GEOGRAPHY 1110, Section B – Fall 2020

Our Hazardous Environment

Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences

Valdosta State University

Instructor: Dr. Donald Thieme           Class Meetings: 3:30-4:45 W NH 2075 and also Online using BlazeView (Hybrid modality).

Office: 2046 Nevins Hall                   Office Hours: W 10-12, R 1-3 or by appointment on MS-Teams.

Email:        Phone: 229-219-1345

Web Site: 

Hybrid Modality  This is a “Hybrid Modality" course with both “Face-to-Face” and Online Components. The Online Course will be in BlazeView. In addition to classroom seating for "Face-to-Face," there will be an option to attend class remotely using MS-TEAMS.


No Textbook!  An open-source online textbook (free) will be provided through BlazeVIEW.

Hazard City  All of you will receive an e-mail from the VSU Bookstore with instructions on how to access the online “Hazard City” modules from Pearson “Mastering Geology.” The purpose of Day 1 is to ensure that you have access to the digital course materials on or before the first day of class at a highly competitive rate. There is a link in our BlazeView course to a video with step-by-step instructions for accessing the Hazard City assignments.


Course Overview

Humans are part of the natural environment on planet Earth. Nonetheless, certain environmental events and processes threaten our health, our economic well-being, and even our very survival as a species on this planet. GEOG 1110 reviews the conditions and circumstances which resulted in a number of the best documented recent and historical disasters and catastrophes on our planet from a human perspective. Through examining specific case studies, we will learn many of the scientific principles and techniques by which geologists and other environmental scientists evaluate natural hazards and provide recommendations to policymakers. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, landslides, soil erosion, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires will all be included among the case studies presented. We will also discuss linkages between a number of these specific types of hazard as well as their potential effects upon safe disposal and storage of nuclear and toxic waste products of our modern industrial society. There are no prerequisites for this course, although some basic algebra is used to explain and predict specific hazards.


Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

- Identify and explain the processes which produce hazardous events in our environment here on Earth

- Identify specific historical examples of natural hazards as experienced by human society

- Explain how human population density and social organization affect the impact of natural hazards

As a "gateway" course for students contemplating a major in Environmental Geosciences , GEOG 1110 is part of a degree program designed to:

- develop your writing and speaking skills and challenge your competence in reading and listening to materials about the world around you (#4)

- gain knowledge of scientific and mathematical principles and apply that knowledge through homework assignments and other course activities (#5)

- develop your ability to analyze, evaluate, and make inferences from oral, written, and visual materials (#7)



Grade points will be awarded and tabulated in the BlazeView gradebook throughout the semester as follows :


12 Chapter Quizzes (30 points each, 1 drop)                         330 points

7 Hazard City assignments (30 points each, no drop)            210 points

5 Written Movie Reviews (30 points each, no drop)*           150 points

Hazard discussion participation (at least 20 posts)                 80 points

Class Participation/Worksheets*                                             30 points

Mid-Term Exam (Chapters 1-5)                                             100 points

Final Exam (Chapters 6-14)                                                   100 points

GRAND TOTAL                                                                 1000 points


*These are points which can be earned by attending our class meetings on Wednesdays at 3:30-4:45 PM in NH 2075. You are required to attend at least 12 of these class meetings under VSU attendance policies (missing no more than 20% of meetings).


A total of 1000 points are possible during the course of the semester. Final grades will be based upon the following scale:





















Notes on grading:

1. There will be 12 chapter quizzes (on BlazeVIEW). The lowest score will be dropped. ChQuiz-00 is an extra credit quiz (no deadline) worth 5 points extra credit. Chapter quizzes are open book/open BlazeVIEW and you can work on them with a friend.

2. The chapter quizzes will be multiple-choice and true-false with 15 questions each worth 2 points per question.

3. The chapter quizzes will be given on BlazeVIEW. Quizzes will be posted each Thursday at 1:00 AM and they will close at 11:50 PM. (The first deadline will be Thursday, August 27th at 11:50 PM, more on this later)

4. There are no make-ups for missed chapter quizzes. Make sure you take every quiz!

5. If you have problems with BlazeVIEW you should contact BlazeVIEW support immediately at 229-245-6490 or call the VSU help desk (229-333-help). If you miss a quiz you will receive a zero (0) for that quiz.

