Geography of Vermont - VS 095 OL1 - Course Syllabus

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Geography of Vermont / Introduction to Vermont
GEOG 61 / VS 52 Continuing Education, On-Line Course

Summer Term 2012 May 21 – June 15
Cheryl Morse, Ph.D

[email protected] 203 Old Mill, Geography Dept. Office hours: Tuesdays12:00 noon-2:00 Phone: 802-656-2106

Course Description and Requirements Course Description Geographers take a multi-disciplinary approach to studying places, culture, people, and environments. In our quest to better understand Vermont we will consider weather, topography, history, landscape change, government, economy, literature and film, and contemporary social life. Students will take part in on-line discussions, conduct group work, listen to lectures and podcasts, read a number of different kinds of materials, watch films, discuss literature, and produce their own knowledge about Vermont. In the process, students will gain a deeper understanding of how geographers go about studying the world. This course contributes to both the Geography curriculum and the Vermont Studies minor at the University of Vermont. Learning Objectives To expose students to the ways that geographers study place, space, and society. To introduce students to research on Vermont from a number of different academic disciplines. To assist students in becoming stronger researchers and writers. To encourage students to direct their own learning by taking leadership in course activities and discussions. Course Blackboard Site: Readings and Texts There is no required textbook for this course. You will need to purchase or borrow from a library a novel or other fictional work set in Vermont, as well as a copy of Vermont Life magazine, available on-line, in many Vermont libraries and stores. All other readings will be posted in digital (pdf or html) format on our Blackboard Class Page in the Readings section. Technology Needs and Resources • Reliable access to high-speed internet connection (dial-up will not work for this on-line course) • Adobe Reader (to read .pdf files) • Word program for writing papers and assignments • Jing! Is a free program that allows you to take still and moving/audio ‘screenshots’ from your computer. It will be a useful tool for some of our work. I will show you how to download it during the class. • Web-cam is optional, only necessary if you choose to skype with me or other members of the course • A digital camera or video camera is also optional. They may be helpful with your field assignments. Please contact your Advisor at Continuing Education if you require technical assistance. You may contact me if you are having technical difficulty with the Blackboard site.

Grades and Assessment Detailed Syllabus and Assignments: The complete syllabus listing weekly assignments is posted in the Syllabus section of Blackboard . All assignments will be listed on this syllabus and instructions for large assignments will be posted in the Assignments section of Blackboard. It will be updated several times each week. Please be sure to check the website four times per week. This is a required component of the class. Course Assessment:
I will use the Grade Center on Blackboard to post your grades. Please email me or call or visit during my office hours to discuss your performance in the class. Reading, Discussion, and Blog Posts: 25% You must complete all readings and watch or listen to all of the required material each week. Each week you must post 2 individual discussion threads and respond to 3 threads that your classmates have posted. For one of the weeks will conduct team blogs instead of the discussion posts. I will explain this in detail later. The “end” of each week is Friday at noon. Critical Reflection Journal Posts 15% Over the course of the term I will post 3 reflection questions in the Critical Reflection section of Blackboard. The directions for each will be provided in the Assignments section. These are private posts that only you and I will be able to read. They should be treated as a short essay, and you should plan in advance to prepare these. Quizzes 15% There are three quizzes in the course. Each is worth 5% of your final grade. Quizzes will include a mix of map identification questions and multiple choice and short answer questions. These will be available only for a specific period of time and will be timed, meaning that you will have just 30 minutes to complete the quiz. Therefore, it is necessary for you to study in advance for the exam so that you are prepared to answer the questions in a reasonable amount of time, as if you were in a classroom setting. I will provide you with study guides that you may use to prepare for the quiz. I strongly suggest you fill out the study guides entirely and use them as notes for your quiz. “Field” Assignments 20% These are two activities that you can do in a location in Vermont, or if you are not in Vermont, by using resources you find on-line or in other places. These assignments are designed to allow you to practice different geographic research methods, and to get you away from your computer and “out in the field”. The assignments are worth more than quizzes and critical reflections, so make sure to give them your full attention. Vermont Report and Analysis 25% Each student will write a 5-7 page original, fully-referenced paper on a topic of their choosing. I will provide you with specific guidelines and worksheets to complete as you move through the research and writing process. Students will also be required to post a summary of their report in a public Google sites website, created by the class participants. Grade Matrix A+ 98-100 A 93-97 A- 90-92 B+ 88-89 B 83-87 B- 80-82 C+ 78-79 C 73-77 C- 70-72 D+ 68-69 D 63-67 D- 60-62 F – below 60

