Dr. Chamberlin's Official
Spring 2002 Course Guidelines

last modified: 13-Nov-2001 15:10

NOTE: These Course Guidelines subject to change until 12:01am, Monday, January 21, 2002. DO NOT PRINT. They are for informational purposes only at this time. For a summary of exams, assignments and reading, please see the Course Syllabus.

ONLINE ORIENTATION: All students are urged to complete the Online Orientation prior to starting the course of studies below. The Orientation provides specific information on attitudes, skills and tools needed to be successful in this course. The Orientation is linked through the Course Syllabus and will be available in January 2002.

HEY! DON'T BE DROPPED! Complete the Student-Teacher Contract of Understanding by 1159PM, January 25, 2002, or you will be dropped. The Contract can be found in the Online Orientation in January 2002.

GENERAL: This course is conducted through the web site at The Remarkable Ocean World. There are no on-campus orientations but there are two mandatory on-campus exams. See below.

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 adds accepted after 11:59PM, January 25, 2002.

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

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. Online participation is required of all students. All sections, on-campus and online, follow the same syllabus and guidelines. See below for more details.


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.

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.

This course explores oceanography through a scientific, literary and dramatic study of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea AND through studies of The Bare Bones Remarkable Ocean World textbook by Sean Chamberlin. Both texts are available online but it is recommended that you purchase a printed copy of each for studying offline.

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. 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.

Materials Requirements

Two Textbooks - Cheap and Invaluable!

All students are strongly urged 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. You may also purchase the Oxford World's Classic Edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea translated by William Butcher, ISBN 0-19-282839-8, paperback edition, 1998. Both translations provide excellent footnotes that are vital to our study of oceanography.You may purchase this text on-campus or online from any book vendor who carries these editions. You may also access a translation of the text on the Remarkable Ocean World web site but printing and studying from this text is not recommended.

In addition, you are urged to purchase a printed copy of The Bare Bones Remarkable Ocean World, a condensed version of the full text that covers just the materials we will use this semester.. 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 the condensed text or the full text can be purchased at The Remarkable Ocean World Bookstore.

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 the Cybernauts 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 Cybernauts 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 to cybernauts@oceansonline.com 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 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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Course of Studies: How It Works

Our course of studies follows the voyage of the Nautilus as it sails 20,000 leagues (43, 200 miles) beneath the surface of the ocean. We will cover all 47 chapters of the novel and thetextbook in our 16 weeks of study. All of your work for the course centers around the novel and the oceanography text that supports it.

All students will follow the same Course Syllabus and Course Guidelines, regardless of whether you are enrolled in an on-campus section or an online section. On-campus students may elect to work online and online students may elect to attend lectures on campus. There are no requirements to attend on-campus. Your attendance is based on participation on the Discussion Board. Students not completing Discussion Board assignments in the first two weeks of classes will be dropped (see below).

On-campus meetings will include lectures, hands-on exercises and videos, according to the following format:

The time spent on any particular aspect of on-campus meetings will depend on the length of the video or movie presentations scheduled for that particular week. The schedule for videos and movies can be found in the Course Syllabus. In addition, on-campus exams will occur in Week 10 and Week 17, which may slightly alter the above format. See below for more details on exam dates.

The following assessments are used to keep you on track and evaluate what you have learned:

All students embark on the same course of studies with the same timeline. However, there is some flexibility in the assignments you choose to complete. Not all assignments must be completed to earn maximum points. You are always welcome to complete all the assignments, but you will only receive points up to the maximum allowed for that particular assessment.

The following describes in detail the types of assessments and how they are executed.

Online and On-Campus 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.

Four exams will be given this semester, at approximately weeks 5, 9, 13 and 17 (see Course Syllabus). Online exams are worth 100 points while on-campus exams are worth 150 points each. Exams may consist of multiple choice, matching, short answer, essay and skills-based questions. Exams cover readings in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Bare Bones Remarkable Ocean World. Exams One and Three will be held online; Exams Two and Four are held on the Fullerton College campus or at a pre-approved testing center (ask instructor for details).

Here's a summary of each exam:

Practice exams and study materials will be provided prior to each exam. More information on the specific content of each exam will be provided through the Cybernauts Mailing List (see above).

In Week 10, the on-campus exam will be given at 9AM on Monday, April 1, 2002, and Friday, April 5, 2002, in Room 515 at Fullerton College. Online students may attend one of these on-campus exam sessions, elect to take the exam at the Fullerton College testing center or pre-arrange to take the exam at an approved testing center, such as a nearby community college. Arrangements must be made no later than two weeks prior to the exam, i.e. before March 15, 2001.

