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Spring Term
4 credits
Baccalaureate Core Course
(Perspectives Category: Physical Science)
No Prerequisites
Course website: http://dusk.geo.orst.edu/oceans

Lecture in Gilfillan Auditorium, MWF 1:00-1:50 p.m.
Labs in Wilkinson 210:
M 10:00-11:50 a.m., 2:00-3:50 p.m., and 4:00-5:50 p.m.
T 10:00-11:50 a.m., 12:00-1:50 p.m. and 4:00-5:50 p.m.
W 8:00-9:50 a.m. and 10:00-11:50 a.m.
R 10:00-11:50 a.m., 12:00-1:50 p.m.
F 11:00 a.m.-12:50 p.m. and 4:00-5:50 p.m.

Explore the Deep!

The oceans affect your life whether you live on the coast or hundreds of miles inland. Along Oregon's coast the livelihoods of most people are tied directly to industries related to the oceans, although many ocean-derived foods and products are used throughout the state. Even our weather results from interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans.

"Exploring the Deep..." presents the geography, geology, chemistry, physics, and biology of the oceans, thus integrating basic principles from each of these sciences into an understanding of the earth.

Please note that this is NOT a class about fishes or whales. Topics relating to fish, fish populations, and whales will be discussed, but the emphasis is on earth processes relating to the oceans. This means that considerable time will be spent on the processes in the ocean basins, the water column, and the atmosphere. This course provides a comprehensive survey of oceanography at a level appropriate for non-science students. In addition to providing an overview of the geography and processes in the oceans, the material focuses on ocean-related hazards and environmental problems, including earthquakes and tsunamis, marine pollution, coastal development and erosion. Laboratory exercises are designed to provide the students with hands-on experience in analyzing ocean data and problems, leading to a better understanding of the course material, and of scientific methods. This will also involve thinking critically about oceanographic data and issues (i.e., assessing evidence and claims, and making objective judgements on the basis of well-supported reasons and scientific evidence).

Lecture Topics Include...
  • Some historical perspective on ocean exploration and science and the evolution of major theories and ideas about how the oceans work.
  • Formation of the Earth, its oceans and ocean basins
  • Erosion and major earthquakes along the Oregon coast
  • Volcanic activity along a major volcanic chain just off the Oregon coast
  • Cause and effects of El Niño
  • Chemistry of sea water and of underwater hot springs
  • Climate change and global warming
  • Biology of the oceans, from one-celled organisms to sharks and giant squid
  • The interaction of science and society, particularly with regard to ocean conservation
  • ...and more

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, we expect that you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge about major geological, physical, chemical, and biological features and processes in the oceans.
  • Describe examples of major processes, such as seafloor spreading, El Nino, upwelling, tidal fluctations, where they occur in the oceans geographically and why they are important.
  • Interpret and use common representations of ocean features (maps, graphs, diagrams of the sea floor, the water column, the sea surface, etc.).
  • Evaluate significant ocean and coastal problems that impact public policy debates.
  • Identify and critically appraise the scientific content of relevant media discussions of oceanographic issues, particularly along the Oregon coast.
  • Develop a greater appreciation for ocean management, conservation, and protection, globally.
  • Understand the nature, value, and limitations of scientific methods at sea and on shore (this will be discussed in lecture and experienced firsthand in lab).
Required Materials/Activities
REQUIRED LAB MANUAL: Exploring the Deep: GEO/OC 103 Lab Manual
2011 by Michelle K. Hall et al., Cengage/Thomson Publishers, ISBN 113-306-659-3. Available from the OSU Bookstore.

REQUIRED FIELD TRIP to the Oregon Coast (Sat., May 21st)

OPTIONAL Textbook: Invitation to Oceanography
Fifth Edition, 2009 by Paul R. Pinet, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, ISBN 978-0-7637-5993-3.
Available from the OSU Bookstore and will be ON RESERVE for free in the library.
Instructors and TAs
Drs. Dawn Wright and Robert Duncan
Click here to meet them! (http://dusk.geo.orst.edu/oceans/profs.html)

TAs: Kelvin Raiford (3 sections), Brian Wilson (3 sections), Jenna Halsey (2 sections), Katie Woollven (2 sections) Kate Sherman (2 sections)

