learn and understand the course materials.

Two anonymous online self-assessment surveys will be made available in Week 5 and Week 10. Each survey is worth fifteen (15) points each for a total of 30 points or 3% of your final grade.

Deadlines for the self-assessment surveys will be posted in the Course Calendar.

End of Course Survey

An end-of-the-course survey will be provided at the end of the course.

The purpose of the survey is:

The end-of-course survey is worth 20 points or 2% of your final grade.

Is everything clear to you in this section? Downtown! Make a check mark here.

Individual Service Learning Project

A critical part of your learning is getting experience doing real-life things. Sometimes, it means putting yourself out there and aggressively finding and pursuing an opportunity to get real-life experience. Real-life experience gives you more confidence to seek the kind of career you want in the future.

During the semester, you will be required to complete a service learning project related to your studies of oceanography. These projects involve real-life, hands-on activities in cooperation with a government, private or non-profit agency.

Potential projects include:

A list of approved service learning agencies will be provided. Watch for a service learning link to appear on the WebCT home page after the third week of classes.

Before you undertake any service learning project, you must complete the Service Learning Project Proposal form. This form will be made available on the service learning link. Completion, submission and approval of the form is worth 25 points. Failure to submit a Service Learing Project Proposal form before the due date will disqualify you from participating in any service learning project. Thus, you will lose 125 points if you do not submit this form on time.

This project will require that you call the agency and make an appointment to participate in their activities. Ask the agency if there is anything that you could volunteer to do that would help them. If the agency you contact has no opportunity for you to participate, you must find another agency. I am more than happy to help you identify potential agencies but I won't make the phone call or write the e-mail to contact them. That's up to you.

You are expected to devote no less than 8 hours to the activity itself. The activities must be "real" activities that involve you in the operations of that agency as if you were an employee. Attending fairs, beach cleanups, parades, tours or other activities open to the general public do not count as service learning. In all cases, get my approval before attempting a service learning project. Without my approval ahead of time, you will not earn points, no matter what you do.

Once you have identified a potential activity, you must fill out the service learning agreement form and the service learning project proposal form. Your proposal form is worth 25 points, which rewards you for setting up the activity.

Next, you must document your participation in the activity. You must provide a signed timesheet of the hours you worked, dated and signed by your service learning agency supervisor. Your timesheet is worth 50 points, (5) points for each hour worked and ten (10) points for providing a written summary of your activities.

Finally, you must keep a journal of how your project contributed both to your understanding of oceanography and to the development of your personal career goals. This account provides an opportunity for you to reflect on your experience. Your journal will be evaluated two times during the semester. Each evaluation is worth 25 points each for a total of 50 points.

More information on service learning can be found in the service learning section of the course web site. The entire service learning project is worth 125 points or 12.5% of your final grade.

Do you understand your responsibilities in this section? Okay! Make a check mark here.

Extra Credit

Extra credit typically inspires a glazed and longing look in students' eyes. It amazes me that students would rather spend four hours on ten points extra credit that two hours studying for a 100-point exam, but that's human nature, I guess.

Nonetheless, extra credit gives an instructor a type of "bonus-pay" opportunity to get students engaged in activities outside their normal course of study. At my discretion, and solely at my discretion, you may earn up to 100 points extra credit this semester by doing the following:

You must get e-mail approval BEFORE you will be allowed to start an extra credit assignment. You must e-mail me and indicate the extra credit assignment that you wish to complete. I will e-mail you back, indicating my approval of your proposal or I will ask you to complete an alternate assignment. Just because an extra credit assignment is on the list does not mean I will approve it! I reserve the right to reject any extra credit proposal.

All extra credit assignments will be worth a maximum of ten (10) points, no matter what the assignment entails. All extra credit assignments are due within ten (10) days of the time you submit your extra credit assignment proposal.

Extra credit will not be accepted without an approved proposal and it will not be accepted after ten days from the time your proposal is approved.

Does that make you happy? If not, read it again, then put a check mark here.

