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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 03-Jul-24

Fall 2024 | GEO-1010-VO01 - Introduction to Geography

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: 13 (as of 07-19-24 8:05 PM)
To check live space availability, Search for Courses.


Steve Farrow
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Philip Crossman

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Social Sciences
  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 introductory course examines the four traditions of geography: the earth science tradition, the culture-environment tradition, the locational tradition, and the area analysis tradition. Topics include landforms, weather and climate, the human impact on the environment, world cultures, populations, spatial interactions, political geography, economic geography, and urban geography.

Essential Objectives

1. Explain geomorphological processes involved in formation of the world's major physical features including oceans, mountain ranges, deserts, and rivers.
2. Describe the complex interrelationships that exist between these geographical phenomena, weather patterns, and biological communities.
3. Examine the influence of geographical features on the patterns and dynamics of human settlement and cultural adaptation.
4. Explore historical, social, and economic uses that human populations have made of natural resources and the impact these activities have had upon the natural landscape and overall well-being of the earth.
5. Examine the influence of culture, politics, and economics on human spatial interaction.
6. Use various types of maps (e.g., physical, political, thematic, socio-cultural) to illustrate and interpret important natural and human geographical features and the interaction of these over time and place.
7. Examine how geography has played a role in cultural and environmental diversity at the local, regional and global level.
8. Apply research and statistical analysis to interpretation of geographical information.

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.

Fall 2024 textbook 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.

GEO-1010-VO01 Link to Textbooks for this course in eCampus.

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.

Integrated: This course's generative AI policy acknowledges the use of AI is an essential skill in today's world. By using genAI for specific purposes, students become equipped with relevant skills and tools necessary to thrive in a technology-driven society. Emphasizing the mastery of generative AI should empower you to harness its potential, enhancing your problem-solving abilities and preparing you for future challenges and opportunities. Be aware, however, that any time generative AI is used at any point in the assignment without attribution it may be considered a violation of CCV's Academic Integrity Policy.


Additional Comments:

You may contact me anytime. Canvas messaging or ssf01290@ccv.vsc.edu .

The main goal in this course is to provide each student with a clearer view of the world we live in.

Please be sure you have access to reliable, hi-speed Internet every week of the course. Your computer systems should support Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, et al.).

Finally, access electronically or in print to a quality atlas of the world would be beneficial.

Please make sure you are ready for an online class by consulting with your adviser and taking this short assessment: http://ccv.edu/find/center-for-online-learning/ready-online-learning/Links to an external site.

·Post at least three times weekly in discussions — the first one before the end of the day Thursday to allow your classmates time to reply.

· Complete all online assignments.

· Read one textbook chapter per week and complete the text-based quizzes.

· Complete the midterm exam, classwork, and discussions.

· Complete the final project.

· Complete the final exam on the chapters, assignments, and posts since the midterm.

You will need the updated version of Microsoft Office (Power Point, Excel). Download for free in VSC IT support).

For the first few weeks there will be a variety of introductory activities. Try to spread-out the workload. Consider the textbook requirements, reading, quizzes, etc. For each lesson there are usually redundant sets of instructions. Regardless, if things do not seem to be clear please do not hesitate to ask questions of me early on and anytime during this course. Email or Canvas Messaging are usually best.


Please try to follow the calendar and recognize that there is meant to be a "flow" to the lessons. Complete lessons as indicated and in a timely manner. The quizzes and exams do require reading from the text and some prior classwork completion as well. I recognize we all have busy lives and schedules outside of this course, so even more of a reason to stay tuned-in. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Any work completed early in the week is always helpful as well. I reserve the right to edit the course description, syllabus, and calendar slightly as the course progresses should our class situation (or world events) warrant.

Discussions are the heart of our class meeting times. I am expecting timely and substantive posts to the discussion. I will ask that you post three times in each discussion — once before the end of the day on Thursday and then at least twice more—for three (or more) total. The first post should also be substantial — well-thought, well-written, and research based (the text, Internet sources, quotes, illustrations). There is a scoring rubric included below. All of your responses should demonstrate your own thinking and a high level of analysis. You are expected to go beyond simple replies such as, “Yes, I agree.” Just to be clear, all of the discussions are required. Your discussions with other students will benefit everyone. It creates a set of class meetings and discussions. If you find questions to be forced or insufficient, just like me, you can change the tone, tenor, or direction of the discourse. Post your own question or advance the discussion with a new thread. In each discussion, please remember to “post early and often!” The Discussion scoring rubric is included here:

Discussion grading rubric (1st posts always due Thursday evening):

98+ points - The original post was submitted early-on and two or more responses were completed within the week, allowing ample time for others to reply. You are the leader. This discussion is a response to the question(s) posed by the instructor or other students in each week's discussion prompt. It includes evidence that shows all readings / viewing are complete and that support those ideas. You may have included new questions or new threads. The use of extra resources from research is evident (quotes, illustrations, maps, charts--all cited). This is a superior post.

