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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: ERSC302 Course ID: 4745 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

Geomorphology is the study of the physical features of the Earth’s crust. The study of geomorphology helps us understand not only about the earth as it is today, but also as it may have been in the past. Climate change and global warming are hot issues in current events these days, but how do scientists determine the climate is actually changing? Through observation of what we see today, and comparison to what we “see” in the past. This allows us to determine if the climate of the earth has always been like it is today or whether it's changed over time. With that knowledge we can predict how the climate might change (or not) in the future. If global warming and cooling has happened before, then it might happen again. One way to determine past climatic conditions is to study the landscape. What types of landforms are associated with different climatic conditions? The Midwest used to be the bottom of a vast shallow sea; the northern part of our continent was sculpted by glaciers that no longer exist. Understanding geomorphology, gives us insight to the landforms we see today that are the result of processes no longer at work on the landscape. (Prerequisite: SCIN138)

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
04/26/21 - 10/01/21 10/04/21 - 11/28/21 Fall 2021 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, the student will be able to:

CO-1 Define the terminology associated with the study of geomorphology and the various geomorphic processes that are either erosional, depositional, or both.
CO-2 Explain geomorphic theory and dynamic processes of geomorphic systems.
CO-3 Translate the different geologic settings with associated origins of the various landforms and soil types; and how these were formed.
CO-4 Identify and describe different types of landforms and recognize examples of these landforms in photos, on maps, and on the landscape including: mass wasting, weathering, and plate tectonics and associated structural landforms.
CO-5 Correlate fluvial, glacial, coastal and karst landscape processes with associated landforms.
CO-6 Analyze the erosional and depositional processes by which gravity, water, ice, and wind, modify and shape the environment
CO-7 Predict geomorphic landscape evolution and long-term geomorphology.

Grades for this course will be based upon graded forums, a research project, multiple-choice quizzes, a mid-term exam and a final exam. There are weekly discussion questions that are provided in the forums. The student will respond to the posting of other students. Quizzes, exams and the PowerPoint research project must be completed as assigned for full credit. These assignments are to be your own, original work, and any plagiarism, cheating or other shortcuts will result in a failing grade for that assignment, and may result in further negative consequences as stated in APUS policy.

The nature of an on-line course requires a significant amount of independent work. You will be provided with structure, resources, guidance, and instructor experience for learning the course material. You, however, are responsible for managing time, completing assignments on time, completing the readings, and making inquiries as needed to complete the course effectively. This is an eight-week course, which means the material must be learned in a short period of time - this requires dedication and diligence on the part of the student. The University requires that each student participate on a weekly basis, which in this course will be necessary to complete all assignments.

It is important for you to check your messages and notes posted in the Announcement Section of the classroom for each week’s work. Any additional suggested readings, internet-work and assignments will be posted on-line at the beginning of each week of the course. Assignment due dates will be posted with assignment directions. You are expected to complete all work on time.

For the purposes of this course, a “week” is defined as the time period between Monday and Sunday. The first week begins on the first day of the course and ends on midnight of the first Sunday following the first day of the course. The last week of the course ends at midnight on Sunday of the last week.

I will be available in the classroom via Messages and the Open Forum. I will check my messages regularly and respond quickly.

Grades for this course will be based upon the following assignments and exams:

Participation is mandatory and will count towards the course grade (28%). You are expected to provide a substantial and well-written comment in each session and a similar comment or reflection in reply to at least two other students’ contributions. Initial posts after the first week are due on Wednesday and two replies are due by Sunday. Statements such as “I agree” or “good post” will not count as a reply.

The initial post in the first forum (Introduction) must be at least 250 words long. Your response must be submitted before the end of the first week. This is a way of confirming your attendance in the course. See instructions in classroom.

There are weekly quizzes that are set up so that you cannot comfortably and successfully do the exam without first reading and studying the text. The allotted time will be insufficient to look up answers as you go along, and some topics may need a more thorough reading of the text to get the correct answer. Quizzes are due by no later than 11:55 PM Eastern Time on the Sunday deadlines.

The quizzes are on-line, open-book, and timed. They may include multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short essay type questions. They are due by the end of each week. You are not to collaborate on quizzes – all work must be your own.

Mid-term and Final Exams
The mid-term exam will cover weeks 1-4 and the final exam will be comprehensive and cover weeks 1-8. These exams are on-line, open-book, and timed. They may include multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short essay type questions. You are not to collaborate on the Mid-term and Final Exams – all work must be your own.

PowerPoint Research Project:
This exercise is designed to have each student conduct research, assess and summarize his or her research findings, and present it in PowerPoint format. This will be just like writing a research paper, except that the research findings will be presented in outline form in PowerPoint, rather than as a research paper. Just like a research paper, your presentation should include slides that contain a title, introduction to the topic, main body, summary and conclusions, and bibliography. Creative use of properly cited graphics and photos that are relevant to your topic is encouraged. The exercise has three primary purposes: 1) to show you are very familiar with the topic, 2) to become familiar with PowerPoint software as everyone uses it in business these days, and 3) to express your knowledge in a presentation format - efficient and understandable, captivating for your audience. Please check the assignment instructions for the details on the research project.

Goals of this project include encouraging development of research skills, familiarization with presentation of academic material, and practice in communicating research to an “audience”. Projects change by class, so the exact topic will be provided in the online classroom.

Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

NameGrade %
Forums 25.00 %
Forum 1 3.13 %
Forum 2 3.13 %
Forum 3 3.13 %
Forum 4 3.13 %
Forum 5 3.13 %
Forum 6 3.13 %
Forum 7 3.13 %
Forum 8 3.13 %
Quizzes 35.00 %
Week 7 Quiz Chapters 13 & 14 5.00 %
Week 6 Quiz Chapters 10 & 11 5.00 %
Week 5 Quiz Chapters 9 & 12 5.00 %
Week 3 Quiz Chapters 5 & 6 5.00 %
Week 2 Quiz Chapters 3 & 4 5.00 %
Week 4 Quiz Chapters 7 & 8 5.00 %
Week 1 Quiz Chapters 1 & 2 5.00 %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Week 8 FINAL EXAM Chapters 1 - 15 20.00 %
PowerPoint Research Project 20.00 %
PowerPoint Research Project 20.00 %

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at
Book Title:Fundamentals of Geomorphology, 3rd ed. - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Routledge
Unit Cost:$79.95
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.