GEOG 480
Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications

GEOG 480 Syllabus


GEOG 480 Syllabus Summer 2024

Welcome to Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications

This syllabus is divided into several sections. It is essential that you read the entire document as well as the material covered in the Orientation. Together, these serve the role of our course "contract."


Summer (May - July)

Karen Schuckman

Assistant Teaching Professor
Department of Geography
Penn State University

NOTE: I will read and respond to email and discussion forums at least once per day, seven days per week.

Course Overview

GEOG 480 - EXPLORING IMAGERY AND ELEVATION DATA IN GIS APPLICATIONS: An introductory level course focusing on the use of remotely sensed imagery and elevation data in GIS applications. Students enrolling in Geog 480 should have a solid conceptual foundation in geospatial information science and technology (equivalent to Geog 482 and Geog 483). Geog 480 is appropriate for those who are already working in the geospatial profession and wish to use imagery and elevation data in visualization and spatial analysis.

Prerequisites: 482 and 483 (or equivalent professional experience). It is expected that students are conversant in fundamental concepts of GIS and have hands-on experience with ArcGIS Pro. The following bullets are examples of knowledge and skills you should have before starting this course.

  • explain the concept of map scale
  • explain the concept of a map projection
  • describe the difference between a vector and a raster data set
  • explain the difference between an Esri SHP file and a feature class
  • explain the difference between a 2D and 3D SHP file or feature class
  • manage GIS data files in the Esri interface
  • access data management, data conversion, and data analysis tools in the Esri interface
  • add a vector data layer to a project file
  • add a raster data layer to a project file
  • create a new SHP file or feature class
  • edit a SHP file or feature class using the Editor toolbar
  • change symbols for a SHP file or feature dataset using Symbology Properties
  • view and edit the attribute table for a SHP file, feature class, or raster layer

The course is specifically designed for adult professionals and is offered exclusively through the World Campus and the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Geog 480 is the first required course in the Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation. Geography 480 also fulfills a remote sensing requirement for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in GEOINT Applications and can be used as an elective in the Certificate of Geographic Information Systems, Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security - Geospatial Intelligence Option, Master of Geographic Information Systems, or Master of Science in Spatial Data Science.

Students who register in the course for credit will complete eight lessons with corresponding hands-on assignments, online discussions, and a final project. Throughout the course, students confront realistic problem scenarios that incorporate such skills and concepts as the definition of data needs, metadata content standards, data formats and types, and analysis methods.

What will be expected of you?

Our 3-credit online courses normally require a minimum of 12-15 hours of independent student activity per week. The actual time is very dependent on the student's background, computing resources, and familiarity with Esri software, and may require more than 15 hours per week in some cases. You are not required to attend any lectures or meetings; however, your instructor may choose to host optional webinar discussions using Adobe Connect. Attendance in live discussions is not mandatory and does not explicitly count toward your grade; however, most students report that they find the webinars to be a valuable part of their learning experience. If the instructor is planning to hold live discussions, he/she will conduct a poll during the orientation week to determine a meeting time that works best for the largest number of students. Access to and use of Adobe Connect is covered later in this Orientation.

Lessons include textbook reading assignments, objective quizzes on the reading material, hands-on lab activities, and peer-to-peer discussions. The first few days of each lesson should be devoted to reading the online and textbook material, using any self-assessment tools provided with each lesson to help master technical vocabulary and concepts. At the start of each lesson week, you should preview the written instructions for the lab exercise. The final days of each lesson week should be devoted to performing the lab exercise, submitting the lab deliverable for grading, asking questions or commenting on your lab experiences in the online discussion forum, and completing the lesson reading quiz.

You should get in the habit of checking course email and discussion forums on a daily basis. That is where students and instructors share comments, pose questions, and suggest answers. With only occasional exceptions, instructors check email and forums six days per week and will try to respond to your questions and concerns within 24 hours.

For a more detailed look at what will be covered in each lesson, please refer to the course content that is part of this syllabus (see "Course Schedule"). Specific due dates for assignments and activities are posted within the online course management system for registered students.

