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Spring 2018 Online Course Guidelines
CRN 23426, 8 weeks,4/2-5/26

Last updated: May 19, 2018 7:21 AM

Please send ALL e-mail correspondence to I do not use MyGateway and I do not use my fullcoll email address for correspondence with students.

DEFINITION: Facts are pieces of information that exist (or have been known to exist), that can be shown by observation or measurement to exist, and that have a basis in objective reality (independent of the observer).



These course guidelines are what this course is all about. Make sure you read them very carefully.

MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: 1) Put students first; 2) Always be prepared; 3) Never give up, never surrender. 4) Inspire wonder. 5) Make a difference. I promise to do my best to follow these principles every day.

WHAT I EXPECT FROM YOU: 1) A desire to learn because you understand the importance of education to your family, your future, and your happiness; 2) The motivation to learn how to learn because knowing how to learn secures your place in the world as a skilled and thoughtful and independent human being (not ruled by the opinions of others); 3) Respect towards me and your classmates because everyone is doing the best they can given their level of awareness, because not everyone has had the same opportunities in education and life, and because a world in which people respect each other is a kinder, safer, and more beautiful place to live and love. I hope you will do your best to follow these principles, learn from them, and make them a part of your life.

COURSE SYNOPSIS: Meteorology provides an introduction to the science of the Earth's weather and climate, including thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, El Nino/La Nina, and global climate change. This is primarily a physical science course. You are now a physics student. Post it on SnapChat.

COURSE DIFFICULTY: Many of my students find the material in this course very difficult. But, by taking this course and successfully passing it, my students are prepared for anything they take at a four-year college and beyond. The skills and ways of understanding learned in this course can be applied to your career and your personal life. Adopting successful habits of mind and learning how to learn anything are key outcomes of my approach to teaching. And challenging students to be all that they can be is my sworn duty.

BASIC SKILLS: If you are enrolled in basic skills reading, math, or English, please contact me before proceeding with this course. Only about 15% of basic skills students pass this class because they are not prepared to study at a college level. If you're willing to work extra hard, then you should be okay. But an online class is brutal for any student, much less a student who isn't all that into college.

TECHNOLOGY: I expect that everyone enrolled in this course knows how to use a computer and the Internet. I also expect that you know how to use a word-processing program, and how to save or export a document as a .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf. Even Pages for the Macs can export Word files. You'll also need to come up to speed with Canvas, if you aren't already familiar with it. If you don't know how, please be willing to learn. You'll find lots of help on the internet, especially YouTube. Heck, you can even email a classmate to ask for help and make a new friend!

ACADEMIC HONESTY/COLLEGE POLICIES: All college, district, state and federal policies, guidelines and regulations apply to this course. The Fullerton College Catalog and the Class Schedule contain a number of important policies and guidelines. Check them out. You may purchase copies of these publications at the campus bookstore, or you may read them online at the Fullerton College website, Students are urged to review the FC Catalog policy on Academic Honesty. If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero for that assignment or exam. Repeated offenses have stronger penalties.

NO COPYING OR QUOTING: I do not allow students to copy or quote other works in this course. Use your own words always. This policy applies to everything you submit, including participation assignments, homework, exams, extra credit, and anything else you submit for credit. Copying or paraphrasing a single sentence from another student, Wikipedia, any other source, and even yourself will result in a zero for the entire assignment or exam. Using images, figures, or other forms of multimedia that are not your own is also prohibited.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS: All online students must log in to the CANVAS Course Management System (see below) by the third day of the semester (Wednesday, January 31) and take the syllabus quiz or they will be dropped as a no-show. Students who fail to log in during any two weeks of the semester (consecutively or non-consecutively) will be dropped for non-participation.

DROP POLICY: It is the responsibility of the student to drop the course regardless of attendance requirements. Do not rely on your professor to drop you for any reason. Failure to drop a course may result in a failing grade (F) for the semester.

