GEO 203: Introduction to Meteorology, Online
Summer 2017: Second Session: Syllabus

Instructor, Section 731: Jovanka Nikolic (nikolicj@msu.edu)


Syllabus Outline

Course Overview:

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes (Objectives)

Goals

Learning outcomes (objectives)

Course Requirements

Course Netiquette

Course Organization

Your instructor, onGEO Staff, and course author

Lessons

Textbook

Quizzes

Weather journal

Course Policies

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

Academic honesty

Plagiarism

Spartan Code of Honor

Grading

Calculating your final grade
Extra credit

Summer 2017: First Session: Schedule

Course Overview:

Introduction to Meteorology is a natural science course, taught within the College of Social Science, from the perspective of faculty and staff of the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. The course explores the natural processes and phenomena that take place in the Earth’s atmosphere and how everyday changes in the atmosphere affect people and human societies, as well as the interactions between these two spheres. Furthermore, this course is designed to acquaint you with the fundamentals of meteorology, energy balance, adiabatic processes, cyclogenesis, and severe weather.

We feel that this course (and other geography courses as well) has significant, and increasing, relevance in today's world. We continually see in the news articles about climate change and related topics, and know that humans have caused or contributed to those changes. Therefore, an understanding of processes in the atmosphere will help students appreciate and better understand changes we can observe, as well as help them to adapt our further cultural and economic development with minimal impact on the natural environment.

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes (Objectives):

Goals

The purpose of this course is to:

  1. Introduce to students the basic principles and phenomenons in the atmosphere.
  2. Explore processes that shape daily weather conditions.
  3. Introduce to students how meteorologists create weather forecast.

Learning outcomes (objectives)

By successfully completing for this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand and describe characteristics and scales of different processes in the atmosphere.
  2. Comprehend basic physical laws behind atmospheric processes.
  3. Recognize how to read and examine weather charts and reports.
  4. Describe and discuss issues in atmospheric sciences and weather forecasting.

Course Requirements:

PLEASE NOTE:
(1) All course emails will be sent to your Michigan State (mail.msu.edu) accounts ONLY through the D2L system. You will need to check your Michigan State account at least once a day for emails from your Instructor and Online-Geography staff. If you need to, please set your Michigan State account to forward your emails to an account that you do check frequently.

Course Netiquette:

An entirely online course is quite different from the traditional courses you have taken at Michigan State University. In an online course, the only contact you are likely to have with your Instructor or with others in the class is through email, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, facebook, et cetera. In general, this system works very well and many students prefer it to a traditional (lecture) class because they can ask questions freely without feeling intimidated. We have also discovered, however, that this same feeling of freedom can be a negative thing, particularly because some students feel they can be rude. We ask that you make a special effort to be respectful in all of your correspondences during this course.

REMEMBER: THE ONLY BASIS YOUR INSTRUCTOR HAS FOR GRADING AND DISCUSSIONS IS THROUGH YOUR WORDS ON A COMPUTER SCREEN. Your Instructor has no other context in which to understand your thinking. Therefore, it is important to be concise, informative, and polite while ‘talking’ with your Instructor and other students in the class.

Course Organization:

While a team of faculty and staff manages the course, an Instructor teaches each section. Moreover, this course is delivered through a series of online lessons and textbook readings. Course assessments are accomplished through online quizzes and exams (based on online lessons and textbook readings) and weather journals (based on concepts covered in recent online lessons).

Your instructor, onGEO Staff, and course author

Jovanka Nikolic is the course instructor.  She is responsible for the day-to-day management and grading.  Ms. Nikolic will grade all assignments and assessments, respond to any content questions you may have, answer any questions about how to work through the course, and issue final grades. ALL email correspondence and other forms of communication needs to go to Ms. Nikolic.

Beth Weisenborn and Juliegh Bookout are staff members of Online Geography (onGEO) courses at State, so you may receive notices from them occasionally.

Dr. Sharon Zhong is the author and advisor of this course -- she created the course and is the professor responsible for the class in the context of the Geography Department at Michigan State. During this semester Dr. Zhong will NOT be involved in the day-to-day workings of the course.

Lessons

This course consists of 19 online lessons (or lectures), 9 quizzes, and 4 weather-journal entries.

