2 Welcome to GLG101 Physical Geology

Read Me First

A water fall in a red rock canyon, falling into a pool of blue-green water
Figure 1. Mooney Falls, one of the Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. ‘Of note are tthe huge travertine stalactites hanging from the lip. They are just like the stalactites you find in caves, formed by the slow crystalization of travertine from millions of water droplets that dripped from the room of the overhanging cliff’ – Lon Abbott, Hiking the Grand Canyon’s Geology

Welcome to GLG 101IN Physical Geology

The Earth is an active planet shaped by dynamic forces. Such forces can build mountains and crumple and fold rocks. As rocks respond to these forces, they undergo deformation, which results in changes in shape and/or volume of the rocks. The resulting features are termed geologic structures. This deformation can produce dramatic and beautiful scenery, as evidenced in the figure of above, which shows the deformation of originally horizontal rock layers.

Welcome to GLG 101IN Physical Geology

This online course has been designed to offer students an opportunity to learn about the basic principles and concepts of geology without needing to go to a PCC campus, classroom, or testing center. It is our hope that you will find this course challenging, stimulating, and relevant to your daily lives. This page will introduce you to the course. Be sure to also read all of the Syllabus pages that follow and browse the first module (Module 1) right away, so that you can get an idea of how the course works.

How the course is organized

This course is divided into 16 modules. Each module generally consists of the following elements.

  • Lessons: The content of this course is presented in the form of interactive online lessons with learning outcomes. YouTube videos and links to recent news stories are provided throughout in order to enhance your understanding, help you to properly pronounce many of the biological terms, and create a sense of relevancy. There is no textbook required for this course, and thus no assigned readings from a book.
  • Assignments: These get you actively involved with biology, applying what you have learned in the lessons, often in a hands-on way. Family participation in these activities is highly encouraged! Many are almost identical to the “wet labs” that you would have completed in a face-to-face class, but are instead done in your home using common household items and groceries that you can obtain from a store for a small cost. Others are online activities.
  • Class participation: Most discussions in this course are based on current events in geology. They are asynchronous which means that you contribute at the times of your choice and return later to see what others have contributed. The topics in which you can choose to participate are very flexible. You are free to reply to one or more of the posted threads within the discussion topic and/or come up with one of your own threads, based on something in the news that really catches your attention.
  • Module Quizzes: The quizzes assess your understanding of the material presented in the lessons and assignments. They are taken online and are not proctored.
  • Exams: These exams have questions that are very similar to the ones on the module quizzes. They are also taken online.

Course navigation

You will use the dropdown menus and links located at the top of your screen to access the various D2L tools, such as Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and Grades.

  • Content – Click on the Content link to access the Syllabus pages and module content. Here you will find the links to all of the course instructions and lessons.
  • Assessments – Click on the Assessments dropdown menu to access the Assignments, Grades, and Quizzes areas.
  • Course Resources – Click on the Course Resources dropdown menu to access the Calendar, Checklist, and User Progress tools. The Calendar provides another way to track important dates. Note that the Course Schedule in the Syllabus contains the same information. The Checklist and User Progress tools can also help to keep you on track.
  • Help – Click on the Help dropdown menu to access PCC D2L Student Support, PCC Tech Support, and the PCC Library.

A plan for success

Orientation to Online Learning: If you are new to online learning, or have struggled in the past with online classes, it is recommended that you complete the College’s “Orientation to Online Learning” course. You can access it by logging into MyPima and searching for it under the “My Courses” tab. It takes about 1-2 hours to complete.

Taking a class online is different than completing it face-to-face in a more traditional setting. The fully online version of this course is not for everyone, so carefully read and examine what will be required for this class and decide if it is right for you. This modality of learning is likely a great fit for you, but some students are better suited to learn in a more traditional classroom setting. Please consider your learning preferences and style to determine if this is the right course modality for your own success.

Plan ahead. Stay on track. Carefully review the assigned dates to make sure that you can meet all of the deadlines. It is suggested that you put them all in a detailed calendar. Stay up to date on your weekly lessons and complete them early in the week! They provide necessary background for the completion of assignment activities.

Complete all of the required work: It may sound obvious, but you cannot expect to do well in this class if you miss turning in assignments, taking quizzes or exams, or earning participation points by posting in discussion boards. Most students who complete all of the required work in the course have a very good chance at passing it with a decent grade. It is usually the student who has missed a lot of work who ends up having to withdraw or take a failing grade for the class. Make a commitment to yourself right now to not miss any points in the class as the result of not completing something because you missed the window of availability to turn it in.

Repetition: For most students, reading each of the lessons once is not enough. You need to go through them at least a few times, until true understanding has occurred, and again when you are preparing to take an assessment.

Assignments and Discussions: Be sure to read all of my replies to your discussion posts and feedback in your grade comments to make sure that you are on the right track. You absolutely cannot wait until the last day of a deadline to begin assignments and discussions! You must read through the directions at the beginning of the work week, so that you can plan ahead and secure the necessary materials. Some parts of assignments and discussions require early submissions of some of the work. Failure to plan ahead could end up costing you a lot of points in this course!

The Course Schedule, instructor emails, and news items: Pay constant attention to the Course Schedule, check for emails from your instructor often, and view all posted news items. You should never go more than a few days without checking in.

Stay in touch: And, most importantly, stay in touch. Let your instructor know if you have any questions, concerns, or need clarification.

Your questions and concerns

Please contact your instructor if you have any questions. You may do so either via email or in the “General course questions” discussion board.

  • General Questions: If your question is of a general nature such that other students would benefit from the answer, go to the Discussions area and post it as a question in the “General course questions” discussion thread.
  • Personal Questions: If your question is personal, (e.g. regarding my comments to you specifically), feel free to send me an email.

Getting started

Step 1

Make a realistic assessment of your ability to succeed in this course.

  • Time. The amount of time required for an online class is comparable to a traditional lecture and lab course. Generally, this is 6 hours per week in the classroom and another 12 hours per week at home reading, studying, and completing activities. If you are taking this class in the accelerated 8 week format, or during the summer as a 5 week course, note that you will need to spend significantly more time than that per week. The 8 week course moves at twice the pace of the 16 week course, and 5 week summer classes move at three times the pace.
  • Materials and space. In addition to many online activities, you will be required to do hands-on activities in your home using some items that you likely already have, and other materials that you will need to purchase at either a grocery store or pharmacy.

Step 2

Read the following especially carefully. You print a copy of each of the pages for reference for when you are away from your computer.

  • Welcome to GLG 101IN Physical Geology (this page)
  • All pages of the Syllabus

Step 3

After you have carefully read all of the Syllabus pages, find Module 1 in the Content area, click on the Module 1 Start Page, and get started. (Always begin a module by first accessing its start page and reading all of the directions.)

Good luck, and we hope that you enjoy the class! You are expected to begin work on this course starting on the first day of the semester session.


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Physical Geology by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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