STUDY REQUIREMENTS: Students may expect to spend 18-24 HOURS PER WEEK COMPLETING WORK IN CANVAS AND/OR STUDYING for this accelerated course. This time includes time you would otherwise be sitting in a classroom and the recommended study time for a 3-unit, 16-week course. Students are urged to review the suggestions provided in the FC Course Catalog concerning workload and class load. Consider reducing your work hours, spending less time with friends and family, limiting social media time, and other wise time-management strategies that will help you find time to study. You can find time if you use time wisely.

LATE WORK: I don't accept late work for any reason. Having worked in the business world for several years, I can assure you that showing up on time and submitting work on time is expected. Timeliness is next to godliness.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) STATEMENT: Fullerton College is committed to providing educational accommodations for students with disabilities upon the timely request by the student to the instructor. Verification of the disability must also be provided. The Disability Support Services office functions as a resource for students and faculty in the determination and provision of educational accommodations.

FULLERTON COLLEGE CATALOG AND CLASS SCHEDULE: The Fullerton College Catalog and the Class Schedule contain a number of important policies and some great tips on studying. Please browse or read these publications for the parts that are important to you. You may purchase copies of these publications at the campus bookstore, or you may read them online at the Fullerton College website. Current Schedule: College Catalog:

STANDARDS OF STUDENT CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE POLICY: As cited in BP5500, “A student who violates the standards of student conduct shall be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, the removal, suspension or expulsion of the student.” The standards of student conduct and disciplinary action for violation of Board Policy 5500 were approved by the NOCCCD Board on January 28, 2003, and were drawn in compliance with Sections 66300, 76030, 76033, 76034, 76036 of the State Education Code. Students are expected to respect and obey civil and criminal law and shall be subject to the legal penalties for violation of the city, county, state, and national law(s). Student conduct must conform to Board Policy and college regulations and procedures.

As noted above, students have an obligation to familiarize themselves with the College’s policies, rules and regulations and to conduct themselves in a reasonable, respectful manner, which is conducive toward attaining their educational goal. Upon registration, each student should obtain a copy of the College Policies and Regulations: Standards of Student Conduct and Discipline Policy. Contained therein are the policies approved by the Board of Trustees governing student behavior and the applicable penalties for violations of these policies. Copies are available in the Student Affairs Office, the Office of Equity and Diversity, all division offices, and the Student Services office.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE STATEMENT: An earthquake or extreme weather event may happen at any moment. Take note of the safety features in and around where you complete your work. Note the posted evacuation routes. During strong earthquakes, it is recommended to duck beneath a desk, cover your head with your hands, and hold on to your ass until the quaking stops. Running out of a building during an earthquake can be deadly. Didn't you hear "The Rock" in San Andreas?

UNDECIDED ON A MAJOR? Why not pursue a career in Oceanography, Meteorology, Geology, or Earth Science? You may be amazed at the opportunities for students in this field. If you are interested in business, technology, computers, working with machinery, public relations, marketing, law, physical fitness, medicine, health and just about any other subject, we need you! All that's required is a passion for the ocean. Just ask me.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. define the major terms and concepts of the physics, chemistry, and biology of the atmosphere
  2. interpret and apply quantitative information, including weather maps, graphs, and tables of data
  3. use the terms and concepts of meteorology to explain human impacts on the atmosphere.


Our textbook for this course is the SEVENTH EDITION of Essentials of Meteorology by Donald Ahrens of Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California (east of San Francisco). This edition is substantially updated from previous versions, especially in the climate change section. It is very expensive new but it can be rented or purchased used at a substantial savings. Note that I am using the complete version of the textbook. I am no longer using the custom edition with a limited number of chapters. The page numbers in the syllabus below refer to the complete edition of the textbook.

You'll be lost in this class without this book and you'll most likely fail without it. Invest in yourself and your future. Buy the textbook required for the course. The textbook is available through the Fullerton College bookstore, and elsewhere.

The cover of the book looks like this:

Author: AHRENS
ISBN-13: 978-1285462363
ISBN-10: 128546236X
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Edition: 7
Copyright year: © 2014
Pages: 544


The following websites serve our course. Try to become familiar with them in the first week of classes, or you may feel lost. Read very carefully the directions to log in to Canvas. This isn't Instagram or Snapchat. It's real life.