Lesson

Topic

Text Readings

             Quiz

0

Getting Started & Course Introduction

--

--

1

Geography and Meteorology

 - Geography and meteorology

 - Course content and themes

Preface

--

2

Weather Map Basics

 - Time on weather charts

 - Weather observations

 - Data processing and weather charts

Appendix C

Quiz 1

3

The Atmosphere

 - The earth’s atmosphere

 - Layers in the atmosphere

 - Weather and climate

Chapter 1

Quiz 1

4

Energy, Temperature, and Atmospheric Heat Transfer

 - Temperature and heat

 - Heat transfer

 - Radiating heat

Chapter 2

Quiz 2

5

Seasonal and Daily Temperature Variation

 - Earth’s seasons

 - Seasonal temperature

 - Daily temperature

-  Applications of temperature data

Chapter 3

Quiz 2

6

Moisture in the Atmosphere

 - Water

 - Phase change

-  Water vapor and humidity

 - Daily and regional variations in relative humidity

Chapter 4
(pages 85 to 98)

Quiz 3

7

Dew, Frost, and Fog

 - Dew

 - Frost

 - Fog

Chapter 4
(pages 98 to 105)

Quiz 3

8

Atmospheric Stability

- Concepts of atmospheric stability

- Absolutely stable atmosphere

- Absolutely unstable atmosphere

- Conditionally unstable atmosphere

Chapter 5
(pages 124 to 130)

Quiz 4

9

Clouds and Cloud Development

- Clouds

- Atmospheric conditions for cloud formation

- Observing clouds

Chapter 4
(pages 105 to 119)
Chapter 5
(pages 130 to 135)

Quiz 4

10

Precipitation

- What is precipitation?

- Precipitation formation

- Types of precipitation

Chapter 5
(pages 134 to 152)

Quiz 5

11

Atmospheric Pressure and Forces in the Atmosphere

- Atmospheric pressure

- Forces Influencing wind

- Determining wind direction and speed

Chapter 6

Quiz 5

12

Local Winds

- Scales of atmospheric motions

- Microscale motions

- Mesoscale motions

Chapter 7
(pages 185 to 201)

Quiz 6

13

Global Circulation

- General circulation of the atmosphere

- Air circulation and pressure in the 'real world'

- Jet streams

- El Niño and La Niña

Chapter 7
(pages 201 to 219)

Quiz 6

14

Air Masses and Fronts

- Air masses

- Fronts

Chapter 8
(pages 223 to 244)

Quiz 7

15

Midlatitude Cyclones

- What is a Cyclone?

- How do cyclones and midlatitude cyclones form?

- Where do midlatitude cyclones form?

- Case study

Chapter 8
(pages 244 to 254)

Quiz 7

16

Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

 - Thunderstorms

 - Tornadoes

Chapter 10

Quiz 8

17

Hurricanes

- General information about tropical cyclones

- Stages of hurricane development

- Hurricane structure

- Measuring, categorizing, and forecasting hurricanes

- Hurricane threats

Chapter 11

Quiz 8

18

Weather Forecasting
- Weather forecasting steps
- Forecasting tools
- Numerical weather prediction
- Ensemble forecasts and spaghetti models

Chapter 9

Quiz 9

19

Earth's Climate and Climate Change 
- Past climates
- Causes of climate change
- Climate feedbacks
- Predicting climate change

Chapter 13
(pages 397 to 429)

Quiz 9

20

Course Wrap-up

--

--

Throughout the lessons, you will be asked to follow supplemental web links and answer associated questions.  The lesson will indicate whether links are required or optional. Required direction boxes will either say "At this time...", and provide you with instructions about further activities, or "A follow-up...", and provide you with further information about a concept introduced in the lesson material. You are required to complete the assignments in each of these direction boxes. Some quiz questions will be derived directly from websites that you are required to visit.

Features such as "A side note…" boxes or the "Above and Beyond" sections are optional. In such cases, exploration of these sites will increase your understanding of the subject matter and may help you with the quizzes.

In each online lesson, you may have the opportunity to test your knowledge with pop-ups or bullet questions. These questions are not graded and do not need to be handed in while you work through your lesson. You will, however, be able to look at the correct answers and discuss any further questions you may have with your Instructor. You may see some of these questions (or similar questions) again on an assessment

Textbook

The textbook is required for this course. Each assigned quiz will be based, in part, on your assigned textbook readings. The textbook provides complementary explanations for material covered in the online lessons.

Quizzes

You are required to complete assigned quizzes (each quiz covers two lessons). You have one chance to take the quiz. You will receive 0 points (out of 15 possible) for late responses. Make-ups will not be scheduled for quizzes.

Each quiz will be based on the online lesson and associated textbook readings. Each quiz is worth a possible 15 points total. Your score will be based on the completeness and correctness of your responses.

You are expected to treat the online quizzes as you would a quiz in a traditional lecture class - in other words, no cheating of any kind (including plagiarism). Quizzes are closed-book, closed-note, closed-lesson, and closed-review quiz -- you may not use/view previous versions of our quizzes while taking a quiz. Your Instructor and other administrators CAN and DO monitor your quiz logs -- they can detect patterns consistent with cheating and have the authority to discuss the matter with you immediately and give you a ZERO if they see fit. Once you have turned in your quiz, parts are automatically graded by the computer while other parts are manually graded by your Instructor. Your grades are then uploaded to your personal gradebook (Assessments tab) in the following days. Official grades, answers, and explanations for the quiz are provided on the course website about 3-4 days following the quiz close-date.