6. I suggest you avoid using the computers in the VSU library to complete any work on BlazeVIEW. In previous semesters my students have encountered many problems using the library computers. Students have reported very few problems with other VSU computer labs.

7. You are automatically enrolled in a tutorial course called VSU BlazeVIEW Student Tutorial. Access the course once you log into your BlazeVIEW account. You can also consult the VSU BlazeVIEW help page: (

8. If you decide to use your own computer to complete the weekly assignments please view the BlazeVIEW guide on proper computer set-up (

9. There are 5 documentary Movie reviews/worksheets worth 30 points each. Unless you attend a class meeting in which a documentary movie is shown with a worksheet, you must do the 5 review assignments online while watching a movie online.

10. The Hazard City assignments are worth 30 points each. Although I strongly recommend that you complete each assignment by the due date listed, these assignments do not actually close until the end of the semester. There is a small reduction in points (0.1 per day) for completing assignments after the due dates.

11. The Mid-Term Exam is worth 100 points. It covers Chapters 1-5 in the online textbook. The Mid-Term Exam will open in BlazeView on Tuesday, October 6th at 1:00 AM and will close at 11:50 PM.

12. The Final Exam is worth 100 points. It covers Chapters 6-14 in the online textbook. The Final Exam will open in BlazeView on Monday, December 7th at 1:00 AM and will close at 11:50 PM. There will also be a Make-Up meeting for taking the Final Exam in BlazeView during the scheduled time on Thursday, December 10th at 2:45-4:45 PM.

13. I do not allow “extra credit” unless I offer it to the entire class. (Please don’t ask!)

14. I reserve the right to “curve” grades as (or if) I deem appropriate.

15. The first day that any work will be due is Thursday, August 27th at 11:50 PM. This delay is intended to give students time to purchase access to Pearson “Mastering” and get familiar with the applications.


Class Meetings: Class will meet on Wednesdays at 3:30-4:45 PM in NH 2075. I will hand out a tentative list of Dates for specific Lecture Topics and Documentary Movie screenings. I will be taking attendance and there will also be worksheets completed at many of these meetings. You are required to attend at least 11 of these class meetings under VSU attendance policies (missing no more than 20% of meetings).


Chapter Quizzes: There will be 12 online chapter quizzes (delivered via BlazeVIEW). The chapter quizzes are open book/open BlazeVIEW and you can work on them with a friend. They allow one attempt only and will have a combination of multiple-choice and true-false questions. The quizzes will all be closing on Thursday at 11:50 PM. There are NO make-ups allowed for the chapter quizzes. If you wait until the last minute and you have any problems with BlazeVIEW you won’t have time to complete the quiz. Problems with BlazeVIEW are not considered a valid reason for a make-up. The chapter quizzes will consist of material from my lecture notes as well as the online textbook chapters


Movie Reviews/Worksheets: You will be required to view five (5) documentary movies about disasters and natural hazards. Each of these is worth 30 points and there is no “dropped” Review/Worksheet. Unless you attend a class meeting in which a documentary movie is shown with a worksheet, you must write a movie review following guidelines posted in BlazeView. Read the movie review guidelines that are posted in the “content” area of BlazeView. The deadlines for submitting movie reviews are all on Sundays at 11:50 PM. Late submissions will be docked 10 points.


Hazard City Assignments: You will be required to complete 7 online Hazard City assignments worth 30 points each. You should always access the assignments through the “widget” link at the bottom of the course BlazeView page. Although I strongly recommend that you complete each assignment by the due date listed, these assignments do not actually close until the end of the semester. There is a small reduction in points (0.1 per day) for completing assignments after the due dates.


Online Hazard Discussions: This class will use the “discussions” option under the “communication” pull-down to create ongoing class-wide discussions of current hazard events around the world. The purpose of this exercise is to show the class how common these events are and to show the class how to search and research these events using common web-based tools. Students will be graded on their participation in these discussions. A student must make at least 20 substantial and meaningful posts to earn full credit (100 points). A smiley face or similar post is not substantial or meaningful (at least in my view). A document outlining the discussion forum is posted in the content area on BlazeVIEW. Please keep all posts on-topic and friendly. You do not have to open a new thread for every single post.


