New to GEOSC 10?
Registered students should begin with the Course Orientation.
Not registered? Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit. Information about registering for this course is available from the Office of the University Registrar.
Quick Facts about GEOSC 10
Emily Schwans, PhD Candidate, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University
Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Dr. Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Professor of Geosciences
"It would be fun to take a tour of all the national parks, learning a little about each. But Penn State would not award you General Education credit for such a course—you are supposed to be taking a tour of a field of knowledge, in this case geology. So, we will take a tour of geologic ideas. But, some of the best geological features of the world are enshrined in the U.S. national parks. We will use national parks as illustrations, delving into park history and culture when we can, but concentrating on those things that illustrate how the Earth works."
That quote from the Introduction of the course website describes the vision for GEOSC 10. Dr. Alley developed the following statement of ideas he wants students to take away from the course:
- Science works.
- The Earth recycles everything slowly, by building and tearing down mountains.
- The Earth's environment has been balanced for very long times.
- Human-induced changes are among the fastest Earth has ever experienced.
- The National Parks are critical but endangered living laboratories, museums, and repositories of biodiversity.
Geosc 10 is designed to serve undergraduate non-majors who need to fulfill a General Education requirement and think that learning about the geology of the national parks is just the right way to do it.
This is a fun course. Dr. Alley has four goals for the course:
- to help students become better-informed citizens on topics that may affect them in the future (groundwater pollution, biodiversity, volcanic hazards, etc.);
- to demonstrate what is and is not believable about science, those subjects on which scientists are usually correct and those on which scientists have no special expertise;
- to give students enough geological background that they will get more out of their next visit to a park; and
- to show students enough beautiful places that they can't wait to go out and visit some of them.
There is no required textbook. Rather, all of the readings, designed specifically for this course, can be found on this website.
If you would like to check out the teaser before sitting through the two-hour movie, here is the seven-minute version of GEOSC 10, winner of a regional Emmy award.
This website provides the primary instructional materials for the course. Canvas, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course, as well. It provides the primary communications, calendaring, and submission tools for the course.
This course is offered as part of the Open Educational Resources initiative of Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. You are welcome to use and reuse materials that appear on this site (other than those copyrighted by others) subject to the licensing agreement linked to the bottom of this and every page.
Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit.