GEO 204: World Regional Geography, Online
Summer 2017: Second Session: Syllabus

Instructor, Section 731: Jiang Chang (jc@msu.edu)

Syllabus Outline

Course Overview:

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes (Objectives)

Goals

Learning outcomes (objectives)

Course requirements

Course recommendation

Course Netiquette

Course Organization

Your Instructor, onGEO Staff, and course authors

Lessons

Textbook

Quizzes

Writing assignments

Course Policies

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

Academic honesty

Plagiarism

Spartan Code of Honor

Grading

Summer Session 2017: Schedule

Course Overview:

World Regional Geography is designed to make you more globally aware and provide you with a geographic skill set that will allow you to better understand the world and how global phenomena can affect you and your country. Because of the interconnectedness of the world's economic and cultural systems, we impact many people around the world, and their actions impact us. Therefore, geography and geographical principles  are important, even if you have no intention of traveling outside of your home country. This course introduces you to the basic physical and human geography of world realms in order to help you develop a geographic perspective. It is not just about the memorization of countries and their capital cities; it is about understanding what makes places what they are and how regions of the world interact in today’s global environment. Timely events are integrated into every lesson to make the course as relevant as possible.

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes (Objectives):

Goals

The purpose of this course is to:

  1. Broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of world realms and the cultural and physical landscapes of the regions within them,
  2. Cultivate an appreciation of the diversity of cultural and physical landscapes around the world and how those landscapes are interrelated, and
  3. Develop students’ geographic perspective and provide opportunities for them to apply it to current events and the world around them.

Learning outcomes (objectives)

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

  1. Describe and give specific examples of how geographic context affects the development and outcome of political, social, economic, and environmental events around the world.
  2. Synthesize and explain world events and cultures using a geographic perspective.
  3. Describe and give specific examples of how geographic tools and techniques contribute to understanding cultural and physical landscapes.
  4. Demonstrate an appreciation and respect for the diversity of cultures around the world.

A more general goal of this course, and any geography course really,  is to introduce you to some fundamental geographic concepts. If you wish to explore the basic geographic concepts covered in this course in more detail, we recommend taking Human Geography (Geo151), Physical Geography (Geo206), Introduction to Geographic Information (Geo221), or one of the regional geography courses [for example, United States and Canada (Geo330), Africa (Geo338), Europe (Geo336), Asia-Pacific (Geo227), Middle East (Geo339)], among many other courses offered by the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University.

Course Requirements and Recommendation:

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 recommendation

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 discussion 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 writing assignments (based on online lessons and textbook readings).

Your instructor, onGEO Staff, and course authors

Jiang Chang is your course Instructor. He is responsible for the day-to-day management and grading. Mr. Chang 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 need to go to Mr. Chang.

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

This course was written and edited by a team of GEO and onGEO faculty and staff, including Dr. Gary Schnakenberg, Juliegh Bookout, and Beth Weisenborn.

Lessons

This course consists of 13 online lessons (or lectures), plus optional primers (four) and the required course wrap-up materials. The associated textbook chapter is required reading and noted on the schedule.

Lesson

Topic

-

Getting Started


A
B
C

D

Geographic Primer
- The Geographic Perspective
- Location: Where and How We Get There
- Geography’s Tools and Techniques
- Population

1

Introduction to Physical Landscapes
- The Idea of a Physical Landscape
- Tectonics
- Climate
- Natural Resources

2

Introduction to Human Landscapes

- Environmental Determinism
- The Idea of a Human Landscape
- What is Culture?

3

Europe

- The European Union

- Crisis in the Eurozone

- The Freedom of Movement
- Population Decline in Europe

4

Russia

- Post-Communist Russia
- Russia’s Natural Resources

5

North America

- Income Inequality in the ‘Land of Opportunity’

- Healthcare in North America
- Agriculture in North America
- United States Regions

6

Middle America

- A Contextual Framework for Middle America
- United States-Middle America linkages
- Tourism in Middle America

7

South America

- The Rise of South America
- Coca Eradication in South America

8

Sub-saharan Africa

- Governance
- Food Security, Vulnerability, and Hope
- The Civil State of the Realm: Conflict, Crisis, and Refugees
- Natural-resource Extraction and Investment

9

North Africa & Southwest Asia

- Religious Diversity, Politics, and Conflict
- Civil Resistance in the Realm
- Hydropolitics and Water Use

10

South Asia

- South Asia in Conflict
- The Green Revolution
- Labor, Economy, and the Middle Class