MYGATEWAY: This is a portal to Canvas but I don't use it otherwise. At all. For anything.

CANVAS: This course uses CANVAS as a Learning Managament System (LMS) to provide announcements, quizzes, exams, lecture notes, grades, and other materials and assessments related to the course. All students are expected to log in at least 2-3 times per week to adequately prepare and study for materials covered in class.

You may gain access to Canvas through the link on MyGateway. Once logged in, go to the Fullerton tab, scroll down to the Canvas icon, and click on it for your Canvas dashboard. If you are experiencing difficulties logging in through MyGateway, go to Login using your MyGateway credentials (with no @sign in front of the Banner id.)

Canvas is new to Fullerton College, and, in my 21+ years of experience teaching at FC, there are bound to be challenges. Just be patient, contact me immediately, and I will work to solve your problem. Of course, you have to leave time for me to help you. Cries for help at the last hour go unheeded. Do your work often and early just in case...

If you're having difficulty, or just want to know more about Canvas, you may also try try this website:

TEXTBOOK WEBSITE: The textbook site,, features practice quizzes, Flashcards, and other learning tools that will help you in this course.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS: Helpful videos for this course are posted in two places:

Science Nuts!

Professor Sean's Lectures:

ANYTHING ELSE? If you are looking for anything else and can't find it, by all means e-mail me!


Please send ALL e-mail correspondence to When you send me e-mails, please always type a SUBJECT for your e-mail (like "Help", "a quick question", question about exam", etc). E-mails with untitled subjects will end up in the spam folder.

ALWAYS put your FULL NAME, COURSE (Weather and Climate), and CRN (see above) as the first line of all e-mails.

If you don't hear back from me in 48 hours, send your email again.

Please don't send me e-mail through MyGateway. I won't get it until next summer.

Please avoid sending email to my fullcoll address.

Please be courteous! I promise to treat you with the manners and respect that you deserve if you promise to treat me the same. I am more than happy to listen to reasonable and rational statements. If I have made an error, I am more than happy to correct it.

Kindness applies to your classmates as well. A colleague with cancer writes at the end of e-mails..."Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you know is fighting a battle of some kind!"


I welcome visits from students during my office hours! For best results, however, please send me an email and let me know that you are coming so I can be on the lookout for you.

Campus office hours are Mondays, 12-1p, and Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30p, in Room 1250-06 (behind the 400 building in the 1200 building).

I also hold virtual office hours online in ConferZoom on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00a-Noon. You will need to self-register for my "Office Hour Course" (ESC-ALL) using this link:

In addition to the chat room, you'll find a number of useful tools and resources in my office hour site.

If you need to see me outside of these times, please email me at I will do my best to accomodate you.


The goal of college is to prepare yourself for a successful life and a career beyond college. In taking this course, you are being trained to master an unfamiliar knowledge set, to apply what you learn in new situations, to think about competing possibilities, and to articulate your rationale for choosing a particular way of thinking.

Your final grade in this class is based on your ability to learn and understand the course materials and to meet the learning outcomes for this course. A number of tools will be provided for you to learn the materials, obtain the knowledge, and develop the understandings to meet these outcomes. Not all of the available tools earn you points but you can bet that if you spend time learning about the ocean, you are going to be successful in point-earning assignments. Some of these tools will help you form your knowledge (formative assessments). Other tools will assess what you have learned (summative assessments).

Suggested reading and study materials can be found in the Course Syllabus that follows this section.


Canvas allows a structured learning environment designed to enhance learning and promote higher student success. When you enter the course, you will see a menu of weekly modules. The preliminary module contains background materials for helping you to learn how to learn better, and it includes the Syllabus Quiz, which you must complete by the third day of classes to avoid being dropped as a no show.