Quizzes will consist of mostly multiple-choice, true/false, and some short answer and essay/calculation questions. All quiz questions are selected at random from a pool of questions. All answer options for each question are also ordered at random. Please take note that your quiz is unique and completely unlike any other student's quiz. Attempting to cheat on these quiz is against University/course policy.

Weather journal

You are required to submit four Weather Journal entries (each assignment covers roughly three lessons). Your entries are be due at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on the date specified! You are strongly encouraged to submit your entries before the due date.

Each Weather Journal is loosely based on the lesson(s) you are working on. Each entry is worth a possible 15 points and will be graded based on how well you answer the question (for example, 15 points for a superior response, 11 points for an excellent response, 9 points for an adequate (but complete) response, 7 points for an incomplete response, and 3 points for an inappropriate response). As with any course, the grading process is subject to the rigor of the Instructor.

A note about entries: These assignments have been designed to provide you with the opportunity to reflect upon a topic discussed in class (as it relates to real-world events) on a more personal level. We do not want to read your unfounded and unsupported opinion about an event. You must support your ideas and opinions with credible, properly referenced sources. Claiming that a phenomenon occurs because of mother nature is NOT acceptable and your response will be graded accordingly.

Late entries: Late entries will not be accepted.

Course Policies:

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

From the D2L Help Page (2016):

MSU expects that you will respect the rights of faculty and other students as you participate in the educational process. Participating in an Desire2Learn course means that you may have access to personal information and academic work produced by other students and faculty members, such as discussion board postings, drafts of papers and other work produced in the course. Academic norms and MSU policy require that you must not reveal any information about classmates, coursework content, or its authors to anyone outside the course.

Students should be aware that their use of D2L materials and communication tools in a particular course may be observed and recorded by the instructor of that course. These observations and records may include a student's access to online library materials linked through the Desire2Learn course website. Use of these observations and records must conform to the use and release of confidential student records as described in Michigan State University's Access to Student Information. Students may link to library resources directly, without linking through D2L, using the Library website.

ALL of our course material in D2L is copyrighted property of Michigan State University. This means that ALL course material in the course site is protected and, other than one copy of the material for your own personal use, this material should not be distributed or posted in any form.

If material (lessons/assignments/exams/et cetera) from the course site is posted outside of D2L it is considered misuse of the material, therefore, the course staff can give you a 0 (even after the fact) for the assignment from which the material came.

Academic honesty

From Academic Integrity: MSU Policies, Regulations and Ordinances Regarding Academic Honesty and Integrity (Michigan State University's Office of the Ombudsperson, Faculty FAQ, 2016):

Article 2.III.B.2 of the SRR states: “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the Department of Geography, Environment, & Spatial Sciences adheres to the policies on academic honesty specified in General Student Regulation 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations.

Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, the following are considered academic misconduct: falsification/fabrication, cheating, and sharing work. Specific examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to

Students who violate MSU regulations on Protection of Scholarship and Grades and engage in any type of academic misconduct will receive a failing grade in the course or on the assessment(s).

Faculty are required to report all instances in which a penalty grade is given for academic dishonesty.  Students reported for academic dishonesty are required to take course on the integrity of scholarship and grades and a hold will be placed on the student's account until such time as the student completes the course.  This course is overseen by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a specific type of academic misconduct defined as the effort to fundamentally use someone else's ideas as your own. Studies show that plagiarism is common at most universities, especially in online classes since it is easy to copy directly from the course site (or other websites) and put those exact words, or most of the words, in an answer. When completing written work, including answering essay questions on quizzes/exams and writing assignments, it is essential that you provide references where needed (that is, you properly cite all information that did not come from you) and that your responses are phrased in your OWN, original words. Failure to properly cite course materials (lessons and the textbook, if applicable) and using your own work previously submitted in another course without permission,  are also unacceptable. If your Instructor suspects that part or all of an answer has been plagiarized in any way or form, you will be contacted immediately--plagiarized content is given 0 points.

According to Michigan State University's Office of the Ombudsperson (2016),

Plagiarism may be accidental or blatant or self-plagiarism.  However, students are held to the same standards whether or not they knew they were plagiarizing or whether or not they were plagiarizing themselves or someone else.

It is your responsibility to read and understand course policies (like those provided here) and educate yourself so that you know what actions are considered acts of plagiarism (and academic misconduct, in general). A short quiz about academic plagiarism is located in the Getting Started folder of the course.  We strongly encourage you to read the associated materials and take the quiz prior to beginning the course. Please be conscientious of academic integrity and do not hesitate to contact your Instructor if you have any questions.