11

East Asia

- China in a Global Economy

- The Contrast Between Urban and Rural Life

- East Asia’s Physical Landscapes: Hazards and Disasters

12

Southeast Asia

- Cambodia: Four Years that Changed History
- The Story of Myanmar… and Burma
- The Geography of Asian Maritime Piracy

13

Austral

- Resource Mining and Trade
- Immigration into Australia from Southeast Asia
- Rugby’s Power to Unite

14

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 a review quiz. These review quizzes are self-assessments and are not graded. You will, however, be able to see which questions you answered incorrectly so you can discuss any further questions you may have with your Instructor. You may see some of these questions (or similar questions) again on a graded quiz.

Textbook

The textbook (print or e-book) is required for this course. Each assessment will be based in part on your assigned textbook readings. The textbook provides complementary explanations for material covered in the online lessons.

Quizzes

There will be a total of 13 quizzes (one per lesson) during the semester, delivered via the D2L course site. The realm quizzes will include all components of the online lesson and text readings, such as images, captions, direction boxes, lesson questions, feature readings (in boxes), and Student Companion Site activities. The course is set up this way so that you can demonstrate your grasp of the material from these lessons while it is still fresh. The dates (and point values) of the quizzes are listed on the calendar. You will be notified of an upcoming quiz on the course calendar page and through emails and announcements. This notification will also provide you with detailed information concerning the quiz format, time limit, dates, and access times.

Note that the quizzes that cover world realms will consist of several question types, intended to test both your practical and theoretical knowledge of online lesson and textbook material.  In addition to multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions, you will also be asked to provide written responses to questions that ask you to tell what you know about a particular geographic concept or quality, describe an image you are shown, and discuss relevant news items as they relate to the assigned readings. There may be some exceptions to this format, so please pay attention to the emails you receive about quizzes.  

All quizzes will generally run the same way. Each quiz will become available when their associated lesson turns on for you. When you are ready to take the quiz, you will click on the quiz component to read the instructions and then begin the quiz. Each quiz will be offered around the clock UNTIL its specified close date and time; please be sure to refer to the course schedule page and calendar for details and to make a note of all deadlines and due dates. You may log into the quiz at any time during the window of time it is offered. Once logged into the quiz, you have a set time limit to complete your quiz and turn it in. Otherwise, your quiz will be saved by the computer at the time limit and no further changes will be recorded.

Quiz questions are selected at random from a pool of questions and all multiple choice answer options for each question are ordered at random as well. Please take note that your quiz is unique and completely unlike any other student's quiz. Attempting to cheat on the quizzes violates the University/course’s academic integrity policies AND is a total waste of time due to the uniqueness of each student’s quiz.

You are expected to treat the online quizzes as you would a quiz in a traditional lecture class – the quiz is yours to take, without help from anyone else. If you work together on quizzes we consider that cheating and appropriate action will be taken. Quizzes are open-note and open-text and you may consult both of these sources while taking the quiz. Be forewarned, however, that having an open-book quiz does not release you from studying! Quizzes are timed and if you are not prepared you will spend your time trying to find the answers. Also note that your Instructor and other administrators CAN and DO monitor your quiz logs before, during, and after you have taken the quiz - they can detect patterns consistent with cheating and have the authority to discuss the matter with you immediately.

When a quiz period ends, your instructor will begin grading.  Official grades, answers, and explanations for the quiz are provided on the course website in most cases within seven days following the close of a quiz. All quiz scores will count toward your final grade.

Makeup quizzes. Makeup quizzes are allowed only in a FEW cases. If the quiz is missed due to an emergency, you have one day to schedule your makeup quiz. If you do not contact your Instructor in this time frame, you will NOT be allowed to take a makeup and will receive 0 points for the quiz.

Writing assignments

You will be required to submit a response to two writing assignments over the course of the session/semester. Assignment submissions are due at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the dates specified on the Course Schedule.

The writing assignments are based on topics covered in this course, however, you will be asked to conduct additional research in order to fulfill the requirements of the assignments. The assignments are worth a maximum of 25 points each. Your score will be based on the completeness of your response as it fulfills the criteria specified by the assignment guide and grading rubric provided for you. All sources must be cited. Any form or degree of plagiarism will NOT be TOLERATED and will result in 0 points, no questions asked!

The following applies to all assignments in this course:

Grading. As with any course, it is the responsibility of the Instructor to uphold the standards suggested by the grading rubrics. While your grade is determined by assessing the quality of your assignment compared to the grading rubric, the grading process is subject to the rigor of the Instructor.