Tentative Course Schedule



BV Reading

BV Quiz

Hazard City

Movie Review


Aug 17-21

Course Organization, Online Learning






Aug 24-28

Natural Hazard Concepts, Risk Assessment, Hazard Linkage

Ch 1





Aug 31 – Sep 4

Structure of the Earth, Plate Tectonics

Ch 2




Sept 7

Labor Day Holiday


 Sep 8-11


Ch 3





 Sep 14–18


Ch 3



Earthquake, due 9/20


Sep 21-25  


Ch 4




due 9/27


Sep 28-Oct 2


Ch 5




due 10/4


Oct 5-9

Review of Hazards from Tectonic Causes

Mid-Term Study Guide




October 6th

Mid-Term Exam available on BlazeView, 1 AM-11:50 PM


Oct 12–16


Ch 6





Oct 19–23

Mass Wasting

Ch 7





Oct 26–30

Groundwater, Karst

Chaps 7-8




Flood or Landslide,

due 11/1


Nov 2–6

Atmosphere and Weather

Chapter 10





Nov 16-20

Climate Change, Sea Level (Ch-13)






Nov 23

Coastal Hazards (Ch-14)





Dec 7

Final Exam available on BlazeView, 1 AM-11:50 PM

Dec 10

Make-Up Final Exam, 2:45-4:45 PM in NH 2075


Face Coverings Policy: Every student at Valdosta State University must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth at all times while in any campus building, including in this classroom. This requirement is intended to protect the health and safety of all VSU students, the instructor, and the entire university community. Anyone attending class without a face covering will be asked to put one on or leave. Students should also be sure they maintain a distance of at least six feet away from their fellow students and instructor and are seated in a seat that is designated to ensure that distance. This will include any laboratory or field trip activities required in this course. Students who refuse to wear face coverings appropriately or adhere to other stated requirements may face disciplinary action for Code of Conduct violations.


Student Opinion of Instruction:  At the end of the term, you will all be expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI) that will be provided through SmartEvals (, VSU’s platform for Student Opinions of Instructions (SOIs). You will receive an email notification through your VSU email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of the term). SOI responses are anonymous so your identity will not be visible to me or to administrators. I will only be able to view a summary of the responses after I have submitted your final grades. While I will not be able to view individual responses or to access any of the data until after final grade submission, I will be able to see whether you have or have not completed an SOI. Complete information about the SOIs, including how to access the survey and a timetable for this term is available at SOI Procedures and Timelines (located at


Accommodations:  Valdosta State University adheres to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in prohibiting discrimination against any qualified person with a disability.  Students with disabilities who are experiencing barriers in this course may contact the Access Office for assistance in determining and implementing reasonable accommodations. The Access Office is located in Farbar Hall. The phone numbers are 229-245-2498 (V), 229-375-5871 (VP) and 229-219-1348 (TTY). For more information, please visit VSU’s Access Office or email:

Academic Integrity: Valdosta State University also requires all students to adhere to an honor code. Cheating and/or plagiarism may result in a failing grade for a course and may result in dismissal from the University. The full VSU honor code is available at Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures).

Classroom demeanor or conduct: Please respect your classmates!  Refrain from any disruptive behavior during class.  Cell phones should be turned off while in class.

Communication: Course-related correspondence should be conducted via VSU email addresses. Mine is  

Sexual Harassment: Valdosta State University does not tolerate sexual harassment. For detailed information on what constitutes sexual harassment please refer to our official policy at:

HB 280 (“Campus Carry”):  It is now legal to bring concealed guns to our campus IF you have a permit. “Concealed guns” refer to firearms that are “carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and are not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed.” However, even license-holders may NOT carry a handgun into the following locations:

- buildings and property used for athletic sporting events

- student housing facilities including residence halls

- classrooms in which high school students are enrolled, whether through dual enrollment or programs such as Move On When Ready (MOWR

- faculty, staff and administrative offices

NoteIt will be the responsibility of those who choose to carry handguns on campus to know the law. Thus, among other things, license-holders need to visit the Registrar’s Office to determine if there are high school students enrolled in their classes. It is a misdemeanor to violate any of the regulations put forth in HB 280. Moreover, those found in violation of HB 280 will be reported to the Student Conduct Office and the VSU Police. If you have any questions concerning HB 280, contact the VSU Police (229-333-7861), the University Attorney (229-333-5351), or visit the website of the University System of Georgia at