Course Objectives

Students who excel in this course are able to:

  • describe the basic principles of image and elevation data acquisition;
  • summarize the basic operational characteristics of commercial imaging systems;
  • critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of optical imaging instruments and platforms for a broad range of application scenarios;
  • perform orthorectification of digital imagery;
  • perform simple image enhancement, image interpretation, and automated analysis using digital optical imagery;
  • perform simple terrain analysis using digital elevation/terrain models;
  • describe the quantitative methods and industry standards for geometric accuracy assessment of imagery and elevation data products;
  • describe the qualitative methods and industry standards for quality assurance and quality control of imagery and elevation data products;
  • use acquired knowledge and critical thinking skills to create visualizations and perform analysis of imagery, elevation, and supplemental vector data in GIS.

Required Course Materials

To take this course, you need to have the required course materials and an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the online course resources). All (other) materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website and in Canvas. If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk.

Required Textbooks

There are two required textbooks for this course. NOTE: Please acquire the specified editions. Earlier editions will not suffice for this course.

  1. Campbell, James B. 2011. Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th edition. New York. The Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1462549405. This text can be purchased on in Hardcover or as a Kindle eBook.
    E-book Option: An online version of the Campbell text is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-book. Some E-books will be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. You may access it by selecting the Library Resources link in the course navigation and then selecting the E-Reserves link. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help (UL-RESERVESHELP@LISTS.PSU.EDU).
  2. Maune, D. F. and Nayegandhi, A, ed. 2018. Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd edition. Bethesda, MD. American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. ISBN 1-57083-102-5. This book can be purchased in hardcopy directly from ASPRS, the Imaging & Geospatial Information Society with a discount for ASPRS members and students. It can also be purchased from Amazon in Kindle format only, with no discount.
  3. Parece, Tammy, McGee, John, Campbell, Jim 2019. Workbook: Remote Sensing with ArcGIS Pro. Virginia Tech. ISBN: 1797570986. It is not mandatory to purchase this book, but it is available from Amazon as an Kindle e-book for $2.99 (or free through Kindle Unlimited). Companion videos available on YouTube will be assigned as required reading.

The Kindle reader application can be downloaded for free from

Supplemental References (No Purchase Necessary)

Additional readings may be provided electronically through the course management system and Penn State library services. These readings may include, but are not limited to, the following sources.

  • Congalton, R. and K. Green. 2009. Assessing the Accuracy of Remotely Sensed Data. 2nd edition. CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4200-5512-2.
  • Jensen, J. R., Remote Sensing of the Environment, 2nd edition. 2007. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131889508.
  • McGlone, J. C., ed. 2004. Manual of Photogrammetry, 5th edition. Bethesda, Md.: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. ISBN 1-57083-071-1.
  • Wolf, P. and B. Dewitt. 2000. Elements of Photogrammetry, 3rd edition. Boston. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-292454-3.
  • Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.


Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, please contact your academic advisor. For additional needs, related to socioeconomic status, please visit Project Cahir or visit the Office of Student Care and Advocacy at 220 Boucke Building or call 814-863-2020.

Required Software

Be sure to read the Technical Requirements section at the end of the syllabus for minimum system requirements. These are more stringent than the general Program Technical Requirements. You will also need an administrator-level password for your computer in order to properly install the course software.

  1. ArcGIS Pro, Esri
    All students in the Online Geospatial Program receive a student license of Esri software. Licenses will be issued during the first week of class for those students who do not already have one. Students with existing licenses may be asked to upgrade to a newer service pack or version. Instructions for downloading, installing, and updating software are provided in Lesson 0 - Orientation.
  2. 7-Zip (or similar)
    You will need a file utility capable of unzipping .zip and .tar.gz files. 7-Zip can be downloaded for free from
  3. Screen Capture Utility
    Students are free to use any screen capture software of their choosing. Examples are SnagIt (paid), Jing (free), CaptureWiz (paid) or the Windows Snipping Tool. The software should allow capturing selected portions and single windows on the desktop.

