Vince/ Course/ PhysGeol/Geo1405-Fall2021.html

Tuolumne Meadows as seen from Pothole Dome in Yosemite National Park, California. Photo by Vince Cronin.

Homepage: Cronin's The Dynamic Earth, Fall 2021

Revised November 1, 2021

This page functions as the course syllabus, and is not a contract. It is revised frequently throughout the semester.

Reload this page in your browser every time you visit this page to be certain that you are reading the most current course information

Baylor University syllabus statements are incorporated by reference in this document, and are available for you to download and read HERE


Contacting Your Teachers

How To Contact Professor Cronin

Professor Cronin is available to facilitate understanding of course material that you have been studying and to help you navigate around any temporary barriers to your learning.


mobile, for text or voice: listed on the "lecture"-course homepage on Canvas.
Only contact him on his mobile device between 8 AM and 8 PM Central Time, and only if it is an important question/issue related to this course.

How To Contact Your Graduate Teaching Assistant


About This Course

This course is a university-level introductorylaboratory science course compiled and presented by Professor Vince Cronin.

Purpose Of This Course

This course is an attempt to explore and summarize the best scientific understanding of Earth's ~4.6 billion year age, evolution, composition, and major dynamic systems, as that understanding exists in the geoscience community based on published peer-reviewed scientific literature. We want you to become literate with respect to the Earth sciences.

This course will be conducted face-to-face at Baylor University's Waco campus.

Both the lecture and the laboratory parts of this course are designed as "flipped" learning experiences. Students are expected to study the assigned texts and work through the assigned laboratory activities before coming to the lecture or lab meetings. Lecture meetings are for answering questions and supplementing the assigned work with lecture content. Lab meetings are for completing assigned work that each student has already begun. It is the teacher's responsibility to organize work that a student is assigned to do, and to provide guidance and assistance upon request. Student learning occurs primarily through working through the assignments.

Weekly Workflow


Required Textbooks And Online Resources

You must acquire the following resources and be ready to work with them
before the first day of the Fall semester (August 24).
AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology, 12th edition (YOU NEED THE PAPER VERSION) Print Lab Manual ISBN: 9780135836972

Modified Mastering Geology with eText for Tarbuck et al., Earth 13th edition*
This version of Mastering Geology is used within the Canvas LMS.
*Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology, 13th Edition, 2020, by E.J. Tarbuck, F.K. Lutgens, and S. Linneman, with illustrations by D.G. Tasa: New York, Pearson Higher Education, 754 p.
For help getting to the eText of Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology, 13th Edition, view the YouTube video at . This is a video from a prior semester, so look for the Canvas course 202130 GEO 1405 01 - The Dynamic Earth

You can acquire these resources either from the Baylor Bookstore or by ordering them directly from Pearson Higher Education.

You Do Not need to acquire a paper version of the Tarbuck book, unless you really really want to, because the Mastering Geology online resource specified above comes with the eText of the Tarbuck textbook.

If you need any further clarification of this list of required resources, contact Professor Cronin.


"Mastering Geology" Is A Required Part Of This Course

A number of online exercises (homework and dynamic study modules) are assigned for you to complete in Mastering Geology accessed through the Canvas learning management system (LMS). All of them are graded in some way, and all have a due date that is posted on the calendar you can access via Mastering Geology.

To register for Mastering Geology, read and follow the directions provided on the PDF document and follow the links embedded in that document.

To get to Mastering Geology after you have logged in to Canvas, select the Geo 1405 lecture from among the course choices available to you, then select MyLab and Mastering along the left column. This should connect you to Mastering Geology at Pearson. For a bit more help getting to your assignments in Mastering Geology, view the YouTube video . This is a video from a prior semester, so look for the Canvas course 202130 GEO 1405 01 - The Dynamic Earth

If you need any further clarification of this list of required resources, you can email, text, or call Professor Cronin.

Except for valid University excuses with written documentation (e.g., illness, bereavement, athletic, performance), there will be no re-setting of the online assignment deadlines to accommodate people who missed them this semester. If you miss the due date, you will not be able to make-up the exercises for credit.


