Centralia College

Welcome to Geology 101 (GEOL &101)

Syllabus for Introduction to Geology


                Course description and Course overview
                Required books and course materials
                Grading policy
                About exams
                Fieldtrip optional
                Student learning objective and outcomes
                Attendance and student success
                Inclement weather/campus closure
                My cell phone and computer use policy
                Miscellaneous information


Instructor:      Patrick Pringle                   E-mail:   Please communicate with me via the CANVAS web page communications. 

Office:            WSC 318–F;      360-623-8584

PLEASE NOTE: If you leave a message on my phone, please speak slowly and leave your name and number. Repeat your number twice. Please, do not call my office number unless you plan to leave a message if you don’t reach me!

Let me re-emphasize: PLEASE: do not call my office number and hang up without leaving a message!

Office Hours: see my class schedule

Lecture:         MTWTh 10:00–10:50 in WSC 101 in the very NW corner of the Natural Sciences Building

==> Labs:   Tuesdays sectionA4 7324: Tuesday 1–2:50; and section B4 7325: 3–4:50 in  WSC 105

CANVAS will host most class resources, although I may occasionally refer you to Centralia  College Earth Sciences and the class web page .   

CANVAS and all web pages will be updated throughout the course, so please check them regularly.

 Assignments, misc. resources, and occasionally pdfs of lectures will be available online via the CANVAS web page.


This class will further your understanding of, and ongoing curiosity about the Earth: what it’s made of, its landforms, and the dynamic processes that have created and repeatedly changed the landscape (and ocean basins) through time. We will be exposed to the breadth of geology and its connections with the other major sciences, including chemistry, physics, meteorology, astronomy, and biology. As a resident of Earth, we can experience, observe, read about, and/or use much of what will be covered in class, regardless of what career paths we might take. At this time, we are fortunate to be witnesses to revolutionary changes in our understanding of the Earth’s processes. These revolutions are going on in plate tectonics, Earth systems, Earth history, and more. We will cover these topics plus find out where we can access geologic information as life-long learners.

Detailed listing of course outcomes and general course schedule         (leaves this page)


Text: Plummer Physical Geology 14th edition or later The ISBN is 9780073369389; (If you are interested in Loose Leaf, that ISBN is: 9780077806545); Loose leaf books are cheaper and can be spiral bound at Kinkos or other locales for only a few dollars. We will provide the lab exercises.   Possible substitution: a great new open access Physical Geology book by Steve Earle.

Additionally, you may need a basic calculator and simple ruler.

Useful learning aids (optional):       

Dictionary of Geological Terms, American Geological Institute [can find at used bookstores or via web]

Used (and recent) physical geology textbooks (web, used bookstores, and friends)

Link to an online Physical Geography textbook by Michael Ritter

Link to the introductory Geoscience Virtual Textbook

Also check resources link on Earth Sciences at Centralia College homepage for useful links 

Annenberg “Earth Revealed” series online videos: see Student Resources link/videos from main Earth Science page

Do you still have more questions? Please see about_books_homework_notetaking_etc


GRADING POLICY  Your final grade for Geology 101 is based on the total number of points you accumulate from the following sources (values approximate):

LECTURE and FINAL EXAMS (probably 4 total)                            65%


    FIELD TRIP, and LAB WORK                                                  35%

Grade assessment: see grading scale to find out the point and letter grade equivalents for percentage scores on tests. The assessment will also include a student’s contributions to the learning environment in the classroom; likewise, disciplinary problems that interrupt or impede the progress of the class will also be evaluated as part of this component. If you need to talk with me about your grade, please do not do this before, during, or after class. Please make an appointment with me or visit during my office hours, which are posted on the door of my office and on the “class links” web page.

ABOUT EXAMS Tests will include material from lectures, readings, videos, and labs.  There will be no make-up tests except for in extreme cases.  You will need a physicians note, proof of sickness, and/or provide me with advance notice of a schedule conflict if such a situation arises.