Supplemental Software Tutorials

Registered students have access to the Esri Academy free-of-charge. These courses are available for students who wish to review or enhance their ArcGIS skills in preparation for or during the course. Several Virtual Campus courses will be assigned as part of the weekly lab activities.

Using Penn State Library Resources

Many of Penn State's library resources can be utilized from a distance. Through the Library Resources and Services for World Campus and Distance Education site, you can...

  • access electronic databases, and even full-text articles, from the LIAS Fast Track;
  • borrow materials and have them delivered to your doorstep...or even your desktop;
  • access materials that your instructor has put on Electronic Reserve;
  • talk to reference librarians in real-time using the "Virtual Reference Service";
  • ...and much more.

Assignments and Grading

Students earn grades that reflect the extent to which they achieve the learning objectives listed above. Opportunities to demonstrate learning include:

  • Online quizzes (~22% of final grade)
  • Lab activities (~75% of final grade)
  • Graded Discussion (~3% of final grade)

Lesson weeks begin on Wednesdays. All deliverables for a lesson are due at the end of the lesson week, at 11:59 PM Eastern on Tuesday. Students who will be unable to meet the deadline for a given week must contact the instructor at least 24 hours prior to the deadline to request an extension.

The final grading scale is shown below.

Grading Breakdown
Grading Scale Percentage Points
A 93% and above 372 points and above
A- 90% - 92.9% 360 - 371points
B+ 88% - 89.9% 352 - 359 points
B 83% - 87.9% 332 - 351points
B- 80% - 82.9% 320 - 331points
C+ 78% - 79.9% 312 - 319 points
C 70% - 77.9% 280 - 311points
D 60.0 - 69.9% 240 - 279 points
F 59.9% and below 239 points and below

Class participation will be considered in grading for those whose final course grade is close to the next letter grade. You can keep track of your progress throughout the semester in the online course management systems. Concerns about scores on an assignment or overall grades should be communicated to the instructor in a timely manner so that there is time to consider possible remedies before the lesson or course ends.

Assignments are due on the dates published in the Canvas calendar and syllabus. Acceptance of assignments after the due date is at the discretion of the instructor; late penalties may be applied. Extensions and waiver of late penalties can be requested in writing, but must be received by the instructor before the assignment due date.

GEOG 480 Course Schedule

imageGEOG 480 Printable Schedule

Below you will find a summary of the lessons and learning activities for this course. Due dates for a given semester can be found in the course management system.

Lesson 0: Orientation
Date: Week 1

After completing the orientation you should be able to:

  • navigate between this course text and the online course management system;
  • articulate your expectations about how and what you will learn in your online course;
  • understand how and what instructors expect you to learn in your online course;
  • locate key information about the course, including assignments, due dates, technical information, places to get help, and course policies;
  • locate detailed information about course policies, including academic integrity and accommodations for disabilities;
  • communicate with instructors and fellow students using a variety of online tools.
  • Lesson 0 Orientation Material
  1. Complete the Orientation Survey (5 points).
  2. Post a Personal Introduction (5 points).
  3. Complete Lesson 0 Lab1 and Lab 2 (25 points).

Lesson 1: Introduction to Remote Sensing
Date: Week 2

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe key milestones in the historical development of remote sensing;
  • describe fundamental principles of electromagnetic radiation that are the basis for remote sensing;
  • summarize the tole of remote sensing as a fundamental element of GIS analysis.
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 1 - Introducing Remote Sensing Basics
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 2 - Electromagnetic Radiation
  1. Complete the Lesson 1 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 1 Lab Activity (30 points).
  3. Post to the Lesson 1 Graded Discussion (5 points).

