Course Syllabus


GESCI 201 provides an interdisciplinary introduction to geologic hazards and disasters. Topics addressed include plate tectonics, world geography, earthquakes, volcanoes, mass wasting, floods, coastal hazards, subsidence and their impacts on people, history, economics, art, civilization, engineering, and science.

This course uses Google Earth and images of maps. If you have a disability that prevents you from accessing these features, please contact Disability Services.

Program Message

GESCI 201 is designed to prepare you to understand the science behind natural disasters and their impacts, but more importantly, the goal of this course is to train you to think critically about scientific issues. After taking this course, you should be able to identify natural hazards and understand how, where, and why they formed; understand and evaluate news reports, magazine articles, books, and documentaries on related topics; make informed decisions on practical, political, and economic Earth-related issues; evaluate how to buy a home in a safe location; and gain a greater appreciation for the creations of our Father in Heaven.



There are no prerequisites for this course

Required Resources

  1. You must have access to a computer that can run Google Earth software. Chromebooks do not work.
  2. You will need to access or download Google Earth software. Options include the following:
  3. You will be required to use Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides to prepare a presentation that will be saved as PDF.

Proctored Exams and Assessments

This course will use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. This makes it possible for students to take assessments and exams without a human proctor present. Proctored exams can be accessed like any other exam, once the software has been installed. Exams will be recorded by Proctorio and reviewed by the BYUI Testing Center. Any questionable exams will be forwarded to the instructor for further review.

For step-by-step instructions on Proctorio installation, please refer to the student help guide article.


Course Outcomes 

  1. Explain the how, why, where, and what, or the science behind the type of disaster.
  2. Explain when, how big, and what happened, or the basic facts of the event.
  3. Discuss effects on communities, scientific knowledge, engineering, economics, culture, the arts, and politics.
  4. Discuss lessons learned and preparation for future events.

Major Assignments

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes (CO).

Major Assignment Description Course Outcome #
W04 Exam 1 Students will be assessed on disasters, tectonics, and earthquakes chapters. 1, 2, 3, 4
W06 Exam 2 Students will be assessed on the volcanoes chapter. 1, 2, 3, 4
W10 Exam 3 Students will be assessed on mass wasting and floods chapters. 1, 2, 3, 4
W12 Case Study: Submit Group Presentation  Submit your Natural Disaster case study presentation. 1, 2, 3, 4
W14 Exam: Final  Cumulative Exam 1, 2, 3, 4

Weekly Patterns

The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions. 

Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Midweek Prove Quiz Test the student's understanding of the reading.
Midweek Teach One Another Discussion Contribute to the discussion on the topic of the week.
End of Week Teach One Another Shared Insights Complete and report on a shared insights activity.

*Set your time zone within user preferences so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.


This class has weekly due dates. You will not be able to procrastinate and complete the course in the last few days. Study the material to be covered before you begin your various assignments. Take quizzes and tests on time. Assume responsibility for instructions. Participate by asking and answering questions and being involved in your weekly group discussions, group projects and presentations, and reflective journals. Comply with all school policies.


The Academic Honesty clause of the honor code states, "We agree to be completely honest in all our dealings, including class assignments and tests. This means we don't plagiarize material, fabricate or falsify information, or cheat."

In accordance with this clause, we require all submitted work to be in your own words and voice for all assignments, quizzes, and discussion boards. Your intellect and creativity should add something to the material that you submit. "Sharing" assignments with another student, borrowing language from past semester submissions, or copying and pasting from any place carries serious consequences at this university and diminishes your ability to learn. This course uses Turnitin, which is a tool that compares the text of online submissions to other student submissions and internet sites.

Do not upload any of your work or course materials and exams to websites for sharing, such as Quizlet, Brainly, or Coursehero. Do not submit any work from those sites or any other place that is not your own. If academic dishonesty is discovered, consequences may include failing the course, even retroactively.

Please remember the importance of academic honesty. You may read more about BYU-Idaho's policy regarding plagiarism with the CES Honor Code.


Online dictionaries and Google translate are prohibited for use on exams. Paper translation dictionaries are the only outside resource allowed on exams for ESL students.

Grading Scale

Grades are based on an assessment of students' preparation before class, performance on assignments, and performance on exams. Taking responsibility for completing assignments on time is part of your grade. The grade cut-offs are listed below.

Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 100%–93%
A- 92%–90%
B+ 89%–87%
B 86%–83%
B- 82%–80%
C+ 79%–77%
C 76%–73%
C- 72%–70%
D+ 69%–67%
D 66%–63%
D- 62%–60%
F 59% and below

Course Copyright Policy

This course website contains copyrighted materials. Those materials may include text, images, graphics, audio and video clips, and other content (collectively, the “content”). In some cases, the copyright is owned by third parties, and Brigham Young University-Idaho is making the third-party content available to you by permission or under the fair use doctrine.

The content is made available only for your personal, noncommercial educational, and scholarly use. You may not use the content for any other purpose, or distribute or make the content available to others unless you obtain any required permission from the copyright holder. Some content may be provided via streaming or other means that restrict copying; you may not circumvent those restrictions. You may not alter or remove any copyright or other proprietary notices included in the content.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course includes required synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • University Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due