GEO 151: Human Geography, Online
Spring 2017: Semester: Syllabus

Instructor, Section 730: Peiling Zhou (zhoupeil@msu.edu)

Syllabus Outline

Course Overview

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes (Objectives)

Course goals

Course Requirements and Recommendation

Course requirements

Course recommendation

Course Netiquette

Course Organization

Your instructor, onGEO staff, and course authors

Lessons

Textbook

Review quizzes

Quizzes

Reflection assignments

Writing assignment

Course Policies

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

Academic honesty

Plagiarism

Spartan Code of Honor

Grading:

Calculating your final grade

Extra credit

Maximum points

Appendix quizzes

Spring 2017 Semester: Schedule


Course Overview:

Human Geography is the study of the spatial patterns and processes of human organizations, activities, and cultures. It also studies closely the impacts of humans on the natural environment as a result of these activities. For many of you, this is the first geography course you have taken. Therefore, this course will also focus on the study of geography as an academic discipline, and the many practical applications of a geographic perspective and geographic tools. You will learn more about how people have changed our earth, how our cultures evolved and changed over time (and from place to place), and how we have built our organizations and settlements (such as historical and modern-day cities). These, among all the other topics discussed in this class, are extremely relevant today in our increasingly globalized world. Current events are integrated into every lesson where applicable in order for you to see the applications of the course material in the real world.

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes (Objectives):

Course goals

The purpose of this course is to:

Learning outcomes (objectives)
By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Interpret maps and other visual representations of spatial and temporal data.
  2. Describe and give specific examples of how geographic tools and techniques contribute to understanding cultural landscapes.
  3. Define regions, provide characteristics of regions, and give examples of different categories of regions.
  4. Evaluate changes in a region’s population over time and space and be able to identify and discuss potential causes for that population change.
  5. Describe the formation of and spatial variation in different components of human culture and civilization (such as language, religion, and settlement patterns).
  6. Think critically about current and historical conflicts, and describe how geographic context contributes to the initiation and resolution of conflicts around the world.
  7. Recognize and interpret human changes to the natural environment.

One overarching goal of this course is to introduce you to and equip you with a well-rounded set of human geographic concepts. If you wish to explore the basic geographic concepts covered in this course in more detail and/or expand your knowledge of geography, we recommend taking Physical Geography (Geo206), World Regional Geography (Geo204), 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 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 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, lesson recaps, and reflection essays (based on online lessons and textbook readings).

Your instructor, onGEO staff, and course authors

Ms. Peiling Zhou is the course instructor. She is responsible for the day-to-day management and grading. Ms Zhou 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 Ms. Zhou.

 Juliegh Bookout is the coordinator for this course, and both Juliegh and Beth Weisenborn are staff members of Online Geography (onGEO), part of the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at MSU;  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. Richard Groop, Dr. Gary Schnakenberg, Adrienne Goldsberry, Beth Weisenborn, Yankuic Galvan-Miyoshi, Albert Fulton, Dr. David Baylis, and Juliegh Bookout.

Lessons

This course consists of 15 online lessons.

Topic

Text Chapters

Getting Started & Course Introduction

--

Introduction to Geographic Concepts

Chapter 1. Introduction

The Power of Place

--

Early Civilizations

Chapter 2. Roots and Meaning of Culture

Human Populations

Chapter 4. Population

Human Migrations

Chapter 3. Spatial Interaction and Spatial Behavior

Economic Activities

Chapter 8. Economic Geography

Agriculture

Chapter 8. Economic Geography

Settlement and Urbanization

Chapter 11. Urban Systems and Urban Structures

Language

Chapter 5. Language and Religion

Religion

Chapter 5. Language and Religion

Human Conflict 1

--

Human Conflict 2

--

Human Activity and Environmental Change

Chapter 13. Human Impacts on the Environment

Reflections and Wrap-up

--

Appendix. Geographic Primers
A - The Geographic Perspective
B - Location: Where and How We Get There
C - Geography’s Tools and Techniques
D - Population
E - Physical Environments

--

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 (self-assessment) quizzes 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 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.

Review quizzes

Each graded quiz has an associated review quiz for you to use to prepare. It will be available for you to take as many times as you need. The purpose of the review quiz is to help you assess (for yourself) what you have learned, to get accustomed to quiz questions, and to get used to taking online quizzes in D2L. Review quizzes are not graded, however, completing review quizzes can (and will) only help you on the graded quiz and will demonstrate to your Instructor that you are interested in learning the course material.