Do your own work.  Suspected cheating, intellectual parasitism, plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Additionally, instances of such will be reported to the Centralia College administration for disciplinary action.

Grade assessment: see grading scale to find out the point and letter grade equivalents for percentage scores on tests. The assessment will also include a student’s contributions to the learning environment in the classroom; likewise, disciplinary problems that interrupt or impede the progress of the class will also be evaluated as part of this component.

Term assignment: There will likely be a Term Assignment required.  Information regarding the assignment will be provided in another handout.  Term Assignments must be turned in at the beginning of the class period on the due-date assigned for full credit. 


The college communicates with students only via their official Centralia College student email. Students are required to get their email address at http://www.centralia.edu/admin/services/it/studentemail.html 

Information for this course is posted on Canvas. Occasionally I may also refer you to other web pages where I store or link to resources. The Canvas page is a work in progress and will change as we go through the class. Look there for this syllabus, copies of selected class handouts, links, reading suggestions, assignments, and additional information.


Late assignments: For you own sake, hand in assignments on time. Assignments turned in late will lose credit points. Information regarding class assignments will be provided during the term and will be listed on the class web page.  Assignments must be turned in at the beginning of the class period on the due-date for full credit.

All multipage assignments must be stapled with the students name on each page; trim perforation “frizzies” off the edge of pages—unless I specify otherwise, it is acceptable to recycle paper that has previously been printed on one side. Simply draw an “x” across the previously printed page.

Handwritten assignments:  You will be expected to provide a review of each video shown in class or of the presentations of any guest speakers. I will provide a video review form on the web page. For video reviews and essays on quizzes, please write neatly, and use pencil or blue or black ink only.  Unreadable assignments will be returned for no credit. If possible, please type assignments. Please staple all assignments and write your name on each page.

Typed assignments: Please follow guidelines given for each typed assignment.  This generally includes 10 or 12 point font, preferably Times or Arial, margins 1 - 1.25 inches, black ink, white, unbleached or reused paper, with no report covers

Evaluation of written assignments and essay questions: I will use grading guidelines such as this rubric in order to evaluate the quality of any written assignments and essay questions. A great way to get a better grade is to look at the guidelines shown in the rubrics for assessing good writing and then make sure your written products “measure up”.

Tests and Quizzes:  I will provide computerized forms for some quizzes.  Bring a #2 pencil with good eraser; mechanical pencils with HB lead work well.  Be sure to thoroughly erase all mistakes and stray pencil marks during the quiz.  No corrections will be made for you, nor will any be made after quizzes are graded and returned. Those failing to show up for a test will not be allowed to take a makeup test except in case of medical emergency. You must notify me of medical appointments and situations or illness BEFORE THE TEST.


We have two lab modes: in the classroom and field trips. During the field trips and in the lab you will be given problems to solve. These lab assignments will be graded on a point basis. The point value of each lab will be indicated.

For field trips, you need to bring some footwear that does not have slick soles and rain gear or an umbrella. Your feet may get very wet from the wet grass, so you may want to have a change of shoes for after the trip. You should bring something to write on and write with on the trips.


The overall goals and learning outcomes of the exercises and content of this geology class follow Centralia Colleges general education learning themes (noted on http://www.centralia.edu/academics/assessment/themes.html ) and distribution outcomes (noted on http://www.centralia.edu/academics/assessment/outcomes.html ), particularly those for the Natural Sciences and quantitative skills.


I take attendance during the first week or so of class; if you don't show up the first day, you may be dropped to give your place to someone on the waiting list.  While attendance is not required, skipping classes won’t help you become a successful student. In fact, ALL class members benefit from fellow students’ consistent attendance and thoughtful questions and comments. Those who make a habit of skipping classes typically struggle to bring home the good grades. 