Lesson 2: Sensors, Platforms, and Georeferencing
Date: Week 3

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe various types of remote sensing instruments used to create base map imagery and elevation data, including film cameras, digital multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, lidar, and radar;
  • describe common platforms for deployment of sensors, including fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, satellites, and ground-based vehicles;
  • identify appropriate sensor/platform combinations for a variety of geospatial applications;
  • describe technologies and methods used to georeference remotely sensed data;
  • explain the difference between a datum, coordinate system, and map projection;
  • identify primary coordinate systems used for imagery and elevation data in the conterminous United States;
  • identify metadata fields that describe georeferencing in a variety of image and elevation data sets acquired from public domain sources;
  • import imagery and elevation data into ArcGIS in the correct geographic location, identifying and compensating for missing or incorrect information in the provided metadata.
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 3 - Remote Sensing Platforms
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 7 - Land Observation Satellites
  1. Complete the Lesson 2 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 2 Lab Activity (35 points).

Lesson 3: Production of Digital Image Base Maps
Date: Week 4

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe the basic photogrammetric concepts used in orthorectification of imagery;
  • explain the difference between simple georeferencing and rigorous orthorectification;
  • perform both simple georeferencing and rigorous orthorectification of both airborne and satellite imagery;
  • use web-based tools to locate and download remotely sensed imagery;
  • identify common image data formats and perform conversions from one format to another;
  • overlay imagery data with vector data layer to prepare for visualization and analysis.
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 4 - Digital Mapping Cameras
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 5 - Digital Imagery
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 6, Section 12 - Image Scale Calculations
  1. Complete the Lesson 3 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 3 Lab Activity (35 points).

Lesson 4: Production of Digital Elevation Models
Date: Week 5

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe the basic photogrammetric concepts used in creation of digital elevation models;
  • explain the characteristics of, and processing methods used to produce, digital elevation models, digital terrain models, digital surface models, and topographic contours;
  • discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various types of terrain representation in GIS analysis and applications;
  • identify common artifacts and anomalies that occur in elevation data and methods used to correct them;
  • identify common elevation data formats and perform conversions from one format to another;
  • overlay elevation data with imagery and vector data to prepare for visualization and analysis.
  • Maune and Nayegandhi (2018) Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition. Chapter 1 - Introduction to Digital Elevation Models
  • Maune and Nayegandhi (2018) Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition. Chapter 4 - The National Elevation Dataset
  • Maune and Nayegandhi (2018) Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition. Chapter 5 - The 3D Elevation Program
  • Maune and Nayegandhi (2018) Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition. Chapter 6 - Photogrammetry
  • USGS (2020) Products and Services of the 3D Elevation Program (video). Last accessed 2022.12.27.
  1. Complete the Lesson 4 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 4 Lab Activity (35 points).

Lesson 5: Management of Imagery and Elevation Data
Date: Week 6

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe methods used to store and manage large image data and terrain data sets for multiple, distributed users;
  • discover, download, and import a variety of imagery and elevation datasets from federal, state, and local public domain sources;
  • discuss the strengths and limitations of web-services vs. local hosting for both imagery and elevation datasets.
  1. Complete the Lesson 5 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 5 Lab Activity (35 points).

Lesson 6: Validation of Imagery and Elevation Data
Date: Week 7

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe and compare various federal and state standards for imagery and elevation data;
  • compute a quantitative accuracy assessment in accordance with FGDC standards;
  • perform visual quality assessment for both imagery and elevation data.
  1. Complete the Lesson 6 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 6 Lab Activity (35 points).

Lesson 7: Introduction to Image Interpretation and Analysis
Date: Week 8

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe and perform image enhancement techniques to improve interpretability of imagery;
  • describe common image interpretation tasks;
  • describe eight elements of image interpretation;
  • perform simple supervised and unsupervised classification using automated methods.
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 6 - Image Interpretation
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 12 - Image Classification
  • Campbell (2023) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 6th Edition. Chapter 21 - Land Use and Land Cover
  1. Complete the Lesson 7 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 7 Lab Activity (35 points).

