Indiana University Northwest

GEOL-G101 Syllabus


Indiana University Northwest

Department of Geosciences


G101 Introduction to Earth Science

Instructor Name: Dr. Kris Huysken Email: Phone: 219-980-6739

See the **Course Guide/Schedule**for

session themes, readings, resources, and all assignment due dates.

My name is Dr. Kris Huysken. I am a geologist by trade – with particular specialty in Volcanic systems and historic earthquakes in Northern Indiana and Illinois.

Course Description

What is Earth Science? This course is an introduction to the principles of Earth Science – the study of the Earth and the dynamic processes that operate on and within it.  In this course, we cover aspects of Geology (rocks and minerals, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and glaciers, just to name a few), Oceanography (chemistry and movement of ocean waters, the ocean floor), and Atmospheric Science (makeup of the atmosphere, climate, and weather).

One overarching theme is Plate Tectonics. Plate tectonics are the driving force, the geologic engine that drives most Earth processes.

We also focus on the relationship among the solid Earth, the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and life on the planet. Humans are part of this system, and so “the human equation (The effect of humans on the Earth and the effect of the Earth on humans)” is part of this focus.

Course Goals and Objectives

In a nutshell, I want you to be able to understand basic Earth science principles! Within this context, I list 10 objectives that will guide this course.

1.   Recognize, describe, and understand Earth materials and their classification.

2.   Explain basic geologic, oceanographic, and atmospheric processes and concepts.

3.   Describe how a particular process leads to the development of a specific


4.   Apply scientific knowledge in new ways.

5.   Understand how Earth scientists approach new problems, and the

(sometimes-amazing) ways they gather data and interpret findings.

6.   Draw on scientific principles to predict behavior of geologic, oceanographic, or atmospheric systems.

7.   Be able to devise ways in which scientific hypotheses may be tested

8.   Interpret scientific data.

9.   Communicate logically and meaningfully.

10. Understand the Earth as a system

Course Materials

Required Text: EARTH SCIENCE, Tarbuck and Lutgens, 12th ed., 2012, Macmillan Pub. Co., N.Y. You may use the print version or the online version. You may also use an earlier addition of this text book if you have one.

Grading Information

Grades will be determined as shown in the following assignment chart. Detailed descriptions of assignments are available below and from the assignment links in the chart. Due dates are detailed in the Course Schedule.

 Assignment                              Percentage of Grade


Discussion participation


Two midterm examinations (15% each)






Final examination



Class Policies Regarding Graded Work

**The following policies are in effect for all individual deliverables throughout the semester, unless noted otherwise. **

 ***Late Work***

I do not accept late work. However, I do understand that emergencies arise. To account for unforeseen circumstances such as illness, or other unforeseen emergencies, I have adopted the following policy:

Weekly quizzes, discussion questions, assignments: You may drop your lowest weekly activity score (quiz, discussion question, or assignment).

Exams: If you miss and exam due to a documented emergency (hospital visit, documentable illness or other emergency), you may take a make-up exam up to one week late. I will evaluate longer documentable emergencies (for example, an extended hospital stay) on a case-by-case basis.

***Original Work***

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Indiana University Northwest follows the code of academic integrity and honesty set forth by Indiana University. The details are printed in the Indiana University Code of Ethics and are available on the web. Academic misconduct, including cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated!

Punishments for academic misconduct may include an “F” for the assignment, a failing grade for the entire course and referral to the Dean of Students for further sanctions.

PLAGARISM: This class involves presenting assignments that include writing and other ways of communicating scientific information (for example, constructing graphs and charts). I know how easy and tempting it might be to use the Google search engine to help you write your assignments and/or your discussions.

It is not in your best interest to even attempt ‘borrowing’ information (anyone else’s ideas, their words, or their sentences) from any website, someone else’s paper, or any other source without proper citations of your sources.

