Online Courses

GEOL 1 - Physical Geology

Instructor: Ruth Hanna
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Course Description

The Earth, its materials, its internal and external processes, and its development through time. Emphasis is placed on a thorough global understanding of Plate Tectonics as a framework and foundation for subsequent geologic topics and concepts. Topics include volcanoes, earthquakes and seismology, the Geologic Time Scale and the formation of the earth, rocks and minerals, hydrology, erosion, beach systems, environmental geology, glaciation, groundwater, etc.

Course content includes the difference between theory and fact and the historical development of key geologic concepts. This is the foundation course for almost all subsequent Geology courses for both Geology majors and non-majors.

To take this class, you must have daily access to a computer with an Internet connection and experience using a web browser. You will also need to utilize your college Zonemail account. Learn more about Zonemail.

Students enrolled in this course may also attend the instructor's regularly scheduled, face-to-face lectures if/when they wish.

Students enrolled in this course must access Blackboard and complete the Geology 1 Check-In Quiz by the end of the second week of term, or be dropped from the class.

Optional Colloquium: The face-to-face Geology 9 course allows students to study in an open, collaborative environment.  In the past, students who enrolled in this study course have earned exam scores in Geology 1 that averaged 10% higher than students who were not enrolled in Geology 9. Refer to the LPC Class Schedule for more information about the date and time of this useful study course.

Check the college catalog for CSU/UC transferability and to see if this course meets AA/AS degree requirements.

The instructor may drop students who miss the first meeting of a course. The first meeting of online or hybrid Distance Education courses is the first day of the class as specified in the class schedule listing. For these courses, instructors may drop students who do not log into their Blackboard course and/or complete indicated activities by the third day of classes. DE instructors may drop students if they have not submitted work and/or accessed the class for two consecutive weeks.

There might be an instructional materials fee associated with this course. Learn more about instructional materials fees.

This class begins Jan 19 and ends May 27.

On-Campus Meetings

There are no required on-campus meetings for this class. You can attend an OPTIONAL, on-campus orientation to Online Learning on Jan 13 from 1 - 2:30 pm or Jan 14 from 5:30 - 7 pm in Room 2410. A virtual session will be offered on the Internet on Jan 19 from 5:30-7 pm. Learn more about these orientations, which are NOT course-specific.

How This Class Operates

For this class, you will complete one quiz, six exams and a final. All required quizzes and exams are available from the beginning of the term until their timeout dates. All course quizzes/exams may be taken an unlimited number of times before their timeout dates.

  • You can complete this class as fast as you want to.
  • You can take an exam and then go back and study some more and then retake the exam!
  • Exam questions are typically multiple choice or True/False, but short answer or essay questions are also possible.

Learning about these topics should be fun and interesting – enough so that you are willing to make yourself sit alone by yourself in a room and read the chapter and work through the CD-ROM and/or watch the videos and search the Internet for information.

This is a 3 unit-class where you are your own teacher; therefore, you need to plan at least 3 hours/week of ‘teaching yourself’ (using the CD-ROM, videos and the textbook). And you also need to plan at least 6 hours/week of studying the material in more depth (using the Green Course Study Guide, working the exam practice questions, re-reading sections in the textbook, studying the photos and diagrams in the textbook, exploring the CD-ROMs and videos, etc.)

On average, you will need to plan at least 9 hours/week for this course – the same as for students who are enrolled in the regular ‘in-class’ sections. Remember 9 hours/week is an average – and no student is average. Some students will be able to pass this course and will be able to get by with less than 9 hours/week, while other students will need to spend more than 9 hours/week.

Class Activities

Students must complete the Module Exams specified in the course syllabus. Content outlines and practice exam questions are available in the instructor's Physical Geology Study Guide (available in the LPC Bookstore).

Here is the recommended study approach (in sequence) to prepare for the quizzes and exams:

  1. CD-ROM: Work through the chapter on the textbook CD-ROM. The CD is very illustrative with some interactive exercises and questions to keep the student interested.
  2. Green Study Guide: Work through the exam study questions in the Green Study Guide. Use the textbook to assist with finding the answers to the exam study questions.
  3. Use the Internet (search engines such as Google) and/or a dictionary or atlas to find things that you cannot find in your textbook.
  4. Attend the Geology 9 sessions on Friday afternoons (you must be enrolled in Geology 9 in order to attend the study sessions).
  5. View the Earth Revealed videos in the LPC Learning Resource Center.
  6. Take the Module Exams early. Do not wait until there are only a few days left before the exams time out!

How Students are Graded

Grades are based on the sum of points accumulated throughout the term. Extra credit is available. Details are available in the course syllabus. Students may view the course syllabus and the grade distributions from previous terms at the instructor's website.

Succeeding in an Online Course

Students who succeed in online courses tend to be independent, self-motivated learners with good computer skills. If you are a procrastinator who relies heavily on the instructor for motivation, can't use a computer too well, have taken less than 21 units of college credit in your lifetime, and/or have a grade-point-average under 2.0, you should probably consider enrolling in a face-to-face course instead.

Also, don't enroll in this class if you believe the myth that learning online requires less effort than learning face-to-face. This course covers the same content and has similar activities as the face-to-face version of the course; only the method of delivery changes.

LPC offers a tutorial called "Succeeding in an online course" that will not only tell you if you are a good fit for online learning, but it also offers many strategies -- among other pertinent information -- that will help you succeed online. Please complete the tutorial.


This course will use the Blackboard course management system as its virtual classroom. To learn how to log in to Blackboard, go to the Blackboard Login Procedures page. Once you enroll, you will not be able to log in until the first day of class.

Register for this course

Page last modified: October 06, 2015