Lesson 8: Terrain Modeling and Analysis
Date: Week 9

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • use both imagery and terrain data to create 3D visualization;
  • perform a simple slope and aspect analysis;
  • perform a simple hydrology analysis;
  • perform a simple line-of-sight analysis.
  • Maune and Nayegandhi (2018) Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition. Chapter 13 - DEM User Applications
  • Maune and Nayegandhi (2018) Digital Elevation Model Technologies and Applications: The DEM Users Manual, 3rd Edition. Chapter 14 - DEM User Requirements
  1. Complete the Lesson 8 Reading Quiz (10 points).
  2. Complete the Lesson 8 Lab Activity (40 points).
Final Wrap Up
Date: Week 10
  • the final week of class will be used for wrapping up, final questions, and discussion
  • There are no required readings for this week.
  • No assignments

Course Policies

Technical Requirements

Please review the Technical Requirements in the Course Orientation

Need general technical assistance?

Click on Help in the Resources menu on the course website.

Citation and Reference Style

Academic Integrity and Citation Style Guide

Use of Software

In this course, you are provided with access to both software and data. Under no circumstances should you use either the software or the data for purposes other than this course without written permission from the instructor.

Internet Connection

Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.

Mixed Content

This site is considered a secure website, which means that your connection is encrypted. We do, however, link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted. This is called mixed content. By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed. Follow the directions on our Technical Requirements page to view the mixed content.


This course must be viewed using the latest version of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported. If you use any other browser, or if you are not using the latest version of your browser, some pages containing equations may not render properly. In addition, javascript must be enabled for equations to render properly. If you have any issues with equations not rendering properly, please update your browser to the latest version or try using a different browser. If you need additional technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. 

According to Penn State policy  G-9: Academic Integrity, an academic integrity violation is “an intentional, unintentional, or attempted violation of course or assessment policies to gain an academic advantage or to advantage or disadvantage another student academically.” Unless your instructor tells you otherwise, you must complete all course work entirely on your own, using only sources that have been permitted by your instructor, and you may not assist other students with papers, quizzes, exams, or other assessments. If your instructor allows you to use ideas, images, or word phrases created by another person (e.g., from Course Hero or Chegg) or by generative technology, such as ChatGPT, you must identify their source. You may not submit false or fabricated information, use the same academic work for credit in multiple courses, or share instructional content. Students with questions about academic integrity should ask their instructor before submitting work.

Students facing allegations of academic misconduct may not drop/withdraw from the affected course unless they are cleared of wrongdoing (see G-9: Academic Integrity). Attempted drops will be prevented or reversed, and students will be expected to complete coursework and meet course deadlines. Students who are found responsible for academic integrity violations face academic outcomes, that can be severe, and put themselves at jeopardy for other outcomes which may include ineligibility for the Dean's List, pass/fail elections, and grade forgiveness. Students may also face consequences from their home/major program and/or The Schreyer Honors College.

Please also see Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Procedures, which this course adopts. To learn more, see Penn State’s “Academic Integrity Training for Students.

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws. For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides the contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website.

To receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. See Student Disability Resources: Applying for Services. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Change in Normal Campus Operations

In case of weather-related delays or other emergency campus disruptions or closures at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to these delays or closures. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

Reporting Educational Equity Concerns

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.  Services include the following: 

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Connect Online with Caution

Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision-making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information with others whom you do not know. 

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period.  It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion within policy.  If, for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.


This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances, or university-approved activities.  If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In EMS, inclusivity is one of our core values. We prioritize fostering a diverse and equitable community where each member knows they belong here and is inspired to succeed. We encourage everyone in our EMS community to be actively engaged in fostering this ideal, and all members of this class should contribute to a respectful, welcoming, and inclusive environment and interact with civility. Our commitment to inclusivity aligns with Penn State’s values and policies. 

To learn more, visit EMS Educational Equity.  Here, you will find information about the EMS ALLWE initiative, the Rainbow EMS Network, Anti-Racism, active ally-ship, bystander intervention, and more. The site also has resources for where to turn if you need assistance and links to University references.  Also, contact your EMS department’s Associate Head for DEI for more information about department initiatives. 

Mandated Reporting Statement

Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response website.

Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.


Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes to the syllabus shall be given to you in written (paper or electronic) form.