GEOSC 10
Geology of the National Parks

Frequently Asked Questions: Canvas

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QUESTIONS ABOUT GEOSC 10? Look here for the answers: This page contains a list of the most frequently asked questions in GEOSC 10. If your question and answer are not here visit the "General Questions and Comments Discussion Forum" in Canvas. There you can see if your question has already been asked and answered or post a question so the rest of the class can benefit from the answer.

Why is Unit 1 Locked?

You must complete all of the Course Orientation, including the "Course Readiness Quiz" in order for the system to unlock the remaining content in the course. Note that you need to score a 15 out of 16 or better on the quiz. Once you do so, the rest of the course content will unlock automatically.

How should I ask questions in this course?

If you have a question that other student will benefit from reading the answer, please post it in the "General Questions and Comments" Discussion Forum in Canvas. If your question is of a personal nature, send an email through Canvas Conversations to "All Teachers" AND “All Teaching Assistants”. Doing so will assure that you receive the quickest response. Failure to email "All Teachers" and "All Teaching Assistants" may result in a response being delayed up to a week. See directions on our Course Communications page of the Orientation.

I am having trouble viewing the online lectures. What should I do?

The College or Earth and Mineral Sciences holds a limited number of licenses to MediaSite Live, the technology used to stream the lectures. If you encounter an error message while trying to watch the video, it means that too many students are trying to view the lecture at the same time. If this occurs, you will need to watch the video at a later time.

Recently we are seeing an issue playing Mediasite videos in Firefox. Starting with Firefox 52, it only supports the Flash plugin and no others. The solution is to download the Extended Support Release version of Firefox.

After downloading the browser, install it, and then download the Silverlight plugin.

Double-click the file to install it. After it finishes, you can test the installation of Silverlight by going to the following test page.

It will say You are ready to use Microsoft Silverlight if everything is working.

Now try viewing the GEOSC 10 videos with Firefox.

I missed an assignment due to a Canvas problem

Unfortunately, the quizzes and Rock On’s are set for specific time periods (refer to the Calendar tab). We can not re-open them after they close. In the future, if you have an 'urgent' problem you should contact Canvas Help using the Help Icon in the left-hand navigation menu.

With online courses, there can sometimes be technical difficulties. That is why we urge you all to attempt each 'task' well in advance of the deadline, just in case something comes up.

I am having problems with Canvas. What should I do?

If you are a World Campus student and experience technology problems in Canvas please contact the World Campus Help Desk(link is external). If you are a University Park or Commonwealth Campus student, please contact the IT Service Desk. See Our Help page for more details. 

Weekly & Biweekly Assignments

Are there things due every week in Geosc10?

Yes! Each week you are responsible for reading the online instructional materials. In addition to learning the instructional materials, you are required to complete a weekly StudentSpeak! survey, a weekly RockOn quiz and 6 exercises that are assigned every other week. There are weekly Practice Quizzes available for you. They are not required and not graded.

When are assignments due?

Due dates are posted on the Canvas calendar and the Canvas Syllabus.

What is a StudentsSpeak?

StudentSpeaks! are the beginning-of-the-unit surveys that help the professor learn what the class already knows about the upcoming unit of study. Since there are 12 units of study, there are a total of 12 surveys each worth 1% of

What is a RockOn?

RockOn's are weekly quizzes that test your understanding of the lesson materials.
Read more specifics about taking your RockOn quiz in the Resource Menu.

How much are the RockOn quizzes worth?

Quizzes are worth 4.5% each or 45% of your total grade.

When are the RockOn quizzes due?

All RockOn’s are due at 3 pm on Monday afternoons. NOTE that all due dates are posted in the Canvas calendar and the course syllabus in Canvas. 

Do I have to take all of the RockOn quizzes?

Ten (10) of the twelve (12) quizzes count towards your grade. This allows you to miss up to two quizzes without losing points. If you take all twelve (12), we will drop the two (2) lowest scores.

Can I make up a missed RockOn?

If you have documentation that you will be on a University authorized trip or another legitimate excuse, you can email us PRIOR to the due date and we will make appropriate arrangements. If, however, you simply miss the due date or have technical problems, you can use your 2 free drops.

How can I study more effectively for the RockOn Quizzes?

I wish I had a simple answer. One possibility is, when you miss a quiz question, look at the feedback, then go back into the course materials and look for how the answer was presented. In learning to recognize the big ideas, where they were, and how they were presented, you might find that you'll do better the next week when you work through the new material. If you just say a bad word and forget about it, you're not really learning from the mistake.

Secondly, be sure to check the "overview of the main topics and ideas" link in the introductory materials; that is a useful guide to many of the key points, in a simple format.

