Geography 1 Online syllabus


Course focus:

Geography 1 examines the Earth’s physical environment from the perspective of the major features of the Earth’s four environmental realms (geospheres): the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and the biosphere.  The interactions between the variables that constitute the geospheres ultimately produce the Earth’s complex physical environment. 


Learning Outcome

This course is intended to enable you to gain an understanding of the complexity and the interaction of the many variables that together produce the Earth’s environmental system.



McKnight Tom L. and Darrel Hess.  Physical Geography: a Landscape Appreciation.  8th ed.  Upper Saddle River , NJ : Prentice Hall, c2005.



Exams consist of multiple choice and/or true/false questions.  A missed exam may not be made up.   However, you may replace one missed exam with 80% of the highest score that you earn on any other course exam.  There will be no cumulative final exam.



Weekly Quizzes and/or Assignments

Most weeks, a quiz (m/c, T/F or short answer questions) OR a short written assignments will be given.  Quizzes and assignments may not be made up.  Both quizzes and exams are based on material covered in the lecture/discussion and the associated textbook chapter(s). 


Evaluation of your work

Please note that the cumulative points for the quizzes/assignments equal that for the 3 exams (i.e. the 3 exams less than 50% of the points that may be earned)


Course Grade

Your grade for the course will be based on the percentage of the cumulative points that you earn:

A = 85% or >

B = 75%-84%

C = 65%-74%

D = 55%-64%

F = 54% or <


Dropping my course:

I sincerely hope that you will remain in my course and have a positive learning experience.  Please be aware that not participating in this online class is not the same as dropping the class.  So, if you decide not be to be an active participant, please drop the course.  If you do not drop, your name will still appear on the grade collection form, and I am required to turn in a grade for you (an “F”).


Assigned Textbook Chapters and Lecture Topics

Ch. 1 Introduction to Earth

Ch. 2 Portraying Earth

Ch. 3 Introduction to the Atmosphere

Ch. 4 Insolation and Temperature

Ch. 5 Atmospheric Pressure and Wind

Exam #1 will follow lectures on chs. 1-5


Ch. 6 Atmospheric Moisture

Ch. 7 Transient Atmospheric Flows and Disturbances

Ch. 8 Climate Zones and Types

Ch. 9 Hydrosphere

Ch. 10 Cycles and Patterns in the Biosphere

Exam #2 will follow lectures on chs. 6-10


Ch. 13 Introduction to Landforms

Ch. 14 Internal Processes

Ch. 15 Preliminaries to Erosion: Weathering and Mass Wasting

Exam #3 will follow lectures on chs. 13-15


Chapter “teaching points” outline/summary and chapter – select one of the chapters below:

Ch. 16 Fluvial Processes

Ch. 18 Topography of Arid Lands

Ch. 19 Glacial Modification of Terrain

Ch. 20 Coastal Processes and Terrain


Please note:  Assigned chapters and lecture topics are subject to change/deletion with advance notice from me.  I do not like teaching against the clock, nor does the best learning take place under the pressure of time.