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CSPS218G: Earth, Life, and Time Colloquium
SEMESTER III: Interactions in Earth, Life & Time
Fall 2002
CCC1100 Mon 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.
Additional short readings will be handed out in class

COURSE OBJECTIVES AND PHILOSOPHY: Semester 1 focused on the methods of the natural historical sciences; Semester 2 examined the perspectives afforded by these sciences. Semester 3 explores the interactions of natural history and Humanity, including the influence of the natural world in shaping ancient and modern cultures; the impact of human technologies(ancient and modern) on the living and non-living world; and the influence of our understanding (and often misunderstanding) of Science upon contemporary society.

CLASSROOM POLICIES: You should bring the following to every single colooquium meeting:

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!

During classtime:

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 (10%), Field Trips (10%), Group Projects (25%), Quizzes (15%), Adobe Graphics Project (5%); Practicum Proposal (15%), and Learning Contract(20%). Here are the details:

  1. Colloquium Attendance: (10%) Participation in colloquium meetings is mandatory, and attendance will be taken. A default grade of A (10 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 2.5% (points) with each additional unexcused absence. PLEASE NOTE:

  2. Field Trip Attendance: (10%) This semester there will be two (2) field trips. It is mandatory that every student participates in one (1) of these trips. These trips are to:

    If you do not go on any field trip, this part of your grade will be a 0.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Adobe Graphics Project:(5%) In the mid-semester we will have a small workshop teaching the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. You will be responsible for creating a small poster using these software packages; successful completion of this project is worth 5% of the total.

  6. Practicum Proposal:(15%) All ELT students must participate in a practicum in order to complete their Citation. While the work for the practicum will be done after this semester, we use this semester to help you organize your projects. By XXX XX you will have to turn in a proposal for your practicum work, giving a preliminary view of a) where you will be doing your work; b) what that work will likely entail; and c) what you expect to get out of this project. Failure to provide a proposal will not only mean loss of 15% of your grade, but it will also prevent you from receiving any credit from the practicum!!

  7. Learning Contract:(20%) The second practicum-related portion of your grade this semester is the Learning Contract. This is a formal agreement between you, your site supervisor, and our office, making clear the tasks and hours for which you will be responsible and the credit level to which your practicum course will be given. The Learning Contract is due on XXX xx. Failure to provide a proposal will not only mean loss of 20% of your grade, but it will also prevent

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.

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.


  • 9/9
    Program: Introduction & Class Logistics
    Lecture: Introduction to the Practicum
    Lecture: Why Everyone (Not Just Scientists) Should Know About Science

  • 9/16
    Group Project: Energy Resources
    Reading: Diamond Prologue & Part One

  • 9/23
    Group Project: Reality of Climate Change
    Reading:Diamond Part Two, Chaps. 4-6

  • 9/30
    Quiz 1
    Lecture & Group Project: Value of Biodiversity
    Reading: Diamond Part Two, Chaps. 7-10
  • 10/07
    Group Project: Guns, Germs & Steel (critical review of the book so far)
    Reading: Diamond Part Three

  • 10/14
    Group Project:How the West was One
    Reading: Diamond Part Four & Epilogue

  • 10/19 (Sat) Field Trip 1: National Zoo

  • 10/21
    Quiz 2
    Workshop: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

  • 10/28
    Lecture: The Lure of Pseudoscience: Antarctic Hollow Earth Space Nazis, Surviving Plesiosaurs, Men In Black, Crop Circles, and Aliens on Ice
    Reading:Parks Preface & Chaps. 1-2

  • 11/4
    Lecture: Mad Science & Bad Science
    Reading: Parks Chaps. 3-4
    Adobe Graphics Project Due

  • 11/11
    Group Project: Recognizing Good Science, Bad Science, and Pseudoscience
    Reading: Parks Chaps. 5-6

  • 11/17 (Sun) Field Trip 2: Luray Caverns

  • 11/18
    Quiz 3
    Group Project: Science in the Public Interest
    Reading: Parks Chaps. 7-8

  • 11/25
    Group Project: Bad Science Fiction Kills: The REAL Attack of the Clones!
    Reading: Parks Chaps. 9-10

  • 12/2
    Group Project: Confidence in Science: The Scientific Method Revisited

  • 12/09
    Quiz 4
    Review of Earth, Life & Time

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