Geography 05


Santa Monica College Spring 2015
Instructor: W. A. Selby  Section 2290
MW 9:30 -12:35 (including laboratory), HSS 251

General Goals and Requirements

  • Text: Geosystems, 8th ed, 2012. Author: Robert W. Christopherson.
    Note: See SMC bookstore bundle for this class: ISBN 1256311367
  • Lab Manual: Applied Physical Geography: Geosystems in the Laboratory, 8th ed., 2012. Authors: Christopherson and Thomsen (See bundle in SMC bookstore for this class: ISBN 1256311367.)
  • Map: Beverly Hills Quadrangle Topographic Map.
  • Approach: You have a special opportunity this semester to learn about our natural world and to apply this knowledge. We have much to learn, but little time. Every class activity will be geared toward the learning experience. Every laboratory activity will provide practical hands-on experience with concepts we study in the classroom and the text. See the schedule below for course content.
  • Lecture and Class Activities: Class lectures and activities will augment and clarify the more important concepts in the text, but these activities will also provide the student with important knowledge and skills far beyond the scope of the text. Attend every class and lab session. Ask questions. Participate!
  • Laboratory: We will use the scientific method in our laboratory. We will observe and ask questions. We will experiment, measure, record, and make some discoveries, and we will form hypotheses, theories, and conclusions as we work. Students are exposed to and learn to work with some of the tools and methods used by geographers in many industrial and academic environments. Lab experience will also help you understand the more complex topics and add to your knowledge and confidence in the classroom. Field work will be an important part of lab.
  • Contact Info/Office Hours: Feel free to ask me for help before or after class or by appointment. My office is in Drescher Hall (Tech) 314K. My extension is (310) 434-4743, Office Hours: MW 12:45-2pm, T 5-6:15pm.
    Web Page:
  • Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
    What can students do, think, or know as a result of their studies in this class?
    Students will have a better understanding of the cycles and systems that shape our natural world. Students will be able to recognize and identify the processes and forces that are changing our atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere and the powerful connections between these realms. Students will be able to use some of the geographic methods and tools used to measure these relationships and changes.
    What can students do, think, or know as a result of their studies within our more general geography program? Students will be able to identify spatial patterns and interrelationships between systems and cycles that affect life and shape landscapes. Students will demonstrate cartographic literacy, including map interpretation and, using spatial analysis skills, will be able to analyze, recognize and evaluate spatial distributions on all scales from local to global  to become better global citizens.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Make sure you are confident of what to do during an emergency in our classroom. Visit this site to make sure you are prepared for any emergency in our class or on campus:  

Grading Policy

  • Exams: You will take 13 quizzes and the final. Each quiz will account for about 30+ pts.) of your grade in the class section only. The quiz is designed as an instructional device so that you may demonstrate your knowledge of the concepts. Each quiz and your final will be scored objectively by points and will include many different questions, from multiple choice to essay. YOU MUST NEVER MISS A QUIZ, but I will drop your lowest score. Dates are on the class schedule which follows. Attendance and participation may also be evaluated. So, your final classroom grade will have more than 400 possible points and account for at least 75% of the total course grade.
  • Laboratory Grade: Your lab grade is based on the many exercises questions that are a part of our lab sessions. Some labs will be handed in, some graded in class, but all labs must be completed, since you will be quizzed on lab information and activities. Lab work will determine nearly 25% of your final course grade.
  • Extra Credit/Independent Research: You may benefit from extending your learning experience beyond the scope of this class. Choose a current article out of a book or professional/scientific publication (no older than 2014) which deals with a topic in physical geography. Read the article and type a one page summary or abstract of that article, attach it to a copy of the article, and hand it in to me. You will find plenty of good journals in our library or at the UCLA Research Library. You may earn a maximum of 7 class points for each extra credit completed. You may do no more than 4 extra credit reports for this class. You may submit only one extra credit in each calendar month of the semester. Last day to hand in the one last extra credit is June 1. This is not a requirement, but an option for you to consider. You may also earn considerable extra credit by completing a service learning option with a written summary of your learning experience, which we will discuss. See me if you have questions.

Important Responsibilities

  • Adds/Drops: YOU are responsible for any changes made in your schedule.
    Academic Honesty: Honest students are protected in this class. A student who cheats in any way will earn a zero and is subject to serious disciplinary action. See me and consult the SMC Academic Code of Conduct if you need definitions, explanations, or other details about this policy.
  • Classroom Conduct: All SMC rules of conduct apply in our class. No food or drink is allowed and no cell phones or any other electronic devices are to be used without instructor's consent.
  • Course Schedule: The schedule below is subject to some change. Stay ahead!



  • 18: Chapter 1 Essentials of Geography
  • 23: Chapter 1 continued, Appendix A: Time and Maps, Remote Sensing and GIS
  • 25: Chapter 2  Solar Energy and Our Seasons


  • 2 (Q): Chapter 3 Earth's Modern Atmosphere
  • 4: Chapter 4 Atmosphere and Surface Energy Balances
  • 9 (Q): Chapter 5 Global Temperatures
  • 11: Chapter 6 Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulations
  • 16 (Q): Introducing the Hydraulic Cycle 
  • 18: Chapter 7 Water and Atmospheric Moisture
  • 23 (Q): Chapter 8 Weather
  • 25 and 30 (Q): Chapter 9 Water Resources


  • 1: Chapter 10 & App B Global Climate Systems
  • 6 (Q): Chapter 10 & App B continued Global Climate Systems  
  • 8: Climate Change
  • 13-17 Spring Break
  • 20 (Q): Chapter 11 Dynamic Planet, Rock Cycle
  • 22: Chapter 12 Tectonics, Earthquakes, and Volcanism
  • 27 (Q): Chapter 13 Weathering, Mass Movement, Karst Landscapes
  • 29: Chapter 14 River Systems and Landforms


  • 4:(Q) Chapter 14 continued: Landforms Made by Running Water
  • 6 and 11 (Q): Chapter 15 Eolian Processes and Arid Landscapes
  • 13: Deserts Continued 
  • 18 (Q) and 20 : Chapter 16 Oceans, Coastal Processes and Landforms
  • 25: Memorial Day (No Class) 
  • 27 (Q): Chapter 17 Glacial and Periglacial Processes and Landforms

  J u n e

  • 1: Chapter 18 Geography of Soils
  • 3 (Q): Chapter 19  Ecosystem Essentials
  • 8: Chapter 20 Terrestrial Biomes & Chapter 21 Earth and the Human Denominator
  • 15: 8am Monday: FINAL EXAM: 8AM