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1.1: Course Information

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    The Course web site is the SmartSite for GEL109 and which is linked on the SmartSite. GEL109L has its own SmartSite.

    I am responsible for:

    1. Coming to lecture prepared to provide you with the opportunity to learn about sedimentology.
    2. Preparing instructive homework assignments and tests that will help you learn the most important material. My philosophy is to make it clear what I think is important and provide you with tools to learn the material. I provide old tests and detailed study guides so that you can thoroughly learn the material and demonstrate your knowledge of it on the various assignments.
    3. Grading your homework and tests in a fair and timely manner.

    You are responsible for:

    1. Coming prepared for lecture by reviewing your previous lecture notes and reading the text book. Reading the book is very important because it includes some information that I will cover only briefly in class, but I’ll expect you to know. For example, I will not discuss rock classification schemes in lecture because it is boring and the book explains the rock types well. However, I will use the terms sandstone, siltstone, shale, etc. because they are always used in geology, and you need to know them. In most cases, the material I cover in lecture and with the homework assignments are the concepts I think are most important, so the tests will focus on those.
    2. Asking questions when you have them in class, through e-mail, during office hours, when you see me in the hall, etc. Asking questions is VERY important for two reasons. First, it will help you and your fellow students learn, which is the entire reason you are in this class. Second, it helps me gage how well I'm communicating information to you. The more I know about how much you are understanding and what you are thinking about, the better I can prepare explanations that are both clear and interesting.


    Grades will be calculated using two formulas: 2 tests and 10 homework assignments with the midterm=40%, final=40%, and homework=30%; and 2 tests with the midterm=50% and final=50%. You will get the higher grade from the two formulas. I do not grade on a curve, so if you all thoroughly learn the material, you can all earn A’s. I have taught this class enough times that I know you can do so if you work hard and ask lots of good questions.


    My tests are hard, but fair. They are hard because they ask you to think about the material. I will give you detailed study guides which will contain all of the material that will be on the tests (plus some). The homework will include questions like those on the tests, and practice tests are available. The only people who have failed the tests are those that did not take advantage of the study tools.


    The homework assignments will be posted on SmartSite as pdf files. For some assignments, there are supplemental web materials. These materials are very useful, and you should plan to use them. Homework is due by 5 pm of the date listed.

    Study Resources

    Over the years, I’ve accumulated numerous study resources including images and videos. I have posted summary videos on YouTube since 2007, and those videos are used by people all over the world to help learn sedimentology and stratigraphy concepts. Since some of them are quite old, I’ll be remaking some this year. I made/make them for you, my students in GEL109, and they emphasize the key concepts from many of the lectures. My channel is sumnerd. Use the videos!

    For people not taking the lab:

    The students who are also taking the lab (GEL109L) are spending an additional 6 hours per week working on sedimentology, so they will be more familiar with the material than you are. You can still do well, and it is particularly important that you ask questions. Also, there are two field trips required for the lab. I strongly recommend coming on them. You can learn much more in the field than in lecture or even lab!

    This page titled 1.1: Course Information is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dawn Sumner.

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