Sources and citations. These assignments have been designed to provide you with the opportunity to reflect upon a topic discussed in class on a more personal level. We do not want to read your unfounded and unsupported opinion about an issue. You must support your ideas and opinions with credible, properly referenced sources, with Chicago Manual of Style being the preferred format.

Plagiarism. We use Turnitin originality checker software to detect plagiarism in work submitted by students. If your response contains ANY reference material (including online lesson material, other students' responses, and even your own work submitted in another course) without being properly cited, you will be given a zero and we will submit an Academic Dishonesty Report to the Registrar’s Office, which could become a part of your permanent MSU academic record. You DO have access to the Turnitin report -- we recommend that you use this service to scan your work prior to submitting it for grades.

Late submissions. Work submitted within 1 day of the due date will be accepted, but graded for only half credit. Submissions will not be accepted after the 1-day-late window; these students will receive 0 points.

Missing submissions. Once you have uploaded a submission, you have the ability to exit the course and then return to the assignment dropbox to verify that your file has been submitted. Your activity is tracked in D2L and, once uploaded, files do not disappear. There is no excuse;  if you do not have a submission, you will not receive a grade.

Course Policies:

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

From the D2L Help Page (2017):

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 Desire2Learn 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 D2L 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 (2017),

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:

Your final grade will be based on your 13 quiz and 2 writing assignment scores. Here is the breakdown:

Assessment

Points Possible

13 Quizzes (worth 15 points each)

195

2 Writing Assignments (worth 25 points each)

50

Total points possible in the course =

245

Final grades will be based on the following STRAIGHT SCALE:

Percent

Grade

91 - 100

4.0

86 - 90

3.5

81 - 85

3.0

76 - 80

2.5

71 - 75

2.0

66 - 70

1.5

52 - 65

1.0

< 52

0.0

To view all your grades in this course, select Grades from the Assessments menu in D2L.

Extra credit

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

GEO 204: World Regional Geography, Online                Summer 2017: Second Session: Schedule

Important Dates

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

Date
Assigned

Lesson

Topic

Text Chapter

7/5

0

Getting Started

--

7/5

1

Introduction to Physical Landscapes

Introduction

Quiz 1 – due by M, July 10 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 1; 15 points)

7/11

2

Introduction to Human Landscapes

Introduction

7/11

3

Europe

Chapter 4

Friday, July 14: Entrance Questionnaire due**

Quiz 2 – due by M, July 17 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 2; 15 points)

Quiz 3 – due by M, July 17  at 11:59PM (ET)*                (all material from Lesson 3; 15 points)

7/18

4

Russia

Chapter 5

7/18

5

North America

Chapter 1

Quiz 4 – due by M, July 24 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 4; 15 points)

Quiz 5 – due by M,  July 24  at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 5; 15 points)

7/25

6

Middle America

Chapter 2

7/25

7

South America

Chapter 3

Writing Assignment 1 – due by W, July 26 at 11:59PM (ET)        (25 points)

Quiz 6 – due by M, July 31 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 6; 15 points)

Quiz 7 – due by M, July 31 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 7; 15 points)

8/1

8

Sub-Saharan Africa

Chapter 7

8/1

9

North Africa/Southwest Asia

Chapter 6

Quiz 8 – due by M, August 7  at 11:59PM (ET)*                (all material from Lesson 8; 15 points)

Quiz 9 – due by M,  August 7 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 9; 15 points)

8/8

10

South Asia

Chapter 8

8/8

11

East Asia

Chapter 9

Writing Assignment 2 – due by W, August 9 at 11:59PM (ET)        (25 points)

Quiz 10 – due by M, August 14 at 11:59PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 10; 15 points)

Quiz 11 – due by M, August 14 at 11:59PM (ET)*                  (all material from Lesson 11; 15 points)

8/14

12

Southeast Asia

Chapter 10

8/14

13

Austral

Chapter 11

8/14

--

Course Wrap-up

--

Quiz 12 – due by F, August 18 at 11:59PM (ET)*                  (all material from Lesson 12; 15 points)

Quiz 13 – due by F, August 18 at 6:00PM (ET)*                 (all material from Lesson 13; 15 points)

* Quizzes will open at 12 PM (ET) on the day the associated lesson is assigned and are due by the date/time specified.
**Submissions are due by 11:59 PM, ET on the due date provided.