88+ points - The original post was submitted on time and at least two responses were completed within the week, allowing others sufficient time to reply. This discussion post responds to the questions posed by the instructor in the week's discussion prompt, and information from other students. It includes evidence that all readings / viewing are complete and utilizes outside resources. The post was very good.

80+ points - The original post was submitted, and responses were completed within the week, but later (insufficient response time was allowed). The contributions were more brief than what the topic prompted. This discussion post responds to the prompt and includes some evidence that all readings/viewing are complete, however, responses are little more than attempts to agree or disagree. The post may not have used outside resources. The post was sufficient only.

78 points - This is the maximum possible score if there is only one additional response after the original post in a discussion.

70+ points - The original post is late or has fewer than the required responses submitted within the week. There was not enough response time allowed. There was no focus on the readings, research, or other posts. There is an attempt to participate, but not enough attention to composition, thought, or analysis was given. No outside resources were utilized. The post was substandard.

68 points - This the maximum possible score if there are no additional responses after the original post in a discussion.

60+ points - Nominal participation, incomplete, late responses, and/or poorly written with little or no analysis. No outside resources were utilized. The post was poorly completed.

0-59 points - Irrelevant to the topic; poor work, little participation, no outside resources were used, and/or the post was not submitted.

I believe that assessments like the quizzes on textbook chapters can also be a very useful teaching tool. The quiz format in this course utilizes this premise. Assessments are valuable teaching tools and should be seen as such.

This is an entirely online course. Both the students and the instructor are responsible for securing access to the internet for the full semester. What this means is that computer issues, internet outages, and the like will not excuse you from any due dates. We should all expect to utilize problem solving skills, CCV computer labs, local libraries, etc.

Finally, I must add a word about completing the online quizzes, classwork, the project, and exams. It is expected that you will use all of your own resources including the textbook, your own notes and previous work, your own knowledge, and only those resources. You are expected to complete the quizzes, exams, and final project on your own (with assistance from the instructor and other college resources, i.e. tutorial services, college writing centers, et. al.).

Evaluation Criteria

Please remember the course runs Tuesday through Monday at 12:00 midnight. The week must be completed before the end of the day on Monday to be considered submitted on time. However, in order to receive full credit and allow time for your peers to comment in the Discussions, please make your original post by the end of the day on Thursday.

Further, this course requires your participation and contributions. For that reason your “presence” in the different Canvas discussions is paramount to your success in this course and for attendance. Expect the amount of work to be serious, but not overwhelming. You will be reading and writing every week and should really work to stay current (or perhaps even ahead) of the reading in order to be successful. All assignments are outlined below, so you should be able to plan around any significant busy times in your personal schedule.

Please complete the online quizzes, project, and exams on your own using only your own resources (textbook, notes, your own knowledge and information).

Finally, I will need to be firm with deadlines – for both your benefit and mine. However, since we are all adults with busy personal lives, in an emergency, an email before the work is due is more likely to result in a positive outcome for both of us. Make-up work will then be arranged and completed through the instructor. Late or incomplete work will be marked down or graded for completion only -- at the instructor's discretion.

Three absences will result in an unsatisfactory grade for this course.

I will try to visit my classroom every day. I will try to reply to emails, messages, and discussions within 48 hours of your writing. I will post grades at the week's end. I will grade discussions and other assignments after all students have submitted work or at the end of the school week. I will post those grades as soon as possible thereafter. Quizzes and exams are graded immediately upon completion.

Grade weighting:

· Posts to Discussions: 24%

· Assignments: 24%

· Textbook Quizzes: 22%

· Midterm: 10%

· Final Project Choice: 10%

· Final Exam: 10%

Grading Criteria:

A+ to A- (90% or higher): For work to receive an "A" it must clearly be excellent work. The student will demonstrate very good comprehension, insight, excellent thinking, and attention to detail. It will also demonstrate full understanding of the topics or issues addressed. In addition, an "A" grade reflects a student's ability to clearly and thoughtfully articulate his or her learning. An “A+” is exceptional or outstanding work.

B+ to B- (80-89%): For any work to receive a "B" it must be very good work. It must demonstrate comprehension, very good thinking, and detail. In addition, a "B" grade reflects a student's ability to clearly articulate his or her learning.

C+ to C- (70-79%): For any work to receive a "C," it must meet the expectations of the assignment. It must demonstrate comprehension, good thinking, and some details. In addition, a "C" grade reflects a student's ability to adequately articulate his or her learning.

D+ to D- (60-69%): For any work to receive a "D" it must meet the minimum expectations of the assignment. It demonstrates minimal comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "D" grade may reflect a student's difficulty in articulating his or her learning.

F (59% or lower): Work that receives an "F" grade does not meet the expectations or objectives of the assignment. It demonstrates consistent problems with comprehension, organization, critical thinking, and supporting details. In addition, an "F" grade reflects a student's inability to articulate his or her learning. There was little or no completion of assignments. Students are strongly urged to discuss this grade with their instructor and adviser.

P: Is equivalent to D (+/-) or better and therefore course will not count as credit for specific program requirements or competence area requirements.

NP: Indicates a failure to meet course objectives and/or failure to meet grading criteria for successful completion as described in the instructor's course description.