The final exam, Exam Four, will also be held on campus. Dates, times and places for that exam will be posted through the Cybernauts Mailing List.

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 through one or more of the following:

Participation is worth 45% of your final grade. You may choose among the three types of participation assignments to earn a maximum possible 450 points.

Discussion Board Assignments

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. 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.

You may earn no more than 15 points per week (3 postings per week). Once a participation assignment terminates, you will not be allowed to go back and earn points for that assignment. There are a maximum of 48 opportunities to post.

Deadlines for each topic are posted in the Course Syllabus. 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.

Instructions for posting to the Discussion Board are linked through the Course Syllabus.

Hands-On Assignments

Practicing what we learn by applying pen or pencil to paper is one of the most important skills we can learn in college. Think about it: most everything you do involves writing of some sort. Many of the demands placed on you as an individual involve calculations, either to balance your checkbook, take out a student loan, save up for a trip to Europe or make sure you get back the correct change at Taco Bell. This course helps you develop those skills through hands-on assignments.

Hands-on assignments include the following:

Hands-on assignments will be made available during on-campus lectures and are linked through the Course Syllabus. Assignments are due by 1159PM on the Sunday for the week in which they occur. For example, the first assignment, Units Exchange, is due no later than 1159PM on Sunday, January 27. You may submit assignments earlier if you desire. Assignments will not be accepted after the due date. All assignments must be typed, except for those that require drawing or constructing.

Sixteen (16) hands-on assignments will be made available over the course of our semester. Each successfully completed assignment is worth 15 points. Incomplete or incorrect assignments will earn less points. All assignments must be submitted in hard copy either to my campus mailbox in person or by sending them to Sean Chamberlin, Fullerton College, 321 East Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832. Assignments sent by mail must be postmarked prior to the due date.

Video and Movie Assignments

Witnessing firsthand the awesome power and beauty of the sea puts into perspective the importance of our studies of the ocean. Ideally, all of us would board a ship or a submarine and spend 16 weeks at sea learning about the oceans. In my days at sea, I learned more about the oceans than was possible in a classroom. Unfortunately, we must rely on less expensive means for experiencing the ocean and its inhabitants. Videos and movies provide the next best thing.

You may choose from 33 different documentaries and movies to complete the assignments, as listed on the Course Syllabus. These are the only videos and movies that are approved for watching. Each study guide is worth 15 points.

Study Guides for the videos and movies will be distributed in class and are linked through the Course Syllabus. Video and Movie Assignments are due by 1159PM on the Sunday for the week in which they occur. For example, the first assignment, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Great Books, is due no later than 1159PM on Sunday, January 27. You may submit assignments earlier if you desire. Assignments will not be accepted after the due date. All assignments must be typed and must be submitted in the body of an e-mail only. Attachments are not accepted.

Each week, the documentary-style video and the feature length film for that week will be shown on campus. Documentaries will be shown from 9-10:20 on Wednesdays; films will be shown from 9-Noon on Fridays. A short lecture will accompany each video and movie. Alternatively, you may view the documentaries on campus at the library or you may rent the feature films at a local video store.


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. Everyone must complete the self-assessment surveys. They are not optional.

Deadlines for the self-assessment surveys will be announced through the Cybernauts Mailing List.

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. Everyone must complete the self-assessment surveys. They are not optional.

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

Extra Credit

You may earn ten points for each of the following extra credit assignments. If you successfully complete all of them, you will earn 100 extra credit points. No more than 100 extra credit points will be awarded during the semester.

  1. visit to Aquarium of the Pacific and completion of study guide
  2. visit to Cabrillo Museum and completion of study guide
  3. visit to Stephen Birch Museum and completion of study guide
  4. visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium and completion of study guide
  5. participation in Earth Day event and completion of study guide
  6. visit to Ocean Planet web site and completion of study guide
  7. visit to Discovery.com Giant Squid web site and completion of study guide
  8. visit to USGS plate tectonics web site and completion of study guide
  9. visit to PBS.org Antarctic web site and completion of study guide
  10. visit to Wrigley Marine Institute and completion of study guide

You may submit one extra credit assignment each Monday during the semester, excluding Spring Break. Only one extra credit assignment may be submitted per week. Plan your extra credit wisely and do not let it interfere with your regular assignments. Extra credit assignments require more work than regular assignments.

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

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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





On-campus midterm





On-campus final exam


Student Participation





Discussion Board assignments


up to 48



Hands-on Assignments


up to 16

Video study guides

up to 33
Self-assessment surveys
End-of-course survey





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Summary of Grading Criteria

A = 850 points and above

B = 750 - 849 points

C = 650 - 749 points

D = 550 - 649 points

F = 0 - 550 points

Got all that?