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CSPS118G: Earth, Life, and Time Colloquium
CCC1205 Tue, 3:30-5:00
Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1216
Campus phone: 54084
Office hours: Tues 8:30 - 11:00 AM or by appointment.
Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218
Campus phone: 52808
Office Hours: Wed, 3:00 - 5:00 PM or by appointment.
Ms. Cynthia Shaw
Office: Centreville 1208
Campus phone: TBA
Office Hours: Fri, 10:00 - 11:00 AM or by appointment.
COURSE ORGANIZATION: One meeting per week, two weekend field trips.
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND PHILOSOPHY: Most university classes are designed to transmit a block of information and to assess how much of it students picked up. The colloquium for Earth, Life, and Time is meant to go beyond this. Here, our goals are:
In semester 1 we concentrate on developing basic knowledge of the big issues in Earth and Life Sciences and on familiarizing you with basic digital technologies.
POLICY ON GRADES: There are five components, each of which contributes to your grade: Attendance (30%), Participation (10%), Group Projects (30%), Quizzes (20%), and Assignments (10%).
- To provide an opportunity for you to integrate the information you are receiving in other courses,
- To give you a direct window into the way natural scientists think and reinforce natural science topics that are especially important to them.
- To give you the chance to develop communications, research, and presentation skills that will stand you in good stead later on.
- Attendance: (30%) Attendance is comprised of three components (Colloquium/Field Trips, Service Day, ³Choose Again² Resident Life programs):
- Colloquium and Field Trips: Participation in colloquium meetings and field trips is mandatory, and attendance will be taken. A default grade of A will be given for attendance. Each student may have one unexcused absence TOTAL from a class or field trip without penalty. After that, their attendance grade will be lowered by one letter grade 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.
- NOTE ALSO: You may not realize it, but we have to pay money for you to go on field trips. If you tell us you are going to go on a field trip, even an optional one, and then fail to show, this will be counted as an unexcused absence.
- Service Day: 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. Failure to do so will result in lowering your attendance score one letter grade.
- ³Choose Again² Resident Life Programs: As part of the living-learning commitment of CPS, students in ELT are expected to participate in 2 out of the 8 programs on ³Choose Again² offered by Centreville¹s 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 your attendance grade will drop one letter grade; failure to attend any will result in a drop of two letter grades. 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.
- Lecture-discussion participation: (10%) All students are expected to be active participants in the colloquium. Students are expected to have read the week's assignments (if any) and to be prepared to discuss them. The default grade for this section is a ³B²; students who fail to be active participants in the discussions in colloquium will be downgraded, while those who actively and positively contribute their ideas, observations, and thoughts in the discussions will be assigned an ³A².
- Group Projects: (30%) All students will be assigned to one of several groups, each responsible for a different project. These projects (summarized at the end of the syllabus) include curating the Earth, Life & Time Museum (ELTM); producing the latest issues of Earth, Life & Times (the ELT online newsletter); maintaining a photographic, videographic, and art record of the semester; organizing the class discussion for 10/30; and developing a set of educational resource websites on the history of evolutionary biology and historical geology. Each group will make a brief presentation of summarizing its activities at the end of the semester. By the last day of class we will ask each individual to submit a short paragraph detailing his or her personal contribution to the committee, signed by all the other members of the committee.
- Quizzes: (20%) To verify that you are, in fact, mastering the material we present, three scheduled quizzes will be administered during the semester. We will automatically drop the lowest of the three grades.
- Proof of Concept Assignments: (10%) Throughout the semester there will be a series of short take-home assignments to help make sure that you are familiar with the intellectual topics and technological skills expected of an ELT student.
COMMUNICATION: Because many of our communications will be by e-mail, and several assignments involve the Worldwide Web, 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: Although you are encouraged to discuss assignments with your colleagues and work together, work submitted under your name must be exclusively your own. 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. 43-46 of the UMCP 2001/2002 Undergraduate Catalog or online. Have a nice day.
COLLOQUIUM AND FIELD TRIP SCHEDULE:
Earth, Life, and Time Freshman Group Projects:
Each student in ELT will be a member of a group project. Below are summarizes of the different projects; more detailed requirements and helpful information will be handed out to each group early in the semester.
THE HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCES: This semester, several groups will work to create a series of websites on topics in the history of evolutionary sciences. Each site will provide some essential information as well as links to more detailed sites for other researchers. The topics to be covered (one per group) are:
- ELT Museum: Collections managers: This committee will be responsible for maintaining the physical inventory of specimens, accessioning new specimens, and designing and maintaining a specimen data base.
- Earth, Life & Times Volume 2, Issue 1: Earth, Life & Times is the ELT online newsletter. Issue 1 will report on events related to ELT from the beginning of the semester until the end of October 9. This includes, but is not limited to, Service Day, the Ropes Course, and the Eastern Maryland field trip.
- Earth, Life & Times Volume 2, Issue 2: Earth, Life & Times is the ELT online newsletter. Issue 3 will report on events related to ELT from October 10 to the end of the semester. This includes, but is not limited to, the CPS Citation Ceremony on 10/14 (including the first cohort of ELT students to complete their citation), the Western Maryland field trip, and the Evolution/Creation panel.
- Photography/Videography/Art: This group is expected to maintain a digital photographic and video record of all major ELT events, which will be at the disposal of the Earth, Life & Times writers, the ELT faculty, CPS Central Staff, and the University. Furthermore, this graphics art group may be called upon by the web site creators to provide various graphs, photos, or drawings for their sites.
- Evolution/Creation Panel: Several neighboring states have recently discussed legislation concerning the introduction of creation science into public education under a ³two competing models² premise. On October 30 we examine this policy in class. The responsibility of this group is to investigate, research, and fairly and accurately present these two models to the class (who will represent the Board of Education). After their presentations the class as a whole will discuss this topic.
- Earth Sciences Before Wegener: Investigates (among other topics) the discovery of the antiquity of the Earth, the meaning of fossils, and the rock cycle.
- Terra Mobile: Investigates the discovery of the mobile earth, from Wegener's continental drift through sea-floor spreading and the recognition of plate tectonics, to modern discoveries about the changing Earth.
- Evolution before Darwin: Examines the history of ideas about biological evolution from Aristotle through Lamarck, Cuvier, and Buffon.
- Darwin and his Contemporaries: Compare and contrast the contributions and models of evolution of Darwin, Wallace, Owen, Thomas Huxley, Cope, and other mid-late 19th Century scientists.
- The Great Synthesis: The first six decades of the 20th Century saw the union of paleontology, genetics, population biology, and other disciplines. Investigate the contributions of Haldane, Julian Huxley, Wright, Simpson, and their colleagues.
- Computerized Evolution: In the 1960s and 1970s two new methods were developed to use computers in an attempt to understand the diversity of life: cladistics and phenetics. Compare and contrast these methods, and examine their different fates in scientific circles.