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Points and Grading Criteria

Challenger Deep Path

Description: Read the entire 411 pages of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (including the Introduction); read the 200+ pages of Content Module materials from Dr. C's Remarkable Ocean World in three topics under the Challenger Deep Path; complete two (2) required exams and three of six (3/6) topic exams; complete participation assignments; complete service learning project; and complete the final exam. Highest grade possible on this path is an A. Students performing exemplary work (95% and above) will receive a Certificate of Highest Achievement in Oceanography Award at the end of the semester. All students attempting this path will receive a Meritorious Effort in Oceanography Award at the end of the semester.

To earn the highest grade (i.e., an A), a student should complete the following:

TOTAL: a minimum of 900 points

To earn the next-to-highest grade (i.e., a B), a student should complete the following:

To earn a passing grade (i.e., a C), a student must complete the following:

TOTAL: a minimum of 700 points

Any student who at least attempts ALL of the C-grade activities in the Challenger Deep path but earns less than the minimum 700 points for a C will receive a D. You cannot fail this class as long as you complete the minimum requirements for a C, no matter how many points you receive on those requirements.

Got that? You can't fail! Make a check mark here.

Surface Drifters Path

Description: Read the entire 411 pages of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (including the Introduction); read the 100+ pages of Content Module materials from Dr. C's Remarkable Ocean World in three topics under the Surface Drifter's Path; complete two (2) required exams and three of six (3/6) topic exams; complete half of the participation assignments; complete half of the hours for the service learning project and complete half the journal assignments; and complete the final exam. Highest grade possible on this path is a C.

To earn a passing grade (i.e., a C), a student must complete the following:

TOTAL: a minimum of 700 points

Any student who at least attempts ALL of the C-grade activities in the Surface Drifter's Path but earns less than the minimum 700 points for a C will receive a D. You cannot fail this class as long as you complete the minimum requirements for a C, no matter how many points you receive on those requirements.

The bottom line here is: Never give up, never surrender! Don't drop and you will pass this class with a D, guaranteed!

Got that? You can't fail on this path either! Make a check mark here if you understand what this means.

A Note...

The specific combination of exams, assignments and projects to achieve a particular grade may vary. The above provides a guide to your minimum requirements for a particular grade. If you score better on exams, then you may get away with less participation or vice-versa. Keep track of your points at all time and you will always know where you stand. That way, you can make better decisions on how to prioritize your time and work.

Another Note...

You might be wondering "What is the difference between a C on the Challenger Deep Path and a C on the Surface Drifter's Path?"

The best way to think about it is this: you aren't intending to make a C when you start out on the Challenger Deep Path. Students on this path are committed to learning as much as they can about oceanography and making the highest grade possible. And even if you do make a C on this path, at least you learned more and you tried! That counts for a lot and earns you an award certificate.

Students on the Surface Drifter's Path simply want the most hassle-free way to get a passing grade. And there's nothing wrong with that. Students on this path will be exposed to less of the details and won't have to study as much. As well, students on this path will not receive an award certificate but they will be satisfied that they made it through a course in the most efficient manner possible.

Are you clear about the difference between the two paths? Groovy, baby.  Make a check mark here.

Summary of Points

The type and number of exams and assignments that are required for this course are summarized below.

Type of Evaluation

Points per evaluation

Number of evaluations

Total Points

Percentage (%) of Grade

Online Exams

       

Required Exams

100

2

200

20%

Topic Exams

100

3

300

30%

Service Learning Project

       

Project Proposal

25

1

25

2.5%

Project Time Sheet

50

1

50

5%

Project Journal

25

2

50

5%

Student Participation

       

Discussion Topics

5

40

200

20%

Self-Assessment Surveys

15

2

30

3%

End-of-course Survey

20

1

20

2%

Final Exam
125
1
125
12.5%

Total

   

1000

100%

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Summary of Grading Criteria

Challenger Deep Path

A = 900 points and above

B = 800 points and above

C = 700 points and above

D = <700 points and completion of minimum requirements

F = <600 points and failure to complete minimum requirements

Surface Drifter's Path

C = 700 points and above

D = <700 points and completion of minimum requirements

F = <600 points and failure to complete minimum requirements

Got all that?