The final idea is harder to explain, but perhaps more important. If you read through the materials for a week and find a HUGE number of unconnected facts, or if you are printing the text and then highlighting it, and it is mostly fire-engine-green at the end, we're not connecting yet. Underlying the numerous "facts" are a much smaller number of simple ideas--pull-apart vs. push-together vs. slide-past, floating vs. sinking, etc.. Once you pull out a few of those big ideas, everything else fits. It is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle; if you don't have the box lid and therefore don't know what the picture is, fitting the first few pieces together is VERY difficult. But once you have an idea of the picture, and what colors go where, the rest is MUCH easier, and you pop the pieces in place rapidly because they all fit. So, when you're working through a unit, ask yourself what the big ideas are, and try to fit the other pieces into that puzzle.

What is a Practice Quiz?

A practice quiz is exactly what it sounds like. An opportunity to see a sample of the types of questions you will see in the actual RockOn Quiz.

Do the practice quizzes count towards your grade?

No, the practice quizzes do not count towards your grade. They are there to help you with the real quiz.

What are Exercises?

An exercise is an opportunity for you to apply the information you are learning in the class as well as learn some new things.

How much are the Exercises worth?

Exercises are worth 5% each or 25% of your total grade.

Do I have to complete all of the Exercises?

You must complete five (5) exercises out of six (6). If you choose to submit all six (6), we will drop the lowest grade.

What do I do if I accidentally submit the wrong answer on a quiz?

There isn’t anything we can do in this case except offer some good advice on taking online quizzes. Primarily, check your answers before hitting submit.  It might also be helpful to number a piece of paper before you take the quiz and write the answer (letter) down as you take the quiz. This way you can quickly review your answers before submitting without actually having to read through each question if you are in a time crunch.

Extra Credit

What is the instructors’ philosophy on Extra Credit?

Extra credit is not designed as an excuse to avoid doing other things - it is a way for you to compliment the grades you receive for completing the standard course requirements. This is why extra credit can raise your grade only one step, but for many, one step is quite worthwhile, and we are more than happy to provide opportunities for people to earn that step.

How is Extra Credit graded?

Extra credit is basically graded on two things - 1) has it been completed? 2) is there evidence of effort and quality? Essentially, what this means is that if you've put in an honest effort and you’ve done a reasonable job with it, it counts.

How much is Extra Credit worth?

Up to a maximum of 6 extra credit points can be earned through the extra credit options, which will be added to your grade after the curve has been calculated. The personal introduction will be worth 1 point, the vTrip will be worth up to 2 points, the mid-semester survey worth up to 1 point and the quiz questions are worth up to 2 points.
"Thus, if you have a 79% for a C+ before the extra credit, earning 3 extra-credit points will raise you to an 82% for a B-, and all 5 extra-credit points will raise you all the way to an 84% for a B. You just add the extra-credit points to your final percentage for the course.

Can I do all of the Extra Credits?

Absolutely. Having your final grade bumped up a notch at the end of the semester is most likely to happen if you've done all three Extra Credit activities. Think of it this way - we've provided you with some opportunities to contribute to the course experience - so, the more you contribute, the greater the incentive we have to acknowledge those contributions at the end of the semester.

When is Extra Credit due?

There are 3 extra credit opportunities that become available at different times throughout the semester. Extra credit #1 and #3 are both due on the same day and time as noted on the Calendar in Canvas. Extra Credit will be due 2 weeks after it opens. You will be notified of the open and close dates in an announcement. Be alert for these opportunities.

Grades

Are the final grades curved?

Grades for this course will be assigned using a straight scale grade as specified in the Syllabus. If warranted, grades will be raised (but not lowered) by curving. If a curve is applied to raise your grades, we will do so at the end of the course and to your total grade before adding extra credit. We will not curve an individual item or group of items, such as a single quiz or all quizzes; instead, the entire course grade will be curved if needed, after we see your final exam scores.

Can you tell me what my grade is at this point in the semester?

No, we cannot calculate your grades for you until the end of the semester, nor are we going to answer a lot of questions on how you can go about calculating your grade. However, you have access to your grades in Canvas so feel free to calculate your grades yourself using the information in the next question.

How do I calculate my current grade?

To calculate your grade you are graded on:
  • Final Exam: 20%
  • Ten highest RockOn Quizzes, 4.5% each, total 45%
  • Ten highest Students-Speak Surveys, 1% each, total 10%
  • Five highest exercises, 5% each, total 25%
To calculate, think of your score for the whole class as adding up to 100 points (20 for the final exam plus 45 for RockOns plus 10 for Students-Speak plus 25 for exercises equals 100). You can earn 10 of those points by taking 10 Students-Speaks (or by taking 11 or 12; 10 points maximum), but you get only 9 points if you complete only 9, and you get only 8 points if you complete only 8, and so on.

