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Viewing: GEOL 4650W lium : Plate Tectonics - Writing Intensive

Last approved: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:53:32 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:53:28 GMT

Proposal Type

Writing Intensive

Contact Information

Geological Sciences
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Instructor for whom you are submitting proposal:
Geological Sciences
Subject Area’s Department Chair/Director:
Geological Sciences

Term for Proposal

Fall 2017

Course Catalog Information

Geology (GEOL)
Plate Tectonics - Writing Intensive
Formation, evolution, and structure of the earth. Rules, causes, and implications of plate tectonics with emphasis on present-day features.
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
GEOL 3250 or GEOL 3650 or instructor's consent.

Instructor Information

Geological Sciences
(numbers only)
Tenured Professor
205 Geological Sciences Bldg.

The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
Indicate below if additional instructors are planned, but specific individuals have not yet been chosen. Check all that apply

Briefly describe the qualifications of the known graduate instructors, or planned qualifications if graduate instructors are still to be selected, bearing in mind that graduate students teaching honors courses should be advanced students with a record of excellent teaching.

Honors Course Information

Answer the questions below as they would apply to one section. For all other sections, provide similar information in the Additional Sections Information box below.



Writing Intensive Course Information

This course introduces 1) the theory of plate tectonics, 2) basic plate kinematics and geodynamics, and 3) major plate tectonic processes. The objective is to gain a basic understanding of geological processes in the framework of plate tectonics. This course is the 4th course in Geological Science's Writing Intensive sequence. Undergraduate students (GEOL4650) will write a term paper on a selected topic of plate tectonics; graduate students (GEOL7650) will write a research proposal for a selected topic related to plate tectonics. Details of the writing projects will be discussed in class. Textbook: Global Tectonics by Kearey, Klepeis and Vine 3rd ed. Reference Books reserved in the Geology Library: Geodynamics - by Turcotte Schubert; Dynamic Earth - by Davies; Plate Tectonics: How it Works - by Cox Hart. Term papers will be assigned with a letter grade, which is converted to numerical points as: A: 95 B: 85 C: 75 D: 65, and F: 0. The score is calculated with other parts for the total score. Final grade is assigned based on the total score: A: 90% and above B: 89-80% C: 79-70%, D: 69-60%, and F: 59% and below. Class Performance is based on student's participation in class, including attendance, participation in discussion, and class presentations. Students are required to read topic papers and discuss both science and writing of the papers in class.
Self paced?

Should this course be considered for funding?

Large Enrollment Courses:

Writing Intensive Assignments

Term Paper
Instruction for GS4650
Term paper: Your term paper will be a critical review of a topic related to plate tectonics. Choose a topic that interests you - the topic should be actively researched (e.g. there exists some scientific controversy or unresolved issues). Once you have chosen the topic, you need to do literature research - to search and read research papers, not general information on the internet about your topic. I expect that you will read at least three papers related to your topic; more is better. From the readings you will gather the major arguments and evidence of the problem for your term paper.

Organize your term paper in the following order:
1. Title: Be short and informative.
2. Abstract: State your topic and why it is important yet controversial. Provide an overview of current understanding of the problem and major unresolved issues. Limit to 250 words.
3. Content of the term paper: Start with an introduction to tell readers about your topic, why it is important and interesting, and what you are going to present. In the main narration, you will try to tell a story of this topic: how did scientists approach the problem, what are their critical evidence and main conclusions, and what are the unsolved issues.
End the term paper with a section of discussion and conclusions where you summarize the main arguments, comment on the previous studies, and perhaps suggest new approaches to resolve the remaining issues.
Limit this part to 10 pages single spaced, including figures. Imbed figures and captions in the text, using reader-friendly fonts and size 10 pt.
4. References: Provide complete information of the references cited. Follow the bibliography style of AGU
Note: Although you will be describing mainly other people's work, you should digest their work and tell the story using your own words. Always cite proper references, and indicate the sources of any figures you use in the paper.
Length of assignment:
Instructor and TA

Total pages for all assignments:
First drafts:
around the mid-term, students will write a one-page abstract for their term paper. The abstracts will be commented on both science and writing and returned to students.

Writing Intensive Teaching

Instructor provided feedback
Oral presentation by student, followed by feedback
students are encouraged to use services provided by the campus writing center.
Students write about a topic in plate tectonics, beginning with an abstract and essential bibliography, and revise the abstract to sharpen the focus. They then write a draft of the paper, present the story in class, and get feedback from instructor and classmates for revision for the final paper. Instructor provides comments on the draft and the final paper.
First half of the semester: abstract - selecting topics, collecting and reading essential papers, write and revise the abstract. Second half: full paper - writing a draft and making a class presentation, get feedbacks and revise.
Instructor will discuss with TA about the key structure and components to be expected from the papers. The TA will help with restructuring students' drafts according to the essential logic flow outlined in the term paper instructions.

Course Syllabus

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Administrative Information

Natural and Applied Sciences


I have read and reviewed the updated proposal

Additional Comments

Tammy Limbach (limbacht) (Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:53:28 GMT): added GEOL 4650W sec 1 on 2/23/17. emailed department and instructor. canceled 4650 sec 1
Key: 189