Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society

Syllabus (Fall 2021)

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Syllabus (Fall 2021)
Earth 107N: Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society

Instructor Information

Tim Bralower, Professor of Geosciences, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University.
Online Office Hours: I will host weekly (as needed) online office hours via my Zoom Meeting Room. I will poll the class at the beginning of the term to find reasonable times to host the meetings.
Contacting your instructor: Please use Canvas email for private messages to instructors. If you need rapid assistance, you may email me at tjb26@psu.edu u.


Course Overview

Description

Earth 107 will provide students with a global perspective of coastal landscapes, the processes responsible for their formation, diversity, and change over time, and societal responses to current changes in the coastal zones around the world. Active learning elements include analyzing real data sets and applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world coastal issues that affect human populations. Students will complete a capstone project in which they consider a real-world coastal issue.

Course Objectives

When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • develop the fundamental geospatial skills and concepts needed to assess the coastal processes and hazards discussed in this course;
  • link geologic time and current shoreline processes in order to explain the past and present evolution of coastline morphology;
  • assess the economic and social impacts of coastal hazards;
  • select optimal engineering options to mitigate specific risks;
  • assess how governments and stakeholders can plan for and respond to coastal hazards.

Expectations

On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits.

We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. The Internet may still be a novel learning environment for you, but in one sense it is no different from a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me as well as with your fellow students.

Specific learning objectives for each module and project are detailed within each module.

Course Materials

Online Content

All materials needed for this course are presented online through the course website (which is displayed in Canvas so you can use the Canvas page as your portal for everything). In each module, we provide citations for additional reading.

Software

Students should plan to use Google Earth Pro and Microsoft PowerPoint extensively during the course. For this reason, you cannot take this class without access to a PC (Google Earth Pro will not run on phones and iPads). You will also use Microsoft Excel. Many of the Labs will prompt you to download a Microsoft Word worksheet, but you may also use other note-taking software or applications such as Evernote or Microsoft OneNote to record notes and develop questions and ideas as you work through the course materials.

Assignments

Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society is an active course. We will have you look at real data so you can put the concepts we teach you into action. Here we explain the various types of assignments.

Readings

There are mandatory and recommended readings in this course. Mandatory readings will be linked from the Module Goals/Objectives pages. You will be required to understand the mandatory readings and material for assignments. Recommended readings will be linked throughout a module and indicated as such. Most of the material for the course is provided on the module pages.

For Credit Activities

As you work through each module, we have assignments that are for credit and those that are not but are there to advance your understanding of the material.

This course will rely on a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning for credit, including:

  • Quizzes: Quizzes will be offered each week, multiple-choice, and administered for credit through Canvas;
  • Capstone Project: The course Capstone Activity takes place throughout the semester; it is for credit. More information is provided at the end of Module 2;
  • Labs: Labs are given at the end of many modules for credit. In these activities, you will be required to integrate multiple concepts, record your data on worksheets and submit your answers via a Canvas quiz.

It is important that your work is submitted in the proper format by the designated due date. We strongly advise that you not wait until the last minute to complete these assignments—give yourself time to ask questions, think things over, and chat with others. You'll learn more, do better...and be happier! We will drop the lowest quiz score to give you a little flexibility.

Not for Credit (but essential) Activities

Learning Check Points

Sometimes these activities will extend the core module content through external readings and data sets and will help you engage with the material. Sometimes these activities are just simple questions that will help you retain information and think about what you have just read. They are utilized to evaluate your understanding of the key concepts for each part of a section’s modules. They are not for credit, but we strongly encourage you to take the time to do them as they will help you prepare for quizzes.

Grading

Percentages and Letter Grades

Breakdown of each assignment's value as a percentage of the total course grade.
Assignment Percent of Grade
Quizzes 20%
Capstone Project 30%
Labs 50%

Your scores for all assignments will be kept current in Canvas.

Letter Grade and Corresponding Percentages
Letter Grade Percentages
A 93 - 100 %
A- 90 - 92.9 %
B+ 87 - 89.9 %
B 83 - 86.9 %
B- 80 - 82.9%
C+ 77 - 79.9 %
C 70 - 76.9 %
D 60 - 69.9 %
F < 60 %
X

Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)

Late Policy

We accept late work only in exceptional circumstances, but you must contact us immediately if you need an exception. The earlier you contact us to request a late submission, the better. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you miss a quiz, that will count as your dropped score. Late labs will be assessed a penalty of 10% per day.

