Syllabus for:

Tools of Environmental Geoscience

GEOG 2010

Fall 2020

Department of

Physics, Astronomy, & Geosciences

College of Science and Mathematics

Valdosta State University



Contact Information



Departmental Office


Dr. Donald Thieme

Physics, Astronomy, & Geosciences

Office location:

Nevins Hall 2046

Nevins Hall 2006

Office phone:





Office hours:

W 10-12, R 1-3

Other times by appointment on MS-Teams

M-R 8:00-5:30

F 8:00-3:30




Course Logistics


None officially (enrolled as an Environmental Geosciences major unofficially).

Catalog description:

An introduction to research techniques for the incoming environmental geoscience majors. This course includes an overview of the discipline and the tools used in geoscience research. Topics may include laboratory safety, research methods, exploration of resources (library and Internet), methods of data collection, data analysis, and scientific reporting of results.

Learning outcome:

This course fulfills requirements for Area F of the Environmental Geosciences majors and partially fulfills each of the Selected Educational Outcomes for majors in the Environmental Geosciences.  These outcomes can be found in on-line version of the VSU Undergraduate Catalog.

Lecture time & location:

TR 9:30-10:45

NH 2020

Final Exam time:

Thursday 12/10/2020 at 8:00 a.m. in NH 2020

Required textbook:

Introduction to Geospatial Technologies 5th edition by B.A. Shellito

Published in 2020 by Macmillan Learning

Additional readings:

Additional readings may be posted in BlazeView.

BlazeView Access:

BlazeView will be used for document distribution, assignments, and grade management.  Make sure you have access to the class page; if not, let me know so I can add you to that section.

Other supplies:

A calculator with trigonometry functions.


I prefer communication through VSU e-mail using the address above.  Typically, I will respond within 24 hours but sometimes it may take longer during busy times of the term or over weekends.  When sending an e-mail, please use standard, written English.

Electronic devices:

Expectations for cell phone and computer use will determined by class consensus.


Your grade in this class will be determined by the following breakdown:

·        Assignments, projects, presentations, & homework are worth 90% of your grade;

·        Attendance & Participation are worth 10% of your grade;

Letter grades are based on the standard 10 point grading scale:

90àA, 80-89àB, 70-79àC, 60-69àD, 0-59àF

I do not curve individual assignments.

Grade posting:

All grades will be entered into the Gradebook of BlazeView.  I will also enter a mid-term grade in Banner before Mid-term Day.  I recommend you keep track of all graded material handed back to you.  If there is ever disagreement between the grade book and your grades you can use that returned work to resolve that discrepancy.

Extra credit:

There will be some small opportunities for extra credit.  These are typically based on participation in field trips, Departmental events, or events hosted by the Geoscience Student Society.  I’ll provide more details on these activities as information becomes available.



Course Objectives

By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

·        Create a plan for the upcoming semesters as a geoscience major;

·        Articulate why they are studying geosciences;

·        Differentiate between the disciplines of geology and geography and the various sub-disciplines of the geosciences;

·        Understand the scientific method;

·        Understand the structure of scholarly articles, particularly ones in the geosciences;

·        Find appropriate reference sources in Odum Library;

·        Read and synthesize that reference material;

·        Understand a variety of tools to practice the “trade” of Geosciences;

·        Utilize a variety of field tools to measure what’s in the environment;

·        Utilize a variety of techniques to create visualizations of those measurements;



Assignment Overview


There will be a variety of reading, writing, presentations, textbook “labs” and some field work during the semester related to basic researching and reporting tools used by geoscientists.  There will be many of these assignments and each will be weighted a little differently based on length and difficulty.  If you miss a class, you will likely miss something so be sure to check with me to make sure you do not get too far behind in your work.

Attendance & Participation:

Regular attendance is expected and you alone are responsible for attending class, obtaining all material covered in the class.  If you miss class, you will probably miss an assignment or submitting an assignment on-time.  This will impact your grade!