Email all TAs

Lecture Notes
Lecture notes, as prepared by the professors, will be downloadable from the course web site at dusk.geo.orst.edu/oceans/103syl.html. We have provided this option so that you will be able to download the notes before a lecture and use them while in class to help you keep up with and understand what is going on.
Class Attendance
Class attendance is MANDATORY! Even with the provision of lecture notes on the web, you are SELLING YOURSELF SHORT IF YOU SKIP CLASS, which gives you the opportunity to interact with the professors and the other students for increased understanding and ENJOYMENT of the material. There is also quite a bit of material that we cover in class that will NOT be covered in the optional book, or may NOT be posted on the web. Also, please note that Student Health Services has a policy of NOT providing medical documentation to explain absences from classes or poor performance on examinations.
Classroom Etiquette
Please do not hold conversations with classmates whenever the professor or another student is speaking. Also refrain from writing and passing notes or participating in other distractive behavior. Please do not get up and leave in the middle of or near the end of class! If you have an outside appointment with a doctor or campus official that necessitates this please let the professors know before class begins. Your undivided attention in class is a must. An atmosphere of mutual respect is in order. The professors will not tolerate disrespectful conduct. This is not only a class about oceanography, it is training for your life and work after college. Do you think that your future employer will be willing to overlook disrespectful behavior or reassign you to tasks that you find more congenial? We think not!

The goal of Oregon State University is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and wisdom they need to contribute to society. Our rules are formulated to guarantee each student's freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others. People must treat each other with dignity and respect in order for scholarship to thrive. Behaviors that are disruptive to teaching and learning will be referred to the Student Conduct Program for disciplinary action. Behaviors that create a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment based on gender, race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation will be referred to the Affirmative Action Office. For more information check out the University's mission and values statement, available at oregonstate.edu/mission.

Exams and Grading
Test 1 will be worth 15% of the grade, Test 2 15%, Laboratories and Field Trip 40%, and a Cumulative Final (focusing more on the second half of the term) 30%. NO MAKE-UP EXAMS WILL BE GIVEN, except in the case of: (1) serious illness or family emergency (you MUST provide us with a note from your doctor or relative); or (2) employment obligation (you MUST provide us with a note from your supervisor).

Regarding the final exam, the university carefully schedules exam periods for all departments and colleges on campus so that there should be NO CONFLICTS. In other words, you should not have to worry about another final exam being scheduled during the final exam for this course. This may happen only in the case of small-enrollment courses. If this situation does arise you MUST provide us with a note from the instructor of the conflicting course. These policies will be strictly enforced!!!! If you miss an exam because you overslept, were clueless about carefully reading this syllabus or the Schedule of Classes, etc., etc., you are out of luck!

Weighted Percentages are used as a guide for determining final GEO/OC grades at the end of the term (we do not assign letter grades before then!!):

Sample Weighted Percentage Calculation:
where M = Test 1 score, T = Test 2, L = cumulative lab score, including lowest score dropped from Labs 1-8, plus Field Trip Lab 9
F = final exam

Final Letter Grade Ranges for Total Weighted Percentages:

  • A = 95 -100
  • A- = 90-94
  • B+ = 85-89
  • B = 80-84
  • B- = 75-79
  • C+ = 70-74
  • C = 65-69
  • C- = 60-64
  • D = 55-59
  • F = 54 or below
Academic Dishonesty

Students are expected to be honest and ethical in their academic work. Academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in one of the following areas:

  • cheating - use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids
  • fabrication - falsification or invention of any information
  • assisting - helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty
  • tampering - altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents
  • plagiarism - representing the words or ideas of another person as one's own; turning in a paper identical to that of a classmate (even if you worked on the project together)
For more information about academic integrity and the University's policies and procedures in this area, please visit the Student Conduct web site at: oregonstate.edu/studentconduct/.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations (especially on the field trip), who have any emergency medical information the instructors should know of, or who need special arrangements in the event of evacuation, should make an appointment with either instructor as early as possible, no later than the first week of the term. For further information regarding accomodations for students with disabilities in this class, please see the SSD web site at: ssd.oregonstate.edu.

[ lectures | labs | field trip | surf | meet the profs ]

Last update: March 29, 2011
Dawn Wright & Bob Duncan © 1999-2011