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CSPS118G: Earth, Life, and Time Colloquium
SEMESTER I: Methods in Earth, Life & Time
CCC1100 Tue, 3:30-5:00
Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1216
Campus phone: 5-4084
Office hours: Tue 8:30 - 11:00 AM or by appointment
Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218
Campus phone: 5-2808
Office Hours: Thu 3:00 - 5:00 PM or by appointment
Ms. Cynthia Shaw
Office: Centreville 1208
Campus phone: 5-2537
Office Hours: Mon 3:00 - 5:00 PM or by appointment
COURSE ORGANIZATION: One meeting per week, three weekend field trips.
Required Readings: This semester there are two required texts:
Reading assignments must be done by the classtime listed.
- Sagan, C. 1995. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Random House)
- McPhee, J. 1998. Annals of the Former World (FSG)
Additional short readings will be handed out in class
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND PHILOSOPHY: Semester 1 concentrates on the methods of science in general, and the natural historical sciences (historical geology and evolutionary biology) in particular.
CLASSROOM POLICIES: You should bring the following to every single colooquium meeting:
- A writing implement
- A notebook (containing the syllabus)
- The text for that half of the course (Sagan throughout September; McPhee after that)
- A willingness to participate constuctively, both in small groups and in the class as a whole
- A readiness and ability to discuss the readings for that week
This semester we will have a number of small-group in-class projects. We expect everyone to help move tables and chairs when necessary for a particular project, and to help restore the tables and chairs to the "neutral" position when we are done. Many hands make light work!
- All electronic modes of communication (mobile phones, pagers, etc.) must be turned "off" or be in silent mode
- No personal electronic listening devices (e.g., CD players, MP3 players, personal radios, etc.) will be allowed
- No reading of material not germane to the class activity will be allowed
Finally, please do not leave any debris behind: pick up all food/beverage containers, papers, newspapers, etc. near your seat and on your desk when you leave.
POLICY ON GRADES: There are seven components of which each is worth a certain percentage of the total. These are: Attendance (20%), Field Trips (20%), Group Projects (25%), Quizzes (15%), HTML Project (5%); Service Day (10%), and Res-Life Events (5%). Here are the details:
GRADE SCALE (Course): 90-above,A; 80-89,B; 70-79,C; 60-69,D; 60-below,F. "+" and "-" grades are given to the top and bottom two-percent range, respectively, within each grade.
- Colloquium Attendance: (20%) Participation in colloquium meetings is mandatory, and attendance will be taken. A default grade of A (20 full percent points) of the total final grade will be given for attendance. Each student may have one unexcused absence from a class without penalty. After that, their attendance grade will be lowered by 5% (points) with each additional unexcused absence. PLEASE NOTE:
- Students observed leaving the colloquium before 4:50 or before it is formally dismissed will be counted absent.
- If you have a legitimate reason for being absent, such as a family emergency or unavoidable academic conflict, we will usually excuse your absence, however you must notify us in a timely fashion. Requests for the excusing of an absence will not be considered after two days from the absence.
- NOTE: We expect students to adhere to proper academic decorum during colloquia. This means focusing your attention on presentations, refraining from conversations or activities that are not relevant (e.g. reading newspapers, textbooks, etc.), and showing proper respect for student, faculty, and guest presenters. We reserve the right to count you absent from colloquium if you fail to uphold this standard!
- Field Trip Attendance: (20%) This semester there will be three (3) field trips. It is mandatory that every student participates in two (2) of these trips. These trips are to:
- Sept. 24th (Tuesday), 6-10pm: Ropes Course (on campus)
- Oct. 5th (Saturday): Chesapeake Beach & Jugbay Wetlands Sanctuary
- Oct. 27th (Sunday): Sidling Hill & Sandy Mile Creek
If you only attend one field trip, you will only get only 10 of the 20%; if you do not go on any field trip, this part of your grade will be a 0.
- In-class Small Group Projects: (25%) Throughout the semester there will be a series of in-class assignments. These will be conducted in small groups (to be created on those dates), with your results handed in at the end of that classtime. Everyone in each small group receives the same grade for that day's work.
- Quizzes:(15%) To verify that you are, in fact, mastering the material of the course, four (4) scheduled quizzes will be administered during the semester. We will automatically drop the lowest of the four grades. NOTE: Quiz materials will cover both the classes and the readings.
- HTML Project:(5%) In the mid-semester we will have a small workshop teaching the basics of HTML coding and website design. You will be responsible for creating a webpage to be mounted on our site; successful completion of this project is worth 5% of the total.
- Service Day:(10%) All CPS students are expected to participate in Service Day. If you missed Service Day, you MUST see the instructors and work out some arrangement for a make-up task or you will receive a 0 for this portion of your grade.
- Resident Life Programs:(5%) As part of the living-learning commitment of CPS, students in ELT are expected to participate in 2 out of the 7 programs on Choose Again offered by Centrevillešs Resident Life staff. There will be two programs each in September, October, and November and one in December. You may attend all eight if you wish (and quite frankly many of them may be very useful to you), but you must attend two. If you only attend one of these you will receive only 1/2 of this portion of the grade; failure to attend any will result in 0. Note that even non-Centreville residents in ELT must attend these. However, all this being said, we hope that these programs will make for a more effective and pleasant experience in becoming accustomed to college life.
GRADE SCALE (Group Projects): =, 5 points; check+, 4 points; check, 3 points; check-, 2 points; -, 1 point; 0,0 points.
COMMUNICATION: Because many of our communications will be by e-mail, all students are expected to maintain e-mail accounts and arrange for access to the Internet. Although not a course requirement per se, students should get into the habit of checking their e-mail daily. Failure to do so may cause you to miss crucial course information.
DISHONESTY: Evidence of dishonesty, cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, or plagiarism on even one assignment will be forwarded to the Honor Council for review. See pp. 44-47 of the UMCP 2002/2003 Undergraduate Catalog or
online. Have a nice day.
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- Program: Introduction and Logistics of Class
- Lecture: Being an Effective Student
- Lecture: What is Science? What is Natural History?
- Survey: Knowledge about Natural History
- Lecture: The Logic of Science
- Group Project: Falsifiability
- Reading: Sagan Chaps. 1-8
- Quiz 1
- Group Project: Logical Fallacies & Baloney Detection
- Reading:Sagan Chaps. 9-16
- Group Project: Science as a Candle in the Dark
- Reading: Sagan Chaps. 17-25
AFTER CLASS: Field Trip 1 Ropes Course (on campus)
- Lecture: Birth of Geology
- Reading (handed out in class): Lyell's
Principles of Geology "Chapter 1"
10/05 (Sat) Field Trip 2: Chesapeake Beach and Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
- Lecture & Group Project: Every Rock is a Record of the Environment in Which it formed
- Quiz 2
- Group Project: Stratigraphy & Time
- HTML PROJECT DUE
- Reading: Basin & Range
- Group Project: Terra Mobile: A Look at Plate Tectonics
10/27 (Sun) Field Trip 3: Sideling Hill & Sandy Mile Creek
- Lecture & Group Project: Evidence of Evolution
Variations of Animals and Plants Under Domestication "Introduction"
- Discovery of Evolutionary
Reading: Darwin Variations "Introduction" (Handed out previous week)
- Quiz 3
- Group Project: Natural Selection, Patterns & Processes of Evolution
- Group Project: Comparing Different Annals of the Former World
- Reading: In Suspect Terrain OR Rising from the Plains OR Assembling California
- Lecture & Group Project: The Iron Cladist
- Group Project: Cladistics, What is it Good For?
- Reading: Crossing the Craton
- Quiz 4
Review of Semester Topics