Course Information for Spring 2009
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:20 AM to 11:10 AM
Room 110 Oceanography and Meteorology Building
Office & Telephone: 624 O&M, 845-2995
"Learning is not a spectator
requires you to be an active participant in class discussions. To
help you prepare for class, I will post
on the Class Schedule a
problem to be discussed in class. Before class you must:
- Read the pages assigned for
each class day.
- Write out a few paragraphs
describing the problem and an approach that will lead to its solution.
Bring two copies of the paper to class. Turn in one copy, keep
the other for notes. Or, you may email
the answer to me.
The answer ought to:
- Describe the problem.
- Break down the solution into a few manageable steps.
- Analyze what data or concepts are needed to solve the problem.
- State applicable theory. Analyze the assumptions used to
derive the theory and determine if theory applies to the problem.
- Contrast your approach to other possible approaches to solving
- If you email the assignment, the email must be sent before
the start of class, and you must put the answer in the body
of the email, not in an attachment.
- Be prepared to discuss the
problem in class.
- Your grade will depend on your participation.
- I will give you one point for each daily
problem turned in before class, or later in the day at my
- Your class participation grade will be
calculated by summing your points, dividing by the maximum
number of points, and multiplying by 15%. Thus if you turn
in all daily problems
you will earn the maximum grade for class participation.
- Some test questions will be based on the daily problems, so
take good notes when we discuss the issues in class.
I have not found an inexpensive textbook suitable for
the course. Fortunately, almost all the material needed for the course
is available through the web. I have summarized the material in
a web-based textbook, Our
Ocean Planet: Oceanography for the 21st Century, and I have put
additional links to useful material on the class schedule pages.
If you keep a good notebook of web readings and results of class discussions,
you will be well prepared for the tests and the final exam.
you are very concerned that there is no text, you will find much
useful material in the text required for OCNG-251 sold in the bookstores.
There will be no homework assignments. Instead, please hand in the daily problem assignment.
You will work in teams of four on a class project.
- The goal of the project is to research an interesting
scientific topic in depth and to share with the class what you learned.
- The topic should be about the ocean or process influencing
- The topic should be relatively narrow so that you
can go deeper into the subject that we could in class.
- Examples are: pollution
in Galveston Bay or offshore of Corpus Christi; effect of the
inter coastal waterway on the Texas coastal ecosystem; storm
damage to the Texas by hurricane Ike in 2008, etc.
- Please avoid
broad topics such as Texas coastal pollution. The topics are
to be related to the course content.
- Early in the semester, I
will help you select a project, and I will require regular updates
on the progress.
- On one of the last four days
of class your team will make a ten-minute presentation with overheads,
slides, or Power Point materials.
- The presentation will include:
- Overview of the topic and the controversy around the topic,
- Evidence for different sides of the controversy,
- Analysis of the evidence,
- Conclusion, what you have learned.
- Although you will work as a team, each team member must be able
to answer questions about the work.
- Paper: your presentation will be supported by a 5-10
- The paper will provide support for the material you present
to the class.
- It will include references that you consulted in writing the
- It will be written and signed by all members of the group.
- PLAGIARISM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
- Please consult the Texas A&M University
Department of Chemistry's
web page on plagiarism that defines what it is and gives
examples and the Texas A&M University Library's web
tutorial on plagiarism.
- So much material is available on the web you may be tempted
to use it without attribution in your class report.
- If you use material without attribution, you will receive
a grade of 0 for the report.
- SO, please provide references to all material
you use. Please use quotation marks around any material taken
directly from any source. If you get into the habit now of giving
credit where credit is due, you may save your future career.
Raytheon's board punished CEO William Swanson for plagiarism
by freezing his salary at its 2005 level of $1.1 million
and cutting his restricted stock grant by 20 percent
according to #24
of the Dumbest Moments in Business.
- Your project will be graded
- Originality: Does the material you presented go beyond what
we discussed in class?
- Evidence: Have you presented evidence to support your topic?
- Clarity of your argument: Is your conclusion logically based
on your evidence?
- Ability to answer questions about your presentation.
- Accuracy of the material you present.
- Quality of presentation. Did you do more than read from your
slide or notes.
Tests will assess your ability to think critically about
issues discussed in class. Many test questions will come from the
daily problems discussed in class.
- I will give two tests and
a optional final exam.
- The tests and final exam
will be open book.
- You may consult books, notes,
and homework during the tests or exam.
- Test questions will be based
on material discussed in class, and answers to daily problems.
- The optional final exam is cumulative,
covering material from the course, daily problems, and the class
- If you do very poorly on any
test question, you may redo the question to improve your score
for that question. Any question scored below 70% can be redone
to receive a 70% score, up to a total score of 70% for the test.
- Test 1: February 25, 2009
- Test 2: April 6, 2009
- Make-up test: 29 April 2009 for anyone who missed
an earlier test.
- Optional final Examination: 12 May 2009: 8:00
AM to 10:00 AM
- Each Test is 25%
- Final exam is 25%
- Class project presentation and paper is 10%
- Class participation, especially the daily problem, is 15%.
- The tests, final exam, class participation, and class project will
be will be worth 25% + 25% + 25% + 15% + 10% = 100% of your grade if
you take the final, or 4/3 (25% + 25% + 15% + 10%) = 100% if you elect
to skip the final.
A = 90 - 100
B = 80 - 89
C = 70 - 79
D = 60 - 69
F = < 59
If necessary, test grades will be curved. Additional curving
of grades at the semester's end will be at the discretion of the professor.
Texas A&M does not discriminate on the basis of
an individual's disability and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in its admissions,
accessibility, treatment, and employment practices. If you believe
you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the
Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities
in Room B118 of Cain Hall. The phone number is 845-1637.
20 January, 2009