Earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, ice ages, landslides, floods, life evolution, plate motions—all of these phenomena have interacted over the vast expanses of deep time to sculpt the dynamic planet that we live on today. Planet Earth presents an overview of several aspects of our home, from a geological perspective. We begin with earthquakes—what they are, what causes them, what effects they have, and what we can do about them. We will emphasize that plate tectonics—the grand unifying theory of geology—explains how the map of our planet's surface has changed radically over geologic time, and why present-day geologic activity—including a variety of devastating natural disasters such as earthquakes—occur where they do. We consider volcanoes, types of eruptions, and typical rocks found there. Finally, we will delve into the processes that produce the energy and mineral resources that modern society depends on, to help understand the context of the environment and sustainability challenges that we will face in the future.
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.
I thought the course syllabus looked okay when I registered - nothing too special but I was looking forward to rigorous and up-to-date information delivered by specialists. The videos were informative but a little dry. I was most disappointed by the lack of quality control regarding the first assignment on this course.
I thought the course syllabus looked okay when I registered - nothing too special but I was looking forward to rigorous and up-to-date information delivered by specialists. The videos were informative but a little dry. I was most disappointed by the lack of quality control regarding the first assignment on this course. We were asked to take readings from seismographs to determine the location and magnitude of an earthquake. The scales were not only very imprecise but the 'right' answers for many of the questions were completely wrong. There have been long discussions on the student forum, many from people who have teaching or science degrees themselves, or both, but the course authors don't seem to have acknowledged yet how badly prepared the lab material was before they submitted it to be used as an online course. At first they just said they would widen the accepted range of values, implying that it was simply some kind of reading or calibration error. The most recent information I read was that we should take the 'correct' values given when our assignments were marked, and submit them in our next attempt whether or not we agreed with them. I think it would have been fairer for all involved to simply remove that assignment from the overall marking scheme and allocate marks based on the next four assignments. I am strongly considering dropping out at this point in any case.