Quizzes

There will be a total of 14 quizzes during the semester, delivered via the D2L course site. We have structured the quiz schedule as evenly as possible over the semester to ease your workload. The purpose of these quizzes is to test your understanding of the material from the course lessons--this way you can demonstrate your grasp of the material from these units while it is still fresh.

The dates of the quizzes are listed on the course Schedule. You will be notified of a quiz opening in the Calendar area of the Course homepage. This notification will provide you with information concerning the quiz dates and access times. 

Each quiz will be offered over a period of about one week, at the times (Eastern Time) and dates specified on the Course Schedule (last page of the syllabus and in D2L). You may log into the quiz at any time during that window. Once logged into the quiz, you will have a set time limit to complete your quiz and turn it in. You must submit your quiz by the time your limit is reached; at that point the quiz will automatically submit for you.

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. With this said, the quizzes are open textbook and note. Your textbook and notes are the ONLY materials you should consult while taking your quizzes. 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 (including plagiarism) 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, the computer automatically grades the multiple-choice and T/F questions. Official grades, graded submissions, and feedback for the quiz are provided on the course website about 2-3 days following the quiz.

All quizzes except for the final quiz (Quiz 14) will consist of 15 questions (worth 1 point each).  All quiz questions are selected at random from a larger pool of questions, and test your understanding of concepts presented in the lesson and/or in the textbook.  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 the quizzes violates the University/course’s academic integrity policies and is a poor use of your time.

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.

Reflection assignments

You are required to submit five (3) Reflection Assignments via the D2L course site. Your response to each of the three assignments will be due at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on the corresponding due date, as specified on the schedule. You are strongly encouraged to submit your responses before the due date. All entry scores will count towards your final grade in this class.

Reflection entries are worth 15 points each. More detail on the topic for each entry, requirements for the content of each entry, and how they are graded is described in a separate assignment, posted under Content in the Reflection Assignment module on the course D2L site.  A grading rubric will also be provided for you.

Writing assignment

You will be required to submit a response to one writing assignment. Your assignment submission will be due at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the date specified on the Course Schedule.

As with any course, it is the responsibility of the instructor to uphold the standards suggested by the grading rubric. 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.

Although the writing assignment is based on topics covered in this course, you will be asked to conduct additional research in order to fulfill the requirements of the assignment. The assignment is worth a possible 25 points total. Your score will be based on the completeness of your response (for example, 25 points for a truly superior and insightful response, 15 points for an adequate response, 5 points for an incomplete response), as well as spelling, grammar, and clarity. All sources must be cited. Also, 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:

References and citations: These assignments have been designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge you have learned in the course on a more personal level, and even  gain a practical skill that can be used in other courses.  Bear in mind that we do not want to read your unfounded and unsupported opinion on a topic. You must follow direction and support your ideas and opinions with credible, properly referenced sources when appropriate.

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 or other students' responses) without being properly cited, you will be given a zero and we will submit an Academic Dishonesty Report to the Registrar’s Office, which can 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 assignments: If you do not submit an assignment by the due date, you have 24 hours (after the due date) to contact your Instructor to explain your situation AND submit your late response. Responses submitted within this 24-hour window will be worth only half credit. You will receive 0 points for all responses submitted after the 24-hour window.

Missing assignments: Once you have uploaded a submission to a dropbox, 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.  

Working with others: You may study with fellow students, tutors, and peers. You may not, however, work with others on your assignments or use others' assignments in this course--including those you have previously submitted for another course. You are expected to work on your assignments independently and create them in your own words. Assignments must reflect your understanding of the material. Cheating, in its many forms, will be penalized and may reported at the discretion of your Instructor, onGEO staff, your academic advisor, and/or the Ombudsman. Here is a document explaining acceptable assessment-taking behaviors for this course.

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, (insert name of unit offering course) 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, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit coursework you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course.  Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any course work in this course. Students who violate MSU regulations on Protection of Scholarship and Grades will receive a failing grade in the course or on the assignment.