Lecture and Lab Safety Information

  1. Your safety during all lecture and laboratory sessions in Geo 1405 is your responsibility alone.
  2. You are stongly encouraged to be inoculated with one of the three COVID vaccines that are available at no cost to you on campus and at local pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Walgreen's, HEB). For more information, go to
  3. If you are feeling ill on the day of a lecture or lab-section meeting, (a) do not attend lab while feeling ill, (b) notify your graduate teaching assistant in a timely manner telling them why you are absent, and (c) get tested for COVID and, if appropriate, the flu.
  4. The teachers (a group that includes Dr. Lyndsay DiPietro, Dr. Vince Cronin, Sharon Browning, and the graduate teaching assistants) have the authority to enforce the guidelines and policies that relate to this lab-science course, including requiring non-compliant or non-cooperative students to leave the lecture classroom or lab room immediately.
  5. You are required to wear an effective facial mask over your nose and mouth at all times while attending all GEO 1405 lecture or lab meetings. This is required of all students and teachers in the GEO 1405 labs, regardless of their vaccine status.
  6. You should maintain a sufficient (~1 meter) physical distance between you and other humans while in the lecture classroom and lab room.
  7. You should wash or disinfect your hands before participating in lecture and lab meetings, disinfecting as necessary during the meetings. You should disinfect your desktop or work area as necessary when you leave it, making sure that it is sufficiently dry so that it does not damage any lab books or lab activity/response sheets.
  8. You are required to take care for the safety needs of your classmates and teachers in connection with all lecture and lab meetings and activities.
  9. We will follow the policies and guidelines promulgated by Baylor University and the Geosciences Department in response to the COVID pandemic as the minimum baseline requirements.


Approximate Lecture Schedule

In addition to university holidays this semester (Thanksgiving, November 21-27), Professor Cronin will be out-of-town October 12-14 to participate in the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. There are no lectures scheduled for that week.

The referenced textbook is Earth by Tarbuck and others (see full reference below).

Lecture Dates Chapter in
Tarbuck et al.
Topic and Link
to More Info
Quiz Dates
Mastering Geology
Assignments Due
Aug 24 – Sept 02 Chapter 01 Introduction Practice Q: Aug27-28
Graded Q: Sept 03-04
Sept 04
Sept 07–09 Chapter 02 Plate Tectonics Sept 10-11 Sept 11
Sept 14–16 Chapter 03 Minerals Sept 17-18 Sept 18
Sept 21–23 Chapters 04-05 Igneous Rocks Sept 24-25 Sept 25
Sept 28–30 Chapter 07 Sedimentary Rocks Oct 01-02 Oct 02
Oct 05–07 Chapter 08 Metamorphc Rocks Oct 08-09 Oct 09
Oct 12–14 No lecture currently scheduled for this week.
GSA Annual Meeting, Portland
Oct 19–21 Chapter 09 Geologic Time Oct 22–23 Oct 23
Oct 26–28 Chapter 10 Faults and Deformation
of the Crust
Oct 30
Nov 02–04 Chapter 11 Earthquakes Nov 05–06 Nov 06
Nov 09–11 Chapter 16 Streams Nov 12–13 Nov 13
Nov 16–18 Chapter 17 Groundwater Nov 19–20 Nov 20
Nov 22–26 No lectures this week — Thanksgiving Break
Nov 30 – Dec 07 Chapter 21 Climate Dec 07–08 Dec 08

About Lecture Quizzes

  1. The first quiz is a practice quiz (a Mulligan) that will be available from 12:01 AM Friday August 27 until 11:59 PM Saturday August 28. The purpose of this quiz it to be sure that you will know how to take the graded quizzes that begin September 3-4.
  2. All other lecture quizzes will be available online for ~48 hours on Friday and Saturday and will cover material we studied that week. The focus will be on the matters addressed in the study questions that are posted along with the weekly lecture assignment.
  3. All quizzes for this course will be administered online via the LockDown Browser in Canvas (GEO 1405 01 - The Dynamic Earth).
  4. You will be able to take each quiz at any time during a 2-day time window: after 12:01 AM Friday until 11:59 PM Saturday. The quiz must be COMPLETED by 11:59 PM Saturday, so Do Not Begin A Quiz Within A Half Hour of When It Is Due. If you miss taking the quiz within the time window allocated for it, that quiz grade will be a zero.
    If you fail to complete a quiz during the 2-day period you have been allocated to complete that task, Dr. Cronin would like to be the first to tell you how very sorry he is that your grade will be diminished by that missing grade. Furthermore, he wants you to know (or learn, if you don't already know) how very important deadlines are.
  5. You will have one attempt to take the quiz, and it will have a time limit (usually about 40 minutes).
  6. It is strongly recommended that you take the quiz at your earliest convenience after it becomes available.
  7. You must take the quiz by yourself, without any other human being observing or assisting you. It is intended to measure your understanding personally, not the composite understanding of any group of people. As an ethical matter, the work you submit for credit in this course must be entirely your own work. Cheating is beneath your dignity.
  8. Unless otherwise specified in the quiz instructions, every quiz in this course is a closed-book, closed-notes, no-electronic-aids quiz. Cheating is beneath your dignity.
  9. The contents of the quizzes are confidential and copyrighted (© 2021 by Vince Cronin), so you may not duplicate, share or distribute any part of the quiz contents to others in any form (verbally, in photographs, in screen shots, in transcriptions, in colorful sidewalk chalk art or cave paintings, etc.) Helping others to cheat is dishonest and reprehensible. Cheating is beneath your dignity.



