FRS 145 & 149 Earth's Changing Surface and Climate [ST]

Professor: Adam C. Maloof

How does Earth's surface evolve in response to internal (e.g., tectonic), external (e.g., extraterrestrial), and anthropogenic (e.g., engineering and resource use) forcing? This course is composed of weekly 3-hour seminars on the size and shape of Earth in our solar system, topography,gravity, tectonics, climate and Earth history designed to provide a basic understanding of the processes that shape Earth's surface. We emphasize data collection and analysis using free internet data sources and software such as MatLab and ARCGIS. The centerpiece of the course is a 7 day field trip to the Mono-Inyo Crater system on the south shore of Mono Lake, where students combine geologic observations with quantitative measurements of topography, gravity, and weather to tell a story of Earth surface change in the region. The course culminates in group presentations and written reports that combine original field observations, internet data sources and modern software. Field Trips: Californa [7 days], New York [2 days], Campus [2 afternoons] [Fall '06(19), '07(20), '08(14), & '09(16) with F.J. Simons].

Spring 2008-2009, 2009-2010 Student Evaluations
Overall quality of the course (n=9) 3.75/5.0    3.43/5.00

1. In thinking about the overall quality of the course, please comment on what you got out of the course. What did the instructor do particularly well, and in what ways might the course be improved?

Adam Maloof is probably the best professor that I have ever had. His enthusiasm for teaching is unmatched. On the trip to California he taught us how to analyze each geological region to come up with our own solutions to the problems that we faced. I would recommend anyone who has the opportunity to take a class from Adam to do so.

Adam is truly willing to help students. No student should hold back questions or concerns about the material covered because he does his best to answer all questions in the most comprehensible manner. He is also extremely passionate about geology; his excitement makes information more interesting. His devotion to his course is probably the best reason I could give for taking one of his classes.

Adam Maloof is one of the best professors I've had at Princeton University, and after FRS 14[5] and the breathtaking visit to the Sierra Nevadas he even had me (a humanities person) seriously considering geology as a major. My final paper written for the class is one of my strongest and most interesting academic endeavors, and Adam was extremely helpful in taking a lot of time to help me not only shape the paper but analyze concepts and sift through information. Adam's enthusiasm is infectious, and his knowledge seemingly bottomless. I am constantly amazed by his patience and willingness to sit down and explain and re-explain concepts until students understand them. I have never seen Adam without a smile, and his concern for students and love of teaching is evident in everything he does. He’s humorous, down to earth (no pun intended), organized, detail-oriented and simply a great teacher. In exchange, he expects a high level of commitment to the course and workload, and if you hate geology, you may not enjoy the in-depth exposure he'll give you. However, you're guaranteed to learn a lot and have a final project or paper of which you'll be proud.

First, thank yous and thoughts about the professors. Adam is an inspiration! His dedication and passion for the subject is amazing. He is a walking encyclopaedia and is always willing to share knowledge. He is always available for help via e-mail or by meeting up, and he is also a joy to talk to on long road trips. Frederik too, is a less cynical House-like (hence funny) companion on a road trip. Frederik's help to the tree team was amazing. And also in general, his Matlab genius gives him a glowing aura of computer-awesomeness. I enjoyed talking to Prof. Phinney throughout the California trip. He would point out interesting things along the away to the stragglers behind and share his immense experience and insight as well. This course is excellent, very hard but worth every ounce of strain. :) As every student would, I would ask that the pace of the course be brought down a bit, but that would take something out of the experience no? Maybe 100 trees is not necessary? Maybe 50 trees would be enough? But then again, this 100 tree thing IS a rite of passage. :) So let's stick with it.

Learnt a lot about different rock structures as well as essay writing technique.

I learned how to write scientific papers and got a free trip to California and a chance to see if I liked doing field work. The professors' feedback was always very helpful. The course would be improved by introducing the California projects at the beginning. That way, for each lab, we could know how what we are doing in the lab applies to the field and why we need to know it, and how it relates to the other labs. Also, then we could do more research and learn more about the sites before the trip so that the days in the field would be more productive and we would understand more about what to look for when we were there. At least in my group this year, we ended up with a lot of unusable data because we had bits and pieces of too many things in stead of a full model of the most important things. Linking everything together from the beginning would have made the course much more productive.

I learned quite a bit about statistical analysis, rocks, and analyzing data in general. I think the hands-on areas with guidance from the professors were really helpful. I think the first half of the course could be improved.

I think I learned some interesting things about geology but mostly I am just relieved this class is over.

Adam is very passionate about geology, and its easy to get excited about it too from his enthusiasm. He teaches very well, although sometimes expects you to know some background information which may not necessarily already know. He has high expectations, but is very willing to talk with you if you're having an issue with an assignment or understanding something in class. He also gives very helpful feedback on written assignments. Be prepared to run and leap at top speed over boulders and loose gravel and sheer cliffs if you want to keep up with him on the field trip.

The instructors definitely made themselves accessible to the class, and they clearly put a lot of effort into the curriculum. One thing I really would have liked is a one-on-one meeting with the professors about my final paper. I feel like I spent a lot of time wandering around in the dark before I got a handle on what i actually wanted to write on, and from what I could tell most of the class had the same problem.

I learned a lot more about rocks and trees and other geological stuff. I think one of the coolest things was when I went back home for break, I could tell my parents what kind minerals were in the granite table at this restaurant.

I'm tempted to say make it less intense, but you know what, if it weren't as intense I would not have gotten out of it what I did. So honestly, I'm not sure. Do make a point to warn the poor children from the beginning that they will be living, eating, sleeping, breathing rocks for the next semester.

