John Maher


The following information comes from the named instructor and should describe characteristics general to courses as taught by this instructor. Individual sections of specific courses will deviate from this description in some respects.

Class Format

Face-to-face sections:

Physical Geography: Class sessions are primarily lecture, with some in-class activities and discussion. Lectures will highlight key concepts in the text as well as a number of special topics dealing with current environmental issues. It is helpful to read the assigned readings, as given in the tentative schedule, before the material is covered in class. This is important for your understanding and retention. A word of warning: this class moves very fast. The material is not particularly difficult; there is just a lot of it.

Physical Geography Laboratory: Class sessions take place both in the laboratory space (mostly) and outdoors (both on-campus and off-campus locations). Indoor sessions involve map and diagram interpretation, computer-based activities, and interpretation of remotely-sensed imagery (aerial photos and multispectral scans). Outdoor activities include walking observations of landform processes and data collection of atmospheric conditions. Some lab activities require simple calculations (addition/subtraction/multiplication/division).

Online sections:

Physical Geography: The course is built around the textbook and material presented via the current Learning Management System (e.g., Desire2Learn/Brightspace).

Resource Use

Face-to-face sections:

Physical Geography: The textbook serves as the foundation for the presentation of course material. Lectures are designed to amplify or elaborate explanations provided in the textbook. Handouts of lecture notes are available electronically through the current Learning Management System (i.e., D2L). Hyperlinks are provided for supplemental readings/programs accessible through Billington Library or other sources when required.

Physical Geography Lab: Handouts in hardcopy for each lab assignment are distributed at the beginning of each lab session, but are also posted in the Learning Management System (i.e., D2L) in advance. Tentative schedule is cross-walked to the current textbook so students can review concepts to be treated.

Online sections:

Physical Geography: The textbook serves as the foundation for the presentation of course material. Lectures are designed to amplify or elaborate explanations provided in the textbook. Handouts of lecture notes are available electronically through the current Learning Management System (i.e., D2L). Hyperlinks are provided for supplemental readings/programs accessible through Billington Library or other sources when required.

Assessment

Physical Geography: Assessment parameters are laid out in the course outlines available through the Credit Class search. Both face-to-face and on-line Physical Geography sections can expect five examinations (including the final exam) during the term. All sections will receive assignments during the term which might short papers, short answer/essay questions to be answered, internet-sourced data retrieval and analysis, diagram interpretation, pre-packaged data analysis, and map interpretation.

Exams and assignments for online sections are submitted via the current Learning Management System (i.e., D2L) and do not require the student to come to campus.

Physical Geography Lab: There are thirty lab assignments, which are generally due at the end of the session in which they are performed. Labs may be submitted late if they are submitted by the end of the next lab session. There are two exams which test the student’s ability to perform material covered in lab sessions.

Homework Policy

Physical Geography: Late work is accepted, although penalties are assessed. Penalties are progressive, meaning the penalty increases the later the assignment is turned in. No work is accepted after the last class meeting before the final exam period.

Physical Geography Lab: There are thirty lab assignments, which are generally due at the end of the session in which they are performed. Labs may be submitted late if they are submitted by the end of the next lab session.

Attendance Policy

Physical Geography: Attendance per se is not a direct factor in the grade. From personal experience, I have found that those who attend regularly and engage in the class do better than those who are casual about attending.

Physical Geography Lab: Attendance is essential to satisfactory completion of the course.

Availability

I try to maintain office hours based on when my face-to-face classes are scheduled, so it varies from semester to semester. My goal is to respond to e-mails within twenty-four hours (except on weekends, when it may stretch to forty-eight hours).