GEOG 265 (Introductory Physical Geography I) is a three-credit introductory geography course that concentrates on the exploration of the geographic patterns and dynamics of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, covering the topics of global radiation, energy and water budgets, temperature and precipitation patterns, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, weather components, and climates. There are no prerequisites for this course, though students should note that there is a home lab component.
Introductory Physical Geography I is made up of ten units: five tutor-marked exercises worth ten percent each for a total of fifty percent, one midterm examination weighing twenty-five percent, and a final examination weighing twenty-five percent. Throughout this course students will learn about topics such as solar energy, seasons, global temperatures, weather, water resources, global climate systems, and oceanic circulations. To receive credit for GEOG 265, students must achieve a course composite grade of at least a fifty percent and must achieve a minimum grade of sixty percent on each examination. Both the midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator.
Lionel Pinkhard has been studying at Athabasca University since March of 2016. He started GEOG 265 in March of 2018 and wrote the final exam and finished the course by the end of August. When asked to describe what he liked and disliked about the course, he states “The readings were entertaining, the assignments were interesting, and the tutor was helpful. I liked the fact that the tasks focused on the practical application of concepts taught, which was an excellent way of learning. However, GEOG 265 is quite challenging, especially for a two hundred level course. The assignments often required connecting several pieces of information to get to the answers. This course is exciting and quite fun at times, but I would not say that it is easy.”
Lionel describes the course, “In GEOG 265, you can learn about the relationship between the Earth and the Sun, the seasons, the weather, and how the Earth’s systems function. You can learn everything from how the Sun provides energy to the Earth, to how underground water flows beneath its surface. Meteorology forms a significant part of GEOG 265, so students are expected to understand things like clouds, storms, and water balances. There is also quite a bit of content on how humans affect the balance of the Earth’s systems, and what can be done to restore it.”
When asked to describe the course to someone who has not yet taken it, he states “There are five tutor-marked exercises in this course, which generally require that the student draw some graphs, perform some calculations, and answer some questions describing the phenomena being discussed. The assignments are relatively short, with answers usually no longer than a short paragraph, but some of the exam questions require slightly longer writing. The marker is quite forgiving, in my opinion, and the feedback is constructive.”
He continues, “The assignments served well to help prepare for the exams, but it was also essential to read and understand the content in the textbook. Both the midterm and final exams were a mix of multiple-choice, short answer, and long answer questions. The time limit was three hours, but the exams did not take nearly that long. They had the usual allowances of pens and scratch paper. The midterm and final exams each covered half of the textbook, so it was not necessary to study the whole book at once.”
Overall, he would recommend this course, stating “Yes, if you are interested in the subject and do not mind putting in some effort. It is not a course to finish in a week, nor one that you can cruise through without effort. It is, however, enjoyable and not overly burdensome.”
When asked if he had any tips or tricks or helpful resources for students, he states “A globe and some mathematical instruments are quite useful, but a set of pens and a ruler will suffice. The course package includes an atlas and a CD with animations. I would say the essential thing in this course is to make sure you understand the content, not just memorize it.”
He concludes, “All the course materials are printed, so you will get to work with actual textbooks. Students should note that they will need a scanner to scan all of their assignments.”
Whether GEOG 265 is a degree requirement of yours or the topics above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning a lot of interesting topics surrounding the Earth and its characteristics!