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 an online course about the integrity of scholarship and grades.  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 your 14 quiz scores, Writing Assignment score, and 3 Reflection Assignment scores. Here is the breakdown:

Assessment

Points Possible

13 Lesson Quizzes (15 points each)

1 Reflections & Wrap up Quiz (5 points)

200

1 Writing Assignment

25

3 Reflection Assignments
(15 points each)

45

Total points possible in the course =

270

Final grades will be based on the following STRAIGHT SCALE:

Percent

Grade

90 - 100

4.0

85 - 89

3.5

80 - 84

3.0

75 - 79

2.5

70 - 74

2.0

65 - 69

1.5

52 - 64

1.0

< 52

0.0

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

Extra credit

Appendix quizzes

Each of the five Appendices (listed at the end of the course material) contains primer discussions on fundamental geographic concepts and an associated quiz. Each Appendix quiz may be taken to earn extra credit points. Each quiz is worth 2 points of extra credit, so a maximum total of 10 extra-credit points can be earned by taking these quizzes. While 2 points may seem trivial, earning maximum extra credit will boost your grade--even a small number of points can make a big difference.  See the schedule below for due date and time.

GEO 151V: Human Geography, Online                        Spring 2017 Semester: Schedule

Important Dates
M, Jan 16: No Class   |   F, Feb 3: Last Day for Tuition Refund   |   W, Mar 1: Middle of Session   |   M, Mar 6 to F, Mar 10: Spring Break

Reflection Assignment Schedule

Th, January 26                RA 1 due by 11:59 PM (ET)          (15 points)

Th, February 23                RA 2 due by 11:59 PM (ET)  (15 points)
        
Th, March 23                RA 3 due by 11:59 PM (ET)          (15 points)

Writing Assignment Schedule

Th, April 20                 WA 1 due by 11:59 PM (ET)  (25 points)

Date

Lesson

Topic

Text Chapter

January 9

0

Getting Started & Course Introduction

--

January 9

1

Introduction to Geographic Concepts

Chapter 1. Introduction, pages 1 - 32

Quiz 1:  due Tu, Jan 17*        Covers all material from Lesson 1; 15 points

Tu, January 17        Entrance Questionnaire Survey due @ 11:59 PM

January 17

2

The Power of Place

--

Quiz 2: due M, Jan 23*        Covers all material from Lesson 2; 15 points

January 23

3

Early Civilizations

Chapter 2. Culture, pages 33 - 59

Quiz 3: due M, Jan 30*        Covers all material from Lesson 3; 15 points

January 30

4

Human Populations

Chapter 4. Population, pages 93 - 114

Quiz 4: due M, Feb 6*        Covers all material from Lesson 4; 15 points

February 6

5

Human Migrations

Chapter 3. Spatial, pages 78 - 89

Quiz 5: due M, Feb 13*        Covers all material from Lesson 5; 15 points

February 13

6

Economic Activities

Chapter 8. Economic, pages 240-245, 265-279

Quiz 6: due M, Feb 20*        Covers all material from Lesson 6; 15 points

February 20

7

Agriculture

Chapters 8. Economic, pages 245 - 265

Quiz 7: due M, Feb 27*        Covers all material from Lesson 7; 15 points

February 27

8

Settlement and Urbanization

Chapter 11. Urban

Quiz 8: due M, Mar 13*         Covers all material from Lesson 8; 15 points

March 13

9

Language

Chapter 5. Language and Religion

Quiz 9: due M, Mar 20*        Covers all material from Lesson 9; 15 points

March 20

10

Religion

Chapter 5. Language and Religion

Quiz 10: due M, Mar 27*        Covers all material from Lesson 10; 15 points

March 27

11

Human Conflict 1

--

Quiz 11: due M, Apr 3*        Covers all material from Lesson 11; 15 points

April 3

12

Human Conflict 2

--

Quiz 12: due M, Apr 10*        Covers all material from Lesson 12; 15 points

April 10

--

Work on the Appendices: Geographic Primers

--

Extra Credit quizzes: due M, Apr 17*        (Optional, Covers Appendices, 10 points)

April 17

13

Human Activity and Environmental Change

Chapter 13. Human Impacts, pages 425 - 456

Quiz 13: due M, Apr 24*        Covers all material from Lesson 13; 15 points

April 24

14

Reflections and Wrap-up

--

Quiz 14: due M, May 1*        Covers all material from Lesson 14; 5 points

*All Quizzes begin at 12 noon (ET) on the Tuesday after the lesson is assigned are due approximately one week later by 11:59 PM (ET) on the date provided.