The Laboratory Is A Required Part Of This Course

  1. Lab meetings begin August 31-September 2.
  2. The homepage for the Geo 1405 laboratory includes the current lab schedule and, embedded as links in the schedule, the lab assignments. The lab homepage is accessible via
    The links to each lab assignment will become active as the assignment becomes relevant throughout the semester.
  3. Students who do not complete and submit at least 75% of the assigned laboratory activities will automatically receive an F as their course grade.
  4. No credit will be given to any response that is difficult or impossible for a graduate teaching assistant to read or interpret. In order for a response to receive credit, it must be clear and correct. It is the student's responsibility to review any PDF document submitted for credit to be certain that all of the responses are clear and easily legible.
  5. The end-of-lab quiz must be completed via the Canvas LMS within 6 hours after the end of your laboratory section meeting (e.g., due before Thursday at 8:25 PM for a lab scheduled on Thursday 12:30-2:25 PM).
  6. The original paper copies of your completed lab activity response sheets (torn from your lab manual) must be submitted to your laboratory teaching assistant at the end of your lab meeting each week. For example, the completed answer sheets for activities in lab 1 are due at the end of the meeting for lab 1.


Grades and Grading

The 75% Rule

The Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences has had a rule for many years that a student automatically fails a course in which they are not present for at least 75% of the lecture and lab meetings. This course employs this grading criterion. In addition to the attendance requirement, a student can only earn a grade above an "F" in this course by completing and submitting (on time)...

About Accessing Your Grades

Grades in the main part of this course are accessed through the Canvas account associated with the "lecture" section. Grades for the lab part of the course are accessed through the Canvas account for each specific lab section, and are posted by the corresponding graduate teaching assistant.

Credit Distribution for Grading

Tentatively, the raw percentage grade in this course will be based on the following approximate weighting:

Mastering Geology online Dynamic Study Modules and Homework 20%
Lab work (lab activities, end-of-lab quizzes) 25%
Topic quizzes (one given after each topic) & final-exam 50%
Occasional homework outside of Mastering Geology, and submission of all original paper copies of completed lab assignments (due by May 3) 10%
Raw percentage grade 100%

The weightings presented above might change before the end of the semester. Remember, this syllabus is not a contract.

Final Course Grade

For students who complete and submit at least 75% of the assigned work, the final course percentage grade will be determined using an equation like the following:

Final course percentage grade = {A + B + (C x [1.0 - (A + B)])}, where

Professor Cronin determines the values of the translation and compression factors, and the same factors are used for all students in the course. Standard rounding procedures used throughout science will be employed in the conversion of decimal percentages to integer percentages. Based on the final course percentage grade, letter grades are assigned as follows:

Final Course Percentage Letter Grade
93% to 100% inclusive A
90% to 92% inclusive A-
87% to 89% inclusive B+
83% to 86% inclusive B
80% to 82% inclusive B-
77% to 79% inclusive C+
73% to 76% inclusive C
70% to 72% inclusive C-
67% to 69% inclusive D+
60% to 66% inclusive D
below 60% and all students who do not exceed the thresholds described in "the 75% rule" F


Academic Success

I have high academic expectations for you in my course.

If you find yourself struggling academically, you should consider seeking assistance through the Paul L. Foster Success Center in Sid Richardson ( ).

While I am here to facilitate your learning, responsibility for your learning is yours alone. You will need to commit yourself to taking the time necessary to study and to take care of your mental and physical health by getting enough sleep, exercise, and good food every day. There are many distractions during the semester, but it is your responsibility to fulfill your most important responsibility — to learn.

If you have any questions or comments about this site or its contents, drop an email to the humble webmaster.
All of the original content of this website is © 2021 by Vincent S. Cronin