March 11, 2004
Why do I have to
do the homeworks before the lab section?
The homeworks are designed
to prepare you for the lab section by reading the book and answering questions
about the material. This helps you get the most from the lab sections.
How do I tell my
grades? What if the software says that I am late?
The software tells you
that you are late when you open the homework after the "due time" that the
professor specifies in the setups. You may not get penalized for being late.
For example, the first assignment has no penalties for late entries until
after the first week is over.
What is the purpose
of the writing assignments?
This paper is the best
way to really involve you in the course material. It provides you with writing
skills that will be useful in many other UCSB classes and in your future professional
life. Edward Lytton (1805-1873) says: "The pen is mightier than the sword".
The written word is powerful and allows you to pursuade, express yourself,
and put down the results of your work. It is a vital skill in the modern world.
The writing exercise uses a technical paper format, which can be modified
to many other writing forms, as well.
What do I write for
the writing assignments?
The best way to find
this out is to carefully read the lab book, where the writing assignments
are assigned. Also read the section entitled: "How to write a Science Paper."
It provides you with all you need.
How do I get a better
grade on the writing assignments?
The best way to get
the highest grade is to do more than the minimum assignment, as specified
in the lab book. But, first do the minimum, then add to it.
Here are some grade-enhancing
- Come to class!
The mid-term paper is discussed often during lectures. If you miss class,
you may miss critical information.
- Keep up! This
is not a class you can get behind in, then cram at the last minute. Weekly
assignments and lab section work prepare you for future assignments. If
you get behind, your grade will suffer and you will have to work much harder
to do the work.
- Pay attention to
the class online forums. In these forums you can share you knowledge with
other students and ask questions that others, including the TA's and Prof
- Study the lab manual
material describing the writing assignments.
- Don't wait until
the last minute to do an assignment. Begin thinking about your topic early.
- Carefully read the
rubric, in the lab manual, which tells how the paper will be graded.
- Ask a question, then
try to find data to answer it. You might want to talk to the professor or
TA to make sure your question is one you can solve.
- Most of all, realize
that many students have done a fine job on the writing assignments, and
you can too. Relax, read instructions, talk to TA, professor, and friends.
of the Day
Why do I have Questions
of the Day (QOTD)?
I have found that the
QOTD's help students focus on the important points of the lecture. They are
also useful for studying for the final exam, as they identify the most important
points in the class.
QOTD's also encourage
students to attend class. I believe that the lectures are important. Without
them, you miss the professor's perspective on the material. You also miss
critical information about class assignments.
The Final exam only counts for 20% of your grade. It's
purpose is to encourage you to review the entire body of the course
material. The final exam is based on course background information.
do homeworks, lecture, and labs connect?
This course requires you to a) acquire knowledge of
oceanography facts and concepts (background information), b) conceptual
knowledge of processes that explain how physical phenomena occur, c)
create scientific arguments and think critically about science, and
d) understand how science and environmental policy work together. The
lecture is meant to bring all aspects of the course together. It covers
content, software problems, writing, and other information to help you
do well in the course. The homework, quizzes, and thought questions
focus on background information that you need to be successful in your
lab and writing activities. The labs are intended to help you use the
background knowledge to create coherent scientific and policy positions.