If you don’t know what plagiarism is, you need to get yourself familiar with what it is and what it isn’t. These sites might help you:

If you do plagiarize, here are the consequences:

1st offense: You will earn a 0 on that assignment/discussion/reflection

2nd offense: You will receive a failing grade for the course and be referred to the

Dean of Students, which might result in failing the course and could also affect your college record.

It’s not worth it. I promise. Trust your own brain to come up with its own ideas, and use the internet as research only.


If a student cannot complete the course due to an unforeseen emergency or illness, and the student has successfully completed the majority of work for the course, the instructor may assign a grade of Incomplete (I).  In this case, the instructor will provide a written statement to the students outlining the work needing completion, and a time limit for completing the work. Failure to complete work by the assigned date, will result in zeros (0’s) for those assignments.

NOTE: The instructor will keep students apprised of assignment grades via the online class Grade book. Students are responsible for contacting the instructor if they do not receive any grade by 10 days after the assignment submission date.

Course Requirements

Individual Class Participation (20% of course grade) Exams (50% of course grade)

Homework/Individual work (30% of course grade)

Participation is weighted heavily in this class. I encourage you to log on and post at least 3 out of 7 days. More is even better!

I recommend that you schedule online time, just as you would schedule time for a face to face course.

Discussion Questions

Answers should be at least 100 words.

I will assign points based on the quality of your answer, and whether it meets the word requirements. Once you meet each week’s minimum posting requirements (2 discussion questions and 2 quality responses to your peers), you should feel free (and are encouraged!) to post some additional shorter posts to your peers or to me.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re posting in an online class is the visual aspect of the post. Since readers will be reading everything you say, it’s important that you break up large posts into smaller paragraphs with line breaks in between. Please also feel free to use colors, different fonts, and even emoticons ;-)

Just remember "4 in 3": 4 posts total for the week,  posted on 3 different days with excellent content and length (4 posts total – not 4 posts each day). In a nutshell, 2 replies to discussion questions and 2 replies to your peers will equal the 4 you need.

Discussion question replies are 20 points each; peer responses are 10 points each. Maximum points for discussion each week: 60 points.

Do not overwhelm yourself by feeling as if you have to participate more than this, but you can post as much as you want as often as you want once you meet these minimum requirements.

All posts are due by 11:59pm of Day 7 (Sunday) of each week. No participation points are earned for the week after Day 7.

Helpful hints for replies to your peers: For your replies to other posts, keep the following in mind since it is the criteria for earning your points…Did you offer a real life example/application for what was being discussed or offer additional insight? Is your answer “substantial” and professionally presented?

Note: Participation/Advancing discussion replies (2 each week) are in a separate category from your discussion question answers. Your discussion question answer is not counted as one of your participation replies.

I will be the observer/facilitator of this process and will be assessing your contributions to the topic-related discussions.

I will try to interject questions and respond to each of you at least once each week. This can be difficult with larger classes and so please do not be offended if I miss you one week.

Please keep in mind that I participate heavily in this course because it is very important that I read all of your posts so that I can redirect you if you need it, answer questions, dispel myths, etc.

Discussion grading rubric


Well distributed (18-20 points)

Somewhat distributed (11-17 points)

Not distributed (10 or less points)

Replies to peers:

2 or more replies well distributed throughout the week. At least one

reply per day for 2 or more days. Posts are substantive (100+

words), contribute to discussion,

and are professionally presented.

1-2 replies, somewhat distributed throughout week (1-2 days). Posts

are mostly substantive (<100 words), sometimes contribute to

discussion, and are professionally


1 or no replies not distributed throughout week (all posted on one day). Posts are

not substantive, may not contribute to discussion, and are not always

professionally presented.


Excellent contribution (35-40 points)

Good contribution (30-35 points)

Below standard contribution (29 or less points)

DQ Answers:

Clearly understands concepts and incorporates them in discussion. Advances discussion with questions, sharing of resources, and/or personal experiences/examples.

Presentation of answer is professional looking with no grammatical or spelling errors. Text is divided into easy to read paragraphs and may have headings.

