Penn StateNASA

Course Orientation

Before we begin our semester of study together, it is important that you review all of the material on all these pages and on our course syllabus. These resources will prepare you to be successful in this course.

Have you looked at the syllabus yet? This course orientation will complement and expand on the information provided on our syllabus. Be sure to review that document too...carefully! A link to the syllabus is located in the menu at the top of this page.

What will we learn about in the Course Orientation?

  • The structure of Earth 103
  • What assignments are required in this course
  • An overview of Canvas, Penn State's learning management system
  • Technical requirements for Earth 103
  • How to succeed in this course
  • Where to get course assistance if you need it

What is due for the Course Orientation?

You should complete the Course Orientation during the first week of class.

The following is an overview of those activities that must be submitted for Course Orientation. Detailed directions and submission instructions are located within this orientation.

(You may want to print this page to serve as a checklist as you go along.)


Page of Orientation

Personalize your Canvas Profile

About Canvas>User Profile and Settings

Register with the University Libraries.

Using the Penn State Library

Log in to this website.

Course Structure

Introduce yourself and meet the rest of the class.

Summary and Final Tasks

Work through the geography, latitude-longitude, metric unit and Excel spreadsheet refresher activities.  Note these are not quizzes and your answers do not need to be submitted. Mastering the materials will help you during the class, however.

Refresher Exercises: Geography, Latitude-Longitude and Metric Units AND Excel Spreadsheet Refresher

Take the optional Pre-Test to help us out with a national study.


Introduce Yourself

Canvas "Getting to Know you"

Sign up for a complimentary New York Times subscription

Test the Course Blog and Sign up for The New York Times


If you have any questions, please post them on Yammer under Earth 103. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.

Keep reading!

On the following pages you will find important information about the course structure, requirements, scheduling, and technical requirements and assistance...all of which you'll need to know in order to pass the course. Remember, you are also responsible for the information located on our course syllabus. A link to the syllabus is located in the menu at the top of this page.