Earth System Science GEOL 1100

Instructor: Harmon D. Maher Jr.

Course description: This is an introductory course that looks at how the earth works as a whole, from volcanoes to hurricanes to microbes. If you are interested in questions such as the causes and history of climate change, or how continents and rivers have shifted, or how life on earth influences the air you breath, then this course will be of interest. The course also teaches basic skills in how to deal with complexity, skills that translate into many other endeavors in life.

Course audience: All university students are absolutely welcome. There are no prerequisites. The only requirement is that you be willing to spend a total of 6-8 hours a week, working on the course. If you can, then experience indicates you will prosper in the course. If you can't I think you could probably spend your tuition money more wisely.

Text: There is no text for the course. Learning materials are provided gratis via Blackboard and/or CD, which in aggregate are equivalent to a text. This is part a response to the cost of textbooks these days, and in part because of a customized approach for the course. The learning materials include abundant text, graphics, voice lecture snippets, simple animations, practice questions, and links for your further exploraiton. They are designed to meet the needs of several different learning styles. You will need PowerPoint to view the materials.

Method of delivery for distance education version: course information, lectures, quizzes, discussion questions, animations, and grades are delivered via your student Blackboard account. The disucssion board is used for discussion purposes. In addition, email possibilities are built into Blackboard. Because many of the files are large (20-30Mb) they can take a long time to download. You can also come into the office to pick up a CD with the learning material on it, or send us a self-addressed and stamped envelope of appropriate size we will send a CD to you.

If you have questions please contact me. I will be happy to address them.

View of Mount St. Helens 1980 eruption. Volcanic eruptions not only change local vegetation, topographic and sedimentation patterns, they release gases into the earth's atmosphere, and ash high into the atmosphere, and can contribute to atmosphere acidity. Large eruptions can change global climate for several years. Earth System Science looks at such connections.