To get the most out of this class (and ultimately your time in this major), complete the readings before coming to class and be prepared to interact with me and your classmates in an educated and informed manner.  This is different than attendance; if you’re simply present and do not participate, it will impact your grade!

Late Submissions:

Generally, I accept late work but there will be points taken off depending on how late you submit the assignment.  In most cases, I will not accept work if the assignment has been graded and returned to your classmates.


There are no exams scheduled for this class.  However, based on disposition and participation through the semester, I may determine an exam is necessary.


Tentative Course Schedule

Week of



Aug 17-21

Disciplines of Geography and Geology


Aug 24-28

Scientific Method


Aug 31 – Sep 4

Scientific Journals, Monographs, Books

3 – Library Project (begin)

Sep 7

LABOR DAY – No Class on Monday, September 7th

Sep 9

Government Documents, Maps

3 – Library Project (due)

Sep 14-18

Digital Databases


Sep 21-25

Practice in the






for the Geosciences

A variety of


In-class assignments,

Lab work,

Textbook assignments, &


Sep 28 – Oct 2

Oct 5-9

Oct 12-16

Oct 19-23

Oct 26-30

Nov 2-6

Nov 9-13

Nov 16-20

Nov 23

Wrap up


Dec 10

Final Exam at 8:00 AM in NH 2020



Other important  dates to know:

Aug 20

Last day for Drop/Add

Sep 7

Labor Day holiday—no classes

Oct 8

Mid-term day

Oct 15

Last day to withdraw without penalty

Nov 24

Last day of classes

Nov 25-27

Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec 10

Final exam day for this class (@ 8:00 AM)

Dec 12

Graduation ceremonies


University Policies

Face Coverings:

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.


The VSU absence policy states: “…a student who misses or does not participate in more than 20% of the scheduled course or course activities could be subject to receiving a failing grade in the course.”  For this course, that means six lectures, three labs, or some combination of nine or more missed days.  More information about the importance of class attendance can be found in the current, on-line, undergraduate catalog.



You can officially withdraw from the class by completing the appropriate form on Banner.  If done before the last day to withdraw without penalty (see the section of Other Important Dates to Know), there is no impact on your grade.  You must complete this process, NOT the professor.  If you stop attending class after that date without officially withdrawing you will likely receive a failing grade.

Scholastic dishonesty:

Cheating is not tolerated.  If you are caught then you will receive a zero on that test or assignment.  If you are caught a second time you will receive an “F” in the class.  With each incident, I will submit a Report of Academic Dishonesty to the Dean of Students.

Disruptive behavior


Actions that disrupt the concentration of your classmates or distract me are not tolerated.  This includes talking, laughing, shuffling papers, and using your cell phones, laptops, etc.  If your actions are disruptive I will ask you to stop.  If the disruption continues I will ask you to leave.  If you refuse, the University Police will remove you.

Special services:


Students requesting classroom accommodations or modifications due to a documented disability must contact the Access Office for Students with Disabilities located in the Farbar Hall. The phone numbers are 245-2498 (V/VP) and 219-1348 (TTY).

Students’ Opinion of Instruction:

Near the end of each term, students are expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI).  Information about accessing and submitting these forms can be found by following this link: SOI instructions.

Title IX Statement:

Valdosta State University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex (including pregnancy status, sexual harassment and sexual violence), sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, or veteran status, in the University's programs and activities as required by applicable laws and regulations such as Title IX. The individual designated with responsibility for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning nondiscrimination policies is the University's Title IX Coordinator: Maggie Viverette, Director of the Office of Social Equity,, 1208 N. Patterson St., Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia 31608, 229-333-5463.

HB 280 (Campus Carry):

It is legal to carry concealed guns on campus IF you have a permit.  If you are carrying a concealed gun it is your responsibility to know the law.  VSU’s policy can be found through this link: campus carry policy