University of Waterloo

Course outline template (Doc)

Term and year of offering: Fall 2009
Course number and title: GEOG 102, Geography and Our Planetary Environment
Lecture times, building and room number: M, W, F  8:30 to 9:50 a.m.; AL 124
Instructor’s name, office location, office hours, contact: Geoff McBoyle, [Building, Room number], Tues and Thurs  7:00 to 9:00 a.m., [email], [extension].

TA’s name, office, office hours, contact: Jane Doe, EV1 1001, M and W  3:00 to 4:00 p.m., jdoe@uwaterloo.ca .

Course description:

“Emphasis on the natural environment as an integrated system. Selected aspects of weather-climate, water, soils, biota, landforms along with flows of energy, water and matter and their effects on the subsystems of the natural environment.”

Course objectives:

At the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Explain the physical principles of the natural environment, namely the atmospheric, geomorphic, hydrologic and biogeographic processes;
  • Describe and explain spatial and temporal variations in the characteristics of the physical environment of the globe;
  • Discuss the impacts of the above processes on human activities;
  • Apply basic techniques to the analysis of the physical environment.

Required text:

Christopherson, R. & Byrne, M. L. (2009). Canadian Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography (2nd Canadian ed.). Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.

Topics to be covered in lectures:

Date   Lecture Topic Textbook Chapter
Sept 8 Introduction Chapter 1
Sept 10 Solar Radiation and Earth-Sun Relations Chapter 2
Sept 12 Atmospheric Processes - Energy Balance Chapters 4 and 5
Sept 15 Atmospheric Moisture – Lapse Rates; Stability Chapter 7
Sept 17 Atmospheric Moisture – Instability; Clouds Chapter 7
Sept 19 Weather Systems – Depressions; Anticyclones Chapter 8
Sept 22 Weather Systems – Hurricanes; Tornadoes Chapter 8
Sept 24 Climate Classifications Chapter 10
Sept 26 Science of Climate Change I  
Sept 29 Science of Climate Change II  
Oct 1 Climate Change in Canada  
Oct 3 Hydrological Cycle Chapter 9
Oct 6 Water Balance I Chapter 9
Oct 8 Water Balance II Chapter 9
Oct 10 Water Balance in SW USA  
Oct 13 Thanksgiving – No Lecture  
Oct 15 Mid-term Examination in Class Time  
Oct 17 Tectonics I Chapter 11
Oct 20 Tectonics II Chapter 11
Oct 22 Weathering Chapter 13
Oct 24 Mass Wasting and Slope Analysis Chapter 13
Oct 27 Fluvial Geomorphology I Chapters 9 and 14
Oct 29 Fluvial Geomorphology II Chapters 9 and 14
Oct 31 Aeolian Processes Chapter 15
Nov 3 Marine Processes Chapter 16
Nov 5 Glacial Processes - Erosion Chapter 17
Nov 7 Glacial Processes – Deposition I Chapter 17
Nov 10 Glacial Processes – Deposition II Chapter 17
Nov 12 Impact of Glacial Processes in Southern Ontario  
Nov 14 Soils I Chapter 18
Nov 17 Soils II Chapter 18
Nov 19 Soil Classification Chapter 18
Nov 21 Ecosystems Chapter 19
Nov 24 Biomes Chapter 20
Nov 26 Impact of Human Activities on Ecosystems in South America  
Nov 28 Integration of the Above Systems I Chapter 21
Dec 1 Integration of the Above Systems II Chapter 21

Evaluation:

The course grade will be based on a mid-term examination, five (5) lab assignments, and a final examination which will be held during the official examination schedule. The breakdown is as follows:

Lab assignments 40%
Mid-term examination 20%
Final examination 40%

Lab assignments:

There will be five (5) lab assignments each worth 10%. Your best four (4) will be used to calculate your lab mark out of 40%.

Rules for group work in lab assignments: Students can work in groups, but each student needs to submit his/her own version of the working and results.

Lab 1: Lapse rates and cloud formation. Assignment will be handed out at your lab section the week of Sept 15.

Lab 1 will be submitted for grading at the end of your lab during the week of Sept 23.

Lab 2: Weather forecasts. Assignment will be handed out at your lab section the week of Sept 29.

Lab 2 will be submitted for grading at the end of your lab during the week of Oct 6.

Lab 3: Water budget analysis. Assignment will be handed out at your lab section the week of Oct 13.

Lab 3 will be submitted for grading at the end of your lab during the week of Oct 20.

Lab 4: Drainage basin analysis. Assignment will be handed out at your lab section the week of Oct 27.

Lab 4 will be submitted for grading at the end of your lab during the week of Nov 3.

Lab 5: Mapping of glacial features. Assignment will be handed out at your lab section the week of Nov 10.

Lab 5 will be submitted for grading at the end of your lab during the week of Nov 13.

Lab deadline: Labs have to be handed in to the TA by the end of your lab section.

Late submissions: Late labs can be handed into the department office during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Make sure that the secretary signs for the lab and gives it a time and a date. Late labs will have 25% of the lab mark (10%) deducted for each day or part of a day that the lab is late.

Missed labs: Since the lab mark for the course is based on the best four (4) out of five (5) labs, students can miss or not hand in one lab for marking.

Pick up marked labs: Marked lab assignments will be available from your TA during your lab section. Labs that are not picked up from the TA will be available from the department office during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Academic integrity, grievance, discipline, appeals and note for students with disabilities:

[The following statements MUST be included in all course outlines and/or websites.]

Academic integrity: In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [Check the Office of Academic Integrity for more information.]

Grievance: A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4. When in doubt, please be certain to contact the department’s administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.

Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. [Check the Office of Academic Integrity for more information.] A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate associate dean. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline. For typical penalties, check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.

Appeals: A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances (other than a petition) or Policy 71, Student Discipline may be appealed if there is a ground. A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72, Student Appeals.

Note for students with disabilities: AccessAbility Services, located in Needles Hall, Room 1401, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with AccessAbility Services at the beginning of each academic term.

Turnitin.com: Text matching software (Turnitin®) may be used to screen assignments in this course. Turnitin® is used to verify that all materials and sources in assignments are documented. Students' submissions are stored on a U.S. server, therefore students must be given an alternative (e.g., scaffolded assignment or annotated bibliography), if they are concerned about their privacy and/or security. Students will be given due notice, in the first week of the term and/or at the time assignment details are provided, about arrangements and alternatives for the use of Turnitin in this course.

It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor if they, in the first week of term or at the time assignment details are provided, wish to submit the alternate assignment.

Geoff McBoyle
June 15, 2009 (updated March 2018)