Spartan Code of Honor

As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do. (honorcode.msu.edu)

Student conduct that is inconsistent with the academic pledge is addressed through existing policies, regulations, and ordinances governing academic honesty and integrity: MSU Policies, Regulations and Ordinances Regarding Academic Honesty and Integrity.

Any student who commits an act of academic misconduct (including academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, or falsification of academic records; click here to read the University policy), will be reported to the University via the Academic Dishonestly Report portal. The type of misconduct and penalty, as well as a detailed account of the violation are submitted and will be accessible to the student’s Associate Dean, designee, and Instructor-of-Record.


Grading:

Calculating your final grade

Your final grade will be based on 9 quiz and 3 weather-journal entry (of 4) scores.

Assessment

Points Possible

9 Quizzes (15 point each)

135

3 Weather-journal Entries (15 points each; 1 dropped)

45

Total points possible in the course =

180

Final grades will be based on the following STRAIGHT SCALE:

Percent

Grade

91 - 100

4.0

83 - 90

3.5

76 - 82

3.0

69 - 75

2.5

60 - 68

2.0

50 - 59

1.5

40 - 49

1.0

< 40

0.0

You can view your grades for your assessments by viewing your grades (Assessment tab).

Extra credit

Given the number of assessments and abbreviated length of the session, no extra credit work will be considered.


GEO 203: Introduction to Meteorology, Online                                Summer 2017: Second Session: Schedule

Important Dates

M, July 17: Last Day for Tuition Refund   |   Th, July 27: Middle of Session

Weather Journal Schedule (15 points each; you can drop 1)

Tu, July 18 -- Entry 1 for Lessons 4-5-6-7 due by 11:59 PM (ET)                Tu, August 8 -- Entry 3 for Lessons 12-13-14 due by 11:59 PM (ET)        

Th, July 27 -- Entry 2 for Lessons 8-9-10 due by 11:59 PM (ET)                Tu, August 15 -- Entry 4 for Lessons 15-16-17 due by 11:59 PM (ET)

                

Date

Lesson

Topic

Text Reading

7/5

0

Getting Started & Course Introduction

--

7/5

1

Geography and Meteorology

Preface

7/6

2

Weather Map Basics

Appendix C

7/7

3

The Atmosphere

Chapter 1

M, July 10: Quiz 1*                        (for Lessons 1, 2, and 3; 15 points)

7/10

4

Energy, Temperature, and Atmospheric Heat Transfer

Chapter 2

7/11

5

Seasonal and Daily Temperature Variation

Chapter 3

Tu, July 11: Entrance and Assessment Questionnaires due**
F, July 14: Quiz 2*                        (for Lessons 4 and 5; 15 points)        

7/14

6

Moisture in the Atmosphere

Chapter 4 (pages 85 to 98)

7/17

7

Dew, Frost, and Fog

Chapter 4 (pages 98 to 105)

7/18

8

Atmospheric Stability

Chapter 5 (pages 124 to 130)

7/19

9

Clouds and Cloud Development

Chapter 4 (pages 105 to 119);
Chapter 5 (pages 130 to 135)

F, July 21: Quiz 3 and Quiz 4*                (for Lessons 6 and 7; 15 points) (for Lessons 8 and 9; 15 points)        

7/21

10

Precipitation

Chapter 5 (pages 134 to 152)

7/24

11

Atmospheric Pressure and Forces in the Atmosphere

Chapter 6

F, July 28: Quiz 5*                        (for Lessons 10 and 11; 15 points)        

7/28

12

Local Winds

Chapter 7 (pages 185 to 201)

7/31

13

Global Circulation

Chapter 7 (pages 201 to 219)

8/1

14

Air Masses and Fronts

Chapter 8 (pages 223 to 244)

8/2

15

Midlatitude Cyclones

Chapter 8 (pages 244 to 254)

F, August 4: Quiz 6 and Quiz 7*                (for Lessons 12 and 13; 15 points) (for Lessons 14 and 15; 15 points)

8/4

16

Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

Chapter 10

8/7

17

Hurricanes

Chapter 11

F, August 11: Quiz 8*                        (for Lessons 16 and 17; 15 points)

8/11

18

Weather Forecasting

Chapter 9

8/14

19

Earth's Climate and Climate Change

Chapter 13 (pages 397 to 429)

8/15

20

Course Wrap-up

--

F, August 18: Quiz 9              DUE BY 3PM (ET)*        (for Lessons 18 and 19; 15 points)

*All  Quizzes are due by 11:59 PM, ET on the due date provided; except, Quiz 9, which is due by 3 PM.