Expectations for Students: To learn the most, and perform the best in this on-line course, students need to be engaged, active participants. Specifically, students are expected to: • Organize their time carefully. Expect to spend 3 hours per week reading, watching, and listening to materials on Blackboard, posting to the discussion board, and doing “in-class” activities. Expect to spend an additional 9 hours per week reading, doing class exercises, researching, and conducting fieldwork. At UVM, for each hour’s worth of credit, we expect up to 3 hours of homework outside class. It is a good idea to consider how much time this course will take, especially if you are working at a job, caring for a family, or taking additional courses at the same time. Work on the course several times spread over the course of the week. It is your responsibility to check on the Blackboard site at least 4 times per week, and post in discussions on time. Complete all readings and assignments on time. The Blackboard system will not allow you to submit work late. Participate in all on-line work. Even more than a face-face class, an on-line course is driven by student comments, input, and writing. Sometimes you will need to do team work. Your team members will rely on you to do your share. Take suggestions and incorporate them into new work. As one of the learning objectives of the course is to improve students’ research and writing skills, it is expected that you will consider the recommendations that I give you on your writing and other assignments, and use them to improve your work over the course of the term. Ask many questions. We will cover a great deal of academic “territory” in this class, some of which might be new to you. On-line learning is different from face-face education, and requires that we know how to use the technology employed in the course. There is lots of room for confusion! If you have any questions, please post them on the Question Board. It’s likely that your question will help other students also. If you have a more personal question, feel free to email me or phone during my office hours.

• • •

Academic Integrity: You are a member of a scholarly community. Dishonesty not only interrupts your educational process but also damages the integrity of the learning community. Academic dishonesty includes: plagarism (submitting someone else’s work as your own), cheating, copying another’s work, and fabricating information or citations. I will give you an “F” for this course if you engage in academic dishonesty and suspected dishonesty will be handled by the Continuing Education and Dean of Students’ Offices. If you have questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty, please talk to, or email me directly.

Religious Holidays: Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Students should submit in writing (email) to me by the end of the second full week of classes their documented religious holiday schedule for the semester. I will permit students who miss work for the purpose of religious observance to make up this work/assessment. Medical or Family Emergencies: If you have a medical or family emergency that will impact your ability to complete course assignments on time, please contact the Continuing Education Office right away. Secondly, contact me by email as soon as possible. Email and Office Hours: I look forward to getting to know you and helping you do your best in this course. For this on-line course, we have several different ways to do this. We can communicate by email. Or, you may phone me during my office hours, listed at the top of the course outline. You may also visit me inperson during my office hours. Finally, we can also arrange a “Skype” discussion if it makes sense. You are welcome to come talk about the course, ask questions, or discuss any school matters. If you cannot make my office hours, please email me to set up an appointment. Please use email messages to set up appointments with me. Access: If you have a disability or a learning difference which in any way interferes with your performance in class, or your ability to use any of the technologies required for this on-line course, please email me as soon as possible so we can make the proper accommodations. General Outline for Course (the syllabus can be found on Blackboard) Date Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Class Topic _______________ Introduction to the Course; Learning On-Line; Vermont’s Physical Geography Environmental History and Landscape Change: 1600-present “Reading” the Landscape of Vermont Vermont Society, Culture, and Political Issues Vermont as a Representation: Media, Fiction, and Film Presenting Our Work: Papers, Geography of VT website, Summary

Readings: We will read a variety of journal and magazine articles, website pieces, reports, chapters, newspaper articles, and book excerpts in this class. This is a partial list.
Albers, Jan. 2000. Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape. Rutland, VT: Orton Family Foundation. Campoli, Julie, Elizabeth Humstone, and Alex MacLean. 2002. Above and Beyond: Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas. Chicago and Washington, DC: Planners Press, American Planning Association.

Daniel, Alicia and Thor Hanson. 2001 "Remote, Rocky, Barren, Bushy Wild-woody Wilderness": A Natural History of the Northeast, in Wilderness Comes Home: Rewilding the Northeast, Christopher McGrory Klyza, ed. Hanover, NH: Middlebury College Press, University Press of New England, pp. 27-46. Dupigny-Giroux, Lesley-Ann. Vermont’s Climate. University of Vermont. Harrison, Blake. 2006. The View from Vermont: Tourism and the Making of an American Rural Landscape. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. Chapter 4: The Four Season State: Creating a New Seasonal Cycle. Harrison, Blake and Kent Ryden, eds. 2011. A Landscape History of New England. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Heinrich, Berndt. 2004. The Geese of Beaver Bog. Introduction and Chapter 7. McBride, Bunny. 1999. Women of the Dawn. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. Chapter One: Moon of the Ripening Berries, pp.1-37. Perrin, Noel. 1983. Class struggle in the woods. In Third Person Rural. Boston: David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc. pp. 123-132. Schubart, Bill. 2008. The Lamoille Stories. White River Jct, VT: White River Press. Rickstad, Eric. 2000. Reap. New York: Viking. pp. 5-31. The Vermont Encyclopedia. 2003. John J. Duffy, Samuel B. Hand and Ralph H. Orth, eds. Hanover and London: University of New England Press. Selected pages. Vermont Life Magazine, Vermont Livin’, Vermont Magazine, Seven Days, Burlington Free Press, Addison Independent, County Courier. Various articles. Wessels, Tom. 1997. Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England. Woodstock, VT: The Countryman Press. Chapter One: The Age Discontinuity, pp.23-39; Chapter Two: Of Junipers and Weird Apples, pp.40-61. In addition, we will watch Vermont films and I will assign several videos/podcasts from Center for Research on Vermont seminar series, available at, and Vermont Edition, available at (Vermont Public Radio).

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