You can earn up to 4.5 points for each of your 10 highest RockOns, for a total of 45. If you earn 100% on a particular RockOn, you get 4.5 points from that quiz towards your end-of-class. If you earn a 75% of the answers right on a particular RockOn you will get 3.375 points in your end-of-class grade. Getting 90% of the answers right on a particular RockOn gives you 4.05 points in your end-of-class grade (divide the 90 earned by 100 to convert from percentages to decimal, then multiply the result, which is 0.9, by the 4.5 points that the quiz is worth to find 4.05 points).

You can earn up to 5 points in your end-of-class grade for each of your 5 highest exercises. If you earn 100% of the available points on an exercise, you get 5 points in your end-of-class grade (if you earn 100% each on all 6 exercises, you get the points from only 5 of them). If you earn 80% of the available points on an exercise that you do not drop, you get 4 points for your end-of-class grade (divide the 80 earned by 100 and multiply the result, which is 0.8, by the 5 points available on the exercise).

The last 20 points you can earn are from the final exam.

So, add up the points from the Students-Speak (up to 10), from the RockOns (up to 4.5 points for each of 10, or 45 total), from the Exercises (up to 5 points for each of 5, or 25 total) and from the final exam (up to 20), and you get a number that may be as high as 100, or lower. Add in any extra credit (up to 5 points, so your maximum is now 105). Then, we grade “straight-scale” as listed in the syllabus (93 or above is A, and so on). And, if that leaves the grades looking too low, we curve to raise the grades; however, if the grades are really high, you get them anyway. If you want to know how you’re doing now, you can very easily guess what you’ll get on the rest of the exercises, RockOns, Students-Speaks, and the Final, and calculate your score. Just remember that we do not guarantee that your guesses will be accurate, and we’re not going to do the math for you.

One of the TA's created a nifty Final Grade Calculator for you to use in Excel. If the above math is a bit overwhelming, try this.

When will I get my grades for the final exam and for the class?

The final course grade will be published after the final exam closes and after a possible curve has been calculated. We will notify you by e-mail once the final grades are published.

Final Exam

What will the final look like?

The final exam will be comprehensive, multiple-choice, and on-line. The exam will contain approximately 60 questions and be very similar in format to the Rock On quizzes you have taken each week. NOTE: They will be very similar to but NOT identical to the quiz questions you've already seen.

How many questions will be on the final?

There are 60 questions on the final.

Is the final comprehensive?

Yes, the final is comprehensive and will include everything covered in the course instructional materials, the StudentSpeaks, the Exercises and everything within Canvas that is not marked as optional.

How much is the final worth?

The final exam is worth 20% of your total course grade.

When do I take the final?

You can take the exam during any two-hour time period that falls completely within the 7-day window we have scheduled for the final. Refer to the calendar in Canvas for the specific dates and times. Once you open the exam you will only have two hours to complete it and it must be completed in its ENTIRETY by the due date/time. In addition, you will NOT be able to save it and come back to it later so look at your Final Exam schedule early and set aside a two-hour block of undisturbed time to take and complete the exam.

Where do I take the final?

You can take this exam from any computer that is configured to run this course. If you plan to go home early or take the final from a computer that you have not used regularly for this course, please make sure it is configured properly. As with all of the other quizzes, we are not responsible for computer glitches and problems. If your computer freezes up, there is nothing we can do for you. To avoid this issue, feel free to utilize one of the many University Computer Labs available throughout the Commonwealth.

What do I do if I have computer problems during the final?

As with all of the other quizzes, we are not responsible for computer glitches and problems. If your computer freezes up, there is nothing we can do for you.

How should I prepare for the final?

Please note that anything we have covered this semester is fair game and that every unit may be included on the exam. That said, there are many ways to prepare for a comprehensive final.

Start by reviewing the lesson materials and the Rock On feedback that you saved and/or printed off after each quiz. Please do NOT ask the faculty or other students for this feedback in the event you did NOT save it. This will be considered a breach of academic integrity.

Try to allocate equal time to each unit when you are preparing for an exam...it is better to cover all of the units a little bit, than half of them 'really' well and half not at all. Especially if you tend to concentrate on the units that you find most interesting :-)

So when reviewing, try going through each unit, pick out what you think the key concept(s) are that you think the professors want you to get out of it. Chances are that there will be questions on those concepts...there may be other ones you can't predict, but this will give you a solid base.

Review all of the material in the “Final Exam Study Aids” folder under the Lessons tab. This folder contains:

  • “Course Review” document
  • “GEOSC 10 Review Session” lecture via Mediasite live
Finally, remember to review your exercises.

Will I receive feedback from my final?

No, there is no feedback following the final exam.

When will I get my grades for the final exam and for the class?

The final exam grade and the final course grade will be published at the same time after extra credit and a possible curve has been calculated. Please do not email us for your grades as this will hold up the process.