Earth 107 Course Schedule

imagePrintable Schedule

Module Schedule

Course Orientation
Topics
  • Review Syllabus
  • Meet the Instructor
  • Course Introduction and Goals
  • How to Succeed in this Course
  • Modern Earth Science Principles
  • Download Google Earth
  • Course Communications and Notifications
  • Read about the Capstone Project
  • Library Resources
  • Getting Help
Readings None
Assignments
  • Perform tasks outlined in course orientation to become familiar with the course and the course environment.
  • Take the Orientation Quiz.
Module 1: The Societies and Economics of Coastal Regions
Topics
  • Our Increasingly Urbanized Coasts and Sea Level
  • Coronocanes: Hurricane Preparation in the Covid-19 Era
  • Introductory Activities
  • Capstone Project Stage 1 Instructions
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 1 Lab A (Discussion - includes personal introductions).
  • Complete Module 1 Lab B (Quiz)
Module 2: A Global Glance of the Geology of Coastal Landscapes
Topics
  • Getting Down to Business: Plate Tectonics
  • Coastal Zones: The Margins of Continents
  • Back to Coastal Zones: Plate Tectonics and Coastal Classification
  • A Few Notes on Other Types of Coastal Classifications
  • Second-Order Influence on Coastal Zones
  • Capstone Project Stage 2 Instructions
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 2 Lab.
  • Take the Module 2 Quiz.
Module 3: Coastal Systems, Landscapes, and Processes
Topics
  • Environments of Coastal Zones
  • Reef Coasts
  • Nearshore, Beaches, and Dunes
  • Barrier Islands
  • Deltaic Coasts
  • Estuaries
  • Coastal Wetlands and Maritime Forests
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Submit Stage 1 of the Capstone Project.
  • Complete Module 3 Lab.
  • Take the Module 3 Quiz.
  • Begin work on Capstone Project Stage 2.
Module 4: Sea Level Rise
Topics
  • What is Seal Level and How is it Measured? An Introduction
  • Sea Level Change: What are Anomalies and Why are They Used in Climate Change Analysis?
  • Putting Sea Level Change in Context of the Earth’s History
  • Causes of Sea Level Fluctuations Through Time
  • Sea Level in the Past 20,000 Years
  • Recent Sea Level Rise and Anthropomorphic Impacts
  • Measuring Changes in the Arctic and Antarctic Ice Caps
  • Modeling Sea Level Changes
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 4 Lab.
  • Take the Module 4 Quiz.
Module 5: Hurricane Formation and Evolution
Topics
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 5 Lab.
  • Take the Module 5 Quiz.
Module 6: Hurricane Stories
Topics
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 6 Lab.
  • Take the Module 6 Quiz.
Module 7: Tsunami
Topics
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Submit Stage 2 of the Capstone Project.
  • Complete Module 7 Lab (Discussion).
  • Take the Module 7 Quiz.
Module 8: Coastal Engineering: Hard and Soft Structures
Topics
  • Overview of Coastal Erosion
  • The Dynamic Coastline
  • Coastal Protection and Mitigation
  • Coastal Protection Using Hard Structures
  • Coastal Protection Using Soft Structures
  • Earth Systems in Action: Development and Coastlines
  • Capstone Project Stage 3 Instructions
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 8 Lab.
  • Take the Module 8 Quiz.
  • Begin work on Capstone Project Stage 3.
Module 9: Managed Retreat
Topics
  • Alternate Approaches to Coastal Hazard Mitigation
  • What is Managed Retreat?
  • Examples of Managed Retreat in the U.S.
  • Examples of Managed Retreat in the U.K.
  • Retreat as a Response to Disaster: New York Example
  • Relocating Coastal Communities: Isle de Jean Charles
  • Multi-Layered Defenses
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 9 Lab.
  • Take the Module 9 Quiz.
Module 10: Smart Building
Topics
  • Early Smart Building
  • The Need for Growth
  • Building with Nature
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 10 Lab.
  • Take the Module 10 Quiz.
  • Submit Stage 3 of the Capstone Project.
Module 11: Vulnerability to Coastal Hazards: Policy for Coastal Resilience
Topics
  • Vulnerability's Three Dimensions Introduction
  • Dimension 1: Exposure
  • Dimension 2: Sensitivity
  • Dimension 3: Adaptive Capacity
  • Case Studies: Exposure, Sensitivity, and Adaptive Capacity in Real Examples
  • Capstone Project Stage 4 Instructions
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 11 Lab (Discussion).
  • Take the Module 11 Quiz.
  • Begin work on Capstone Project Stage 4.
Module 12: Emergency Management Cycle for Coastal Hazards
Topics
  • Policy, natural hazards, disasters, and the emergency management cycle
  • Mitigation
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery
  • Case Study: Sumatra and Thailand and the 2004 Tsunami
  • Case Study: Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria
  • Case Study: New Orleans and Katrina
  • Houston, Harvey, and Flood Policy
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 12 Lab.
  • Take the Module 12 Quiz.
Module 13: Sea Level Rise Policy
Topics
  • The Sea Level Rise Adaptation
  • Strategies for Building Coastal Resilience and Planning for Sea Level Rise Adaptation
  • Examples of Obstacles to Adaptation
  • Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning
  • Steps to Resilience
  • Identifying Stakeholders
  • Participatory Planning Process
  • Selecting Strategies
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Symbolic and Cultural Considerations
  • Setting Timeframes for Implementation
Readings
  • See the Module Roadmap on the Goals and Objectives page.
Assignments
  • Complete Module 13 Lab.
  • Take the Module 13 Quiz.
  • Submit Stage 4 of the Capstone Project.
  • Submit Stage 5 of the Capstone Project by the due date.

Course Policies