This is a demanding course with a lot of material covered in a short period of time.  Regular class attendance, taking good notes, and studying outside of class are essential to ensure adequate mastery of the material.  If, due to credit load, work schedule, family requirements or health reasons, you will be unable to attend regularly, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!  From time to time, pop quizzes will be given at the beginning of class, so please be on time—if you are absent for a pop quiz, you will miss the quiz.

I want you to do well in this class!  Forming a study group and quizzing one another on class material can be very helpful.  I will be available during my office hours if you have questions or concerns.  If, however, you should get into academic difficulty, know that it is your responsibility to keep track of drop dates and other deadlines.


If you are sick, please do not come to class, but let me know as soon as possible by CANVAS or telephone (360-736-9391 x550). If you miss a lecture because of sickness, please inform me immediately.  Plan to get notes or special instructions from one of your classmates if you can.  Do not rely exclusively on lecture outlines that may be posted on the web page because the cadence of each class differs. If you miss a test and do not have a medical excuse or do not inform me in advance, then you will not be allowed to take that test. Also, see about exams, above.


If Centralia College is closed or opening is delayed owing to bad weather, notification will be placed on the CC campus closure web site, voice mail message, and local radio stations.  I commute from Olympia, so if just our class is cancelled, I will leave a message on my office voice mail, hopefully by 8am.  Look for an announcement on our class web page in Canvas.

Please make all cell phone calls and do all text messaging outside the classroom. If you are dealing with a family or personal issue and must receive a cell phone call, please put the phone on vibrate and then quietly leave the classroom when you get the call—YOU MY RETURN TO CLASS THE NEXT DAY. Students using computers to take notes in class must sit in the back row of class unless that row is entirely occupied by other computer users. If you are discovered to be using the computer to play games, send messages, or other non-class you will first be asked to stop. The second time, you will be asked to leave. The third time I will arrange a meeting with the Dean of Instruction or Vice President of Student Affairs to discuss the issue.


Please be courteous and respectful to your classmates as well as your instructor and avoid activities disruptive to the learning environment. 

I have little tolerance for side conversations during lecture class!  Even if you whisper, even if you sit in the back, even during a video, talking bothers other people in class. 

Be punctual.  If you must arrive late or leave early, let me know in advance and sit near the door.   

Please turn your cell phone off! Making calls & text messaging during class time is rude and distracting and will count as negative class participation points.

Many people, including me, have chemical sensitivities, so please refrain from wearing excessive perfume, cologne, or hairspray. Also, please cough into your elbow or use a handkerchief if you sneeze. I suggest thoroughly washing your hands regularly to help to minimize your risk of getting sick.

Do your own work.  Suspected cheating, intellectual parasitism, plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Additionally, instances of such will be reported to the Centralia College administration for disciplinary action. Discussing topics and homework questions with others is fine; copying answers is self-defeating behavior. Do not feel pressured if someone asks to copy your homework or write up. The answer is a polite "no".

NOTE: If a student is disruptive to the learning environment, they will be given a verbal warning. Further disruptions of the class will be followed by a written warning, and the offending student or students will likely be asked to leave. Students who continue to be disruptive in class will referred to Vice President of Academic Affairs


Special Needs Statement

Students with disabilities may contact the Director, Center for Disability Services to determine their eligibility for reasonable accommodation.  The director's office is located with the Counseling Center in the Student Services Building.


Copyright Notice

Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code.


Equal Opportunity Statement

It is the policy of Centralia College to assure equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age (over 40), religion, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.


Centralia College does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. Designated Title II, VI, VII, IX, Section 504, ADA compliance officer: Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs, Hanson Hall Room 101, Centralia College, 600 Centralia College Blvd, Centralia WA 98531-4099, 360.736.9391, extension 285.


Extended Absence

Should a contagious illness, such as the H1N1 virus, necessitate an extended absence from class, please contact your instructor as soon as possible to make arrangements to complete, if possible, the coursework you miss.


Reviewed By:                                                    


Revised April 3, 2017