Geology of the National Parks



Before we begin our semester of study together, it is important that you review all of the material on these pages, and all of the resources located in the Course Orientation module in Canvas, as it will not only prepare you to be successful in this course, but it will also help you prepare for the "Course Readiness" quiz at the end of the orientation. You must get a score of at least 90% on that quiz to gain access to Lesson 1 (as well as the rest of the course!). The answers are all contained in this orientation!

Have you looked at our syllabus?

This course orientation will complement, and expand on, the information provided in our syllabus. Be sure to review that document, too...carefully!

Watch a brief video introduction from Dr. Alley!

GEOSC 10 Introduction with Dr. Richard Alley
Click for transcript

Welcome to Geosciences 10. I'm Richard Alley, and I'll be your tour guide to the geology of the national parks. In the course of the semester, we're going to visit some of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. We're going to ask some big questions. Why are there mountains and volcanoes and earthquakes? Um, why are the mountains torn down by rivers, by glaciers? Um, what's the history of this planet, how do we live on the planet, how do we stay happy and healthy and terrific with the planet? And while we're doing it, we are going to visit some of the most beautiful and wonderful places on the planet. By the end of the semester, we're all going to know a lot more about the national parks, and you are going to be so excited that next summer you're going to be off to visit one because they're such wonderful places. Have a great semester. I'm going to jump on my bicycle and head into school and get to it.

What will we learn about in the Course Orientation?

  • The structure of GEOSC 10
  • What assignments are required in this course
  • An overview of Canvas, Penn State's course management system
  • Technical requirements for GEOSC 10
  • 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 by the end of the first week. (See the Canvas Calendar for specific due dates.)

As you work your way through the online materials for the Course Orientation, you will encounter additional reading assignments and hands-on exercises and activities. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for the Course Orientation. For assignment details, refer to the orientation page noted.

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

Requirements for the Course Orientation
Read and understand the Syllabus This website You will be quizzed on the information found in the syllabus. 
Read the Course Orientation This website You will be quizzed on the information found in the orientation.
Set Communication Preferences Canvas Follow the directions on the "Setting Communication Preferences" page of this website.
Introduce Yourself Canvas Introduce yourself on the "Introduce Yourself" Discussion Board. This is worth one extra credit point.
Take the Course Readiness Quiz Canvas This quiz is designed to test your knowledge of the information covered in this lesson and the course syllabus. You must get a score of at least 90% to unlock Lesson 1. You may retake the quiz as many times as you need.
Complete the "StudentsSpeak #1" Canvas  This is the first of 12 weekly surveys and is worth 1% of your total grade.


If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to me, the course instructor, AND your assigned TA. Failure to email both of us will result in a delayed response.

Keep reading!

On the following pages, you will find important information about the course structure, requirements, scheduling, 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.