Weekly modules contain the reading materials, videos, assignments, and quizzes for each week of the course. Note that the materials must be completed in order and that you will not be permitted to advance to the next topic (or the next module) until you complete each part of the module. In some cases, this simply means viewing the material or responding to a simple short answer question. For quizzes, you must acheive a particular score before you will be permitted to advance. Once you complete a module, you will be permitted to advance to the next module.

You are invited and encouraged to work ahead. You may always go back later to review earlier material and you may always retake a quiz. Find a schedule and pace that works for you. Do your best to do a little bit each day. You're life will be less stressful and you'll thank yourself in the end if you keep up with (or even ahead of) the work!


Quizzes keep your brain sharp. They provide immediate feedback on what you have learned. They help point out gaps in your knowledge and shortcomings in your study techniques. In this course, quizzes are aimed at helping you master the vocabulary of oceanography, work out solutions to math problems, and develop a better understanding of the concepts. A mastery of terms provides the foundation for everything else that we do in the course, and an understanding of the concepts builds a framework for understanding the world ocean and how it works as a system. Quizzes are an integral component of the "learning how to learn" pathway.

You are required to complete 15-20 quizzes during the semester. I encourage you to complete them in the week in which they are assigned, if not earlier.

Quizzes may be taken an unlimited number of times during the weeks in which they are offered. But beware! Quizzes have due dates. Typically, a new set of quizzes comes online and an old set of quizzes goes offline every couple weeks. Look in the Modules section of syllabus for specific due dates.

Your highest quiz score will be counted. Note, however, that even if you score a high score on the first quiz, it's worth your time to take the quiz several times. That way you will be better prepared for the exams or final exam that take most of their questions from the quizzes.

Quizzes are worth a various number of points, usually 20-30 points each, and are scaled to 50% of your total grade.


Exams assess your ability to identify, define, and use vocabulary from lectures, textbook readings, in-class work, out-of-class work, YouTube lectures, or other study materials. Exams assess your ability to draw and/or interpret maps, graphs, and tables and solve equations covered in lectures, textbook reading, in-class work, out-of-class work, YouTube lectures, or other assigned materials. Exams assess your understanding of concepts and your ability to apply and communicate what you have learned.

Exams will be a mix of multiple choice, matching, short answer, calculations, map/graph interpretations, and essays, and new exams will build on previous exams. Due dates are posted in Canvas.

You will be given three (3) attempts on each exam. Attempts are meant to accomodate technical problems, not to help you learn what's on the exam, so you will not see your score or what you got right or wrong until after the exam period has ended. For each attempt, some of the questions will change. Your highest score will count.

Technical problems of any kind encountered during an attempt will count as an attempt. You will not be given extra attempts. You are given three attempts to make one attempt good. Make sure your computer and browser are properly set to work with Canvas. Take a quiz to ensure that your computer and internet are working properly.

There are no makeups of exams. Cheating will not be tolerated. Anyone who copies answers from another student will receive a zero.

Exams are worth 100 points each and scaled to 50% of your final grade.


Quizzes: 50%
Exams: 50%


A = 85%
B = 75%
C = 65%
D = 55%
F = <55%


Many students often want a very well-defined, narrow list of things they need to know. That's understandable as, unfortunately, most students just want to get through college with as little effort as possible. But would you want a doctor or lawyer or auto mechanic who "just learned the minimum?" Would you want a school teacher for your children who teaches your children wrong facts and ideas? When the barrista at Starbucks ignores you, or the window clerk at McDonald's gets your order wrong, doesn't that irritate you just a little?

The purpose of college is to give you a better life and to improve the lives of the people around you, your family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans. College expands your mind, exposes you to new ways of thinking, makes you aware of knowledge and ideas beyond your wildest imagination, teaches you to learn how to learn and be prepared for any challenge, opens doors to new opportunities.

I hope that you are here to enrich your mind and your life to the fullest extent possible. Take the attitude that "I want to learn as much as I can" and you will be amazingly successful not just in this course, but in all of your college courses and life. Remember the adage, "Your life is what your thoughts make it."


