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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 30-May-24

Fall 2024 | ENV-1055-VO01 - Fundamentals of Earth Science

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 09-03-2024 to 12-16-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-16-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-04-2024 - Refund Policy
Open Seats: 6 (as of 07-19-24 8:05 PM)
To check live space availability, Search for Courses.


Laura DesJardins
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Jen Guarino

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Natural Science
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to systems and processes acting upon planet Earth in the solar system. Primary focus is on mechanisms of formation and distribution of minerals, rocks, continents and planets. The course includes basic principles of geology including geologic time and plate tectonics. Meteorology and climatology are emphasized in context of hydrological impacts on geomorphology. Human impact on geological processes will also be explored.

Essential Objectives

1. Use scientific method to understand the context of planet Earth within the universe, galaxy, and solar system.
2. Describe the structure and composition of the interior layers of the planet Earth.
3. Explain geologic time referencing the rock record, extinction events, and the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics.
4. Describe the atomic structure of the major rock-forming minerals and define their physical properties.
5. Identify the three types of rocks and explain their origins and relationships.
6. Define and describe Earth’s hydrological cycle including meteorological, atmospheric, and climatological considerations.
7. Explain the influences the hydrological cycle has on landscape formation (geomorphology) including groundwater movement, weathering patterns, and glacial and riverine sediment distribution.
8. Describe geological phenomena such as volcanism, earthquakes, mass wasting, and impact events in context of earth and solar system processes.
9. Examine the impact of human activities, including global warning, fossil fuel extraction, and land development, on geological processes and evaluate the sustainability of these practices.
10. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, applying, and evaluating the accuracy of data and information.
11. Explain how knowledge created in the natural sciences has contributed to the creation, maintenance and dismantling of social inequalities and discuss the impacts of diversity and inclusion on scientific research and practice.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course uses one or more textbooks/books/simulations, along with free Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials.

Fall 2024 textbook/book details will be available on 2024-05-20. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be specific to this class. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks/books.

ENV-1055-VO01 Link to Textbooks for this course in eCampus.

For Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials details, see the Canvas Site for this class.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.

Artificial Intelligence(AI) Policy Statement

CCV recognizes that artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI tools are widely available and becoming embedded in many online writing and creative applications.

Prohibited: The use of generative AI is not allowed in this course, with the exception of spellcheck, grammar check and similar tools. This course rests in the value of students engaging in the learning process without relying on AI-generated content. Students will develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills independently, owning their learning journey from start to finish. If you use these tools, your actions would be considered academically dishonest and a violation of CCV's Academic Integrity Policy.

All papers will be written entirely in Google Docs so that the full history of the body of work is viewable. Papers that are written in other programs and copy/pasted into Google Docs will not be accepted.


A Typical Week in this Class

Each week I will post a Weekly Overview that lays out the objectives, assignments, resources, and expectations for the week. I will also include any "upcoming important dates" to be aware of. Students should begin each week by reading the Weekly Overview. In general, each week you should expect to do the following:

  • Read 100-150 pages in one of the books.

  • Read articles, watch videos, or use interactive modules posted to the Weekly Overview.

  • Participate in the class discussion (please read discussion rubric carefully).

  • Optional - AttendZoom office hours by appointment.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Discussions 25%

Homework 25%

Quizzes 25%

Final Project 25%

Discussion Participation

Each week students are assessed on their participation in the discussion forum. These discussion forums are where you demonstrate your learning and represent 25% of the overall grade. Posts should be thoughtfully composed, reference the resources for the week, cite as needed, include a bibliography, and be carefully proofread. The first three weeks I will complete a rubric for each student and provide specific feedback regarding progress. After the third week I will only enter these grades (with minimal written feedback) in the Canvas gradebook. As with anything, please contact me if you have questions or concerns regarding your progress. Please see the Discussion Rubric to see how students will be assessed.


Every week there will be homework questions. These may reference any of the resources assigned for the week. These can be typed (into the Google Doc) or printed out and handwritten.


Every other week there will be a quiz over the last two modules. These quizzes are open resource and are housed either in Canvas or Google Forms.

Final Project

During the last week of the course students will have the option to either complete a final project or write a final paper. There will several project checkpoints (during non-quiz weeks) and the whole thing will be scaffolded well enough so that students can build ideas, get feedback, and try out the technology (if you are doing the project) before the final week. Students will have all of week 15 to fine tune the project.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Introduction to Earth Science


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion





Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



Rocks Rock!


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Final Project Step 1



Water In and On the Earth


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



Plate Tectonics


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Final Project Stage 2





Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



Volcanoes and Igneous Processes


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Final Project Step 3



Earth's Deep History


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



The Oceans and Coasts


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Final Project Step 4



The Atmosphere


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



Weather and Climate


Textbook and OER


Homework, Discussion, Final Project Stage 5



Global Climates Past and Present


Textbook and OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



Earth's Place in Space


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Final Project Step 6



Overflow Week/TBD


Textbook, OER


Homework, Discussion, Quiz



Final Project!




Final Project, Discussion


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Attendance Policy

Attendance will be recorded every Tuesday morning and will be based on participation during the prior week. Students will be marked present based on participation in one or more assignments that week.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Late quizzes and homework will not be accepted without prior, written permission from the instructor and only in extenuating circumstances. In the event that you are granted an extension on an assignment, know that this will only be done once for you during the term. If you find yourself experiencing life events that prevent your success in the course and requesting multiple extensions, I will refer you to your adviser to discuss your options for the term.

No late final projects/papers will be accepted.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.