Late work is handled in each case. Please know that as a rule I do not accept late work beyond a week of the due date. If you have a personal emergency please contact me by email or message.

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


Sep 3-9. Contents & Preface—Introduction / Overview / Why Study Geography?

Read the Important Weekly News.

Getting to Know You.

Geography Pretest.

Syllabus and Course Description.

TedTalk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story.

Contents and Preface.

A Summary of the World or Why Study Geography…?



Sep 10-16. Chapter 1—Intro to Geography / Thinking Geographically / Regions.

Read Ch. 1 pp. 3-45.

Ch. 1 quiz.

The Map Men.How Many Continents Are There?(0:06:30)

PowerPoint: Five Themes in Geography.

Using the Population Reference Bureau Data Sheet Booklet.

Maps: Scale, Projection, Inset Maps, and Other Conventions, Thematic Mapping.



Sep 17-23. Chapter 2—Weather, Climate, Climate Change / Political Map of the World.

Read Ch. 2 pp. 46-101.

Ch. 2 quiz.

Vertical Climate Zones, p. 74.

Mt. Kilimanjaro, p. 81 and Climbing Kilimanjaro.

Climographs, pp. 80-90.

World Map Review: Continents and Countries.



Sep 24-30. Chapter 3—Landforms / Physical Map of the World.

Read Ch. 3 pp. 102-35.

Ch. 3 quiz.

Video — Megastructures: Palm Islands, Dubai (0:49:46) and Dubai’s Artificial Islands, p. 133.

Mount Saint Helens Landslide and Eruption.

World Map Review: Physical Features.



Oct 1-7. Chapter 4—Biosphere / Environmental Degradation.

Read Chapter 4 pp. 136-65.

Chapter 4 quiz.

Video — The Great Green Wall (0:05:58).

Desertification: The Sahel, p. 153.

Video from the BBC — The Aral Sea (0:05:46).



Oct 8-14. Chapter 5—Earth’s Resources & Environmental Protection.

Read Ch. 5 pp. 166-205.

Ch. 5 quiz.

Mt. Everest — World's Largest Trash Dump?(0:04:22)

Video from Ted Talk — The Surprising Truth of Open Defecation in India (0:15:00).

The Ecocide of Easter Island.



Oct 15-21. Midterm / Final Project Choices.

Midterm Exam — Chapters 1-5 and assignments from weeks 1-7.

Introduction to the Final Project topic choices.

Comparing World Populations.



Oct 22-28. Chapter 6—Population and Migration / Population Structures.

Read Ch. 6 pp. 206-50.

Ch. 6 quiz.

A preview lesson: Heartbeat: Zade, Ansam, and the Children of Syria.

Reference the map, Syrian Refugees, in Google Drive.

Video from PBS Frontline — Children of Syria (0:54:12).

Cartograms: World Population, pp. 212-3.

Population Pyramids, p. 218.



Oct 29-Nov 4. Chapter 7—Cultural Geography / Gender Issues.

Read a selection by Ellen Semple: Environmental Determinism.

Read Ch. 7 pp. 254-91.

Ch. 7 Quiz.

Video — The Maasai Warrior Cricket Team ( 0:10:09) and p. 254.

Read: Gender Ratio — Our World in Data.

Sex ratios map and write-up.



Nov. 5-11. Chapter 8—Languages and Religion.

Read Ch. 8 pp. 292-333.

Ch. 8 quiz.

World's Major Religions: The Sunni and Shia (0:04:39).

Geographic Patterns in Religion.



Nov 12-18. Chapter 11—A World of States / The Balkans Region / Ukraine / Africa / Essequibo.

Read Ch. 11 pp. 408-49.

Ch. 11 quiz.

Geopolitics of the Essequibo Region in South America.

NBC (article / video): Bosnian War Anniversary: Sarajevo’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Still Resonate.

Maps of Ukraine.

A World of States.



Nov 19-25. Chapter 9—Food & Agriculture / Food Production / Climate Change.

Read Ch. 9 pp. 334-67.

Ch. 9 quiz.

Map of U.S. Food Production.

Food Production and Undernourishment in Africa.

The World’s Aquatic Food Sources and Major Fisheries — graph and map on p. 356.



Nov 26-Dec 2. (Thanksgiving). Chapter 10—Cities and Urbanization.

Read Ch. 10 pp. 368-407.

Ch. 10 quiz.

World Urbanization, p.373.

The United States at Night, p. 407.

Closet Geography Survey.



Dec 3-9. Chapter 12—Economy and Development / Asia.

Read Ch. 12 pp. 450-97.

Ch. 12 quiz.

Closet Geography — Results.

“Are Your Clothes Wrecking the Planet?"

Asia Pie Graphs.



Dec 10-16. Final Project Choices / Final Exam.

Final Project due. Topic choices:

* Essay based on Beat the Drum(01:54:00).

* Dependency Ratios.

* Making Maps Using Google Drive.

* Semester Review Using PowerPoint.

Final Exam on chapters 6-12 and assignments from weeks 8-15.


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.

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.