At the risk of encouraging you to pursue outside activities rather than focusing on learning the course materials, I will make available some extra credit opportunities, up to 50 total points or 5% of your total grade. These opportunities, worth 10 points each, will require attending an event, taking a pic of you at the event, writing up to 500 words about what you learned and why it's important, and posting it in the extra credit section of the Canvas website. All extra credit will be added at the end of the semester after I have completed grading the final exam. The goal with the extra credit is to encourage you to experience important, science-related activities that you might not otherwise attend. It will help you over the edge in some cases, but it's not enough to make up for poor exam grades. Know that your focus should be on your studies, and if you have time, then check out some of the extra stuff.


Week # Week Starting Topics Textbook Readings (in addition to materials assigned within Canvas)
1 Monday, 4/2 The

Earth's Atmosphere

The Warming Arctic and Sea Level Rise

Chapter 1, pp 3-25, including Special Topics 1.1, 1.2, & 1.3

Maps: Videos and Lecture Notes


Appendix C, Weather Symbols

Video: Global Warning Arctic Melt:

HBO Vice: Our Rising Ocean:

1Quiz 1: Earth's Atmosphere and Maps

1Quiz 2: Global Warning and Our Rising Ocean

2 Monday, 4/9

Temperature, Heat, and Heat Transfer

Electromagnetic Radiation and the Greenhouse Effect

Earth's Seasons

Chapter 2, Temperature and Heat Transfer; Radiant Energy; the Greenhouse Effect, pp 29-46

Chapter 2, Earth's Seasons; pp. 46-55

1Quiz 3: Heat, Heat Transfer, Electromagnetic Radiation and the Greenhouse Effect

1Quiz 4: Earth's Seasons


1All of the above due no later than 1155PM, Saturday, April 14, 2018.

3 Monday, 4/16

Air Temperature, Daily Temperature Variations

Evaporation, Condensation, and Saturation; and Humidity; Dew & Frost, Fog, and Clouds

Chapter 3, Air Temperature, pp 58-81

Chapter 4, Humidity, Condensation, and Clouds; pp 85-119

2Quiz 5: Air Temperature

2Quiz 6: Evaporation, Condensation, and Saturation; and Humidity; Dew, Frost, Fog, and Clouds

4 Monday, 4/23

Atmospheric Stability and Cloud Development

Precipitation Processes

Chapter 5, Atmospheric Stability and Cloud Development, pp 123-134

Chapter 5, Precipitation Processes, pp 134-153

2Quiz 7: Atmospheric Stability and Cloud Development

2Quiz 8: Precipitation Processes


2All of the above due no later than 1155PM, Saturday, April 28, 2018.


Monday, 4/30

Air pressure, pressure gradients, winds, geostrophic winds

Atmospheric Circulation: Local and Global Winds

Chapter 6, Air Pressure and Winds, pp 157-182

Chapter 7, Atmospheric Circulation, pp185-219

3Quiz 9: Air Pressure and Winds

3Quiz 10: Atmospheric Circulation

6 Monday, 5/7

Air Masses and Fronts

Squalls, thunderstorm formation, tornadoes

Chapter 8, Air Masses, Fronts, and Mid-Latitude Cyclones pp 223-254

Chapter 10, Thunderstorms and Tornadoes, pp 287-329

3Quiz 11: Air Masses and Fronts

3Quiz 12: Thunderstorms


3All of the above due no later than 1155PM, Saturday, May 12, 2018.

7 Monday, 5/14

Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones

Climate Change: Past and Present

Chapter 11, Hurricanes, pp 333-363

Chapter 13, The Earth's Changing Climate, pp 396-428

Study Intro and Chapters 1-2 of the Global Warming Primer

Watch Taking Earth's Temperature

4Quiz 13: Hurricanes

4Quiz 14: Climate Change


8 Monday, 5/21

Global Warming and Coral Bleaching

Finals Week

Study Chapters 3-4 of the Global Warming Primer

Watch Chasing Coral on Netflix

4Quiz 15: Global Warming

4Quiz 16: Chasing Coral


4All of the above due no later than 1155PM, Saturday, May 26, 2018.