Length: 100 words or more

Somewhat understands concepts and incorporates them in discussion

Includes examples and real life examples; may not be completely related and question may not be completely answered.

Presentation of answer is somewhat professional looking and has a few grammatical errors Length: 51-99 words

Not evident concepts are understood. Responses have little to do with

concepts. Does not advance discussion.

Presentation of answer is not professional looking and has quite a few grammatical errors.

Length: 25-50 words

**All due dates are noted in the Course Schedule/Calendar.**

Assignments and Quizzes

Every week you will have tasks to complete.

Assignments are meant to be practical and are described, in detail, in that week’s Module. They can be viewed in the Modules or downloaded/printed.

You will turn in your assignments through the “Assignments” tab. It is important is that you label each assignment with your last name so checking completion is easier.

Quizzes are designed to test your understanding of that week’s readings, Discussion Questions,

and/or other assigned materials. Some quizzes, you will be allowed to take until you get 100%. Others you will be able to take only once. Details are given in each week’s Agenda. You will take quizzes through the “Tests and Surveys” tab.


Grades are posted weekly in Gradebook, within 5 days of the week’s end. Weeks end on Sunday and grades will be uploaded by Friday of the following week.

Need Help?

Please feel free to call, or email if you have questions or are confused. You may also drop by my office on campus during regularly scheduled office hours, or any time that my door is open.

**All due dates are noted in the Course Guide/Schedule.**

 Other Important Information

RESPONSE TIME: For e-mails and questions posted in the virtual office forum, I will respond within one business day (Monday through Friday).

Grades are posted in the online Grade Book within 7 days of the assignment due date.

WHERE TO GO FOR TECHNICAL HELP: Any technical issues or problems you encounter should be handled through the IU Northwest Help Desk. Below is their contact information.

The IT Help Desk ( is ready to answer all your technology questions. You can visit the Help Desk in Raintree Hall 204, call (219) 981-4357, or send an e-mail:

The Course Evaluation

Many students disregard course evaluations as an optional part of taking a course. At IUN, and especially for online classes, completing the course evaluations is not optional. Your input, suggestions, opinions matter and are taken seriously. We cannot continue to promote online course offerings if students do not complete their course evaluations because departments are held accountable for having adequate response rates and instructors are also affected by low response rates. Please do your part in understanding that it is part of your duty as a student to complete every course evaluation, regardless of how you personally feel about the course or the instructor. They are that important.

IU Academic Policies

This course is governed by IU academic policies in the following areas:

  • Grading Guidelines
  • Writing Standards
  • Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
  • Course Evaluations
  • Students With Disabilities

A+ (98-100) = Excellent A  (93-100) = Excellent A- (90-92.9) = Excellent B+ (87-89.9) = Good

B  (83-86.9) = Good


B- (80-82.9) = Good                                                      F C+ (77-79.9) = Average

C  (73-76.9) = Average

C- (70-72.9) = Average

D+ (67-69.9) = Below Standards - passing D  (63-66.9) = Below Standards - passing D- (60-62.9) = Below Standards – passing F (below 60) = Failure

FN = Failure for nonattendance

I = Incomplete

W = Withdrew

Additional Information


The home page of Oncourse has links, video tutorials and several tips and updates to help you navigate the website. IU has prepared a reference page containing links to information about a variety of resources to help you function successfully in your online Oncourse class.


Indiana University is committed to creating a learning environment and academic community that promotes educational opportunities for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Course directors are asked to make reasonable accommodations, upon request by the student or the university, for such disabilities. It is the responsibility of students with documented physical or learning disabilities seeking accommodation to notify their course directors and the relevant campus

office that deals with such cases in a timely manner concerning the need for such accommodation. Indiana University will make reasonable accommodations for access to programs, services, and facilities as outlined by applicable state and federal laws.

Campus support office:

Student Support Services, HH 29, (219) 980-6798

Student Support Services