Was not necessarily interested in all the material (liked the quantitative stuff and geophysics), but still enjoyed the class. Particularly liked the group research project and final paper. I think some people may not be ready not necessarily for the content, but high expectations. The helpfulness of the professors was unmatched by any course I took this fall. Without this, I would hesitate to give the course as good of a review. I think that it might be helpful for the morale of the students if more positive feedback was received from the professors. Some of the students (including myself) felt that they kept on working harder and harder, trying to take into consideration our professor's previous comments without much improvement in their grades. Because of the workload and the way that the material was presented, I unfortunately did not find this course to be as enjoyable as I was originally expecting it to be.

This course has been very valuable to me in that it has shown me how a researcher in science works. From the analytical and observational skills gained, to the papers and presentations, this course will most certainly be very useful to me in the future as I want to pursue a career in research. The enthusiasm of the professors for geosciences has also rubbed off on me (especially Adam). Though I think that the course isn't really geared toward non-scientists or students who might be interested in the subject of geosciences but do not want to spend a whole lot of time doing that (obviously because we go into the subject matter in depth...)

I think Adam and Frederik tried to introduce us to the "real world" of scientific research (exact citation format, strict word limits, etc.). The workload of the course was a bit heavy though -- tougher than 300-level classes, for example.

The course was very enjoyable as a whole, mostly due to the California trip and the supplementary assignments. However, a more diverse array of subjects could have been covered to interest more students. As well, the marking scale was very harsh, understandably, but this made it difficult to self-evaluate one's performance in the course.

The instructors were cool people even if i disliked their grading standards. The class got interesting during the last few weeks when we finally began to discuss the material that was mentioned in the title of the class. It should probably be mentioned in the class description that the class is more about rock identification than climate change.

Taking the course was definitely a good decision, giving me a nice introduction to geosciences. However, it was on the difficult side and expectations were consistently high. Overall, I would recommend this course to any science-oriented peers. Both Adam and Frederik taught the material well in class. I think that this seminar required a little too much work. This seminar is extremely unique and was the highlight of my fall semester. Adam and Frederik were excellent; not only did they care for their subject, but they also cared for the improvement of their students.

This courses teaches the student how to think and how to develop original ideas. The subject area is so vast that it is easy to find one or many more sub-areas of interest. The course taught me a lot about being observant, specific and detailed. I also learned about perseverance and time management from the numerous difficult assignments we got! Besides the trip, however, it did not teach me very much about the geosciences. A lot of the course seemed focused on "doing", in the sense that we learned to use a lot of different software and to complete our work quickly, but we didn't actually learn all that much science. I think a lot of this was because we were constantly rushing from one assignment to the other without much time to properly do the readings, to talk about them, to relate them to one another, etc. Both instructors did an excellent job of answering questions and being specific with their instructions. Adam could try being a bit more approachable though. Many of us found him very intimidating and he sometimes seemed annoyed when we asked questions, which prevented us from doing so as much eventually.

I was very glad that I took the course because it focused most upon the environment, which is my main academic interest, and confirmed for me that I want to continue with environmental research into the future. The instructors were obviously very knowledgeable about the subject matter but had very high expectations. The trip was very helpful in explaining certain aspects of geology, but comments on papers and assignments from the professors could be more helpful critically. Adam Maloof is an extremely accessible and eager professor, and he will answer your e-mails with long and detailed responses to answer any question that you might have. You are welcome to stop by his office any time and he is always glad and enthusiastic to see you. That being said, his expectations are very high and he's extremely sensitive to bullshit. Your papers and assignments will be picked apart. Though this can be annoying, as Princeton students like me don't like to be told that they are doing anything wrong, in general I found his comments and critiques to reflect his conscientious interest and general care for the academic development of the students.

Because of FRS 145, I can't ever look at rocks the same; I am constantly wondering what they're made out of. Adam Maloof and Frederick Simons are both extremely encouraging and they gave me a feel for what geology really is about. The majority of the students felt really demoralized and intimidated because good grades were impossible. The average grade, I feel like, no matter how hard you tried, would be a six out of a ten on any given assignment.

The instructors were very passionate and I know they put a lot of work in grading our assignments, but I feel like the amount of negative comments severely outweighed the good comments and a lot of us just ended up feeling lost and confused and like this class was hopeless.

Basically, this course taught me what it was like to be a scientist. From conducting research to writing papers to making posters and giving presentations, I really felt like I was experiencing (on a small scale) what our professors were going off and doing for real. Interestingly, it was not the lectures that were particularly interesting but the work we put in outside of the lectures - writing, reading, sanding, measuring, coding, and working together - that made this class amazing. The lectures alone would make for an interesting class, but the whole package was a fantastic experience. It was a lot of work, but the work was fun and rewarding. mean that literally: for example, our hard work resulted in a graph that matched our expectations. This class was easily my favorite, and I couldn't recommend it more highly.

I think this class definitely tested my resolve and gave me an introduction to a very interesting and relevant field.

I don't believe that I gained any real usable or helpful knowledge in this course. I would have loved to walk into this class, not particularly interested in geology, and walk out with a bit of inspiration to learn about science but in fact it is the complete opposite. The university takes pride in freshman seminars being great learning environments and learning experiences in a small setting, which truly backfired in this class.

2. Please comment on the quality of class discussion, including the extent of student participation.

Student participation and class discussion are everything in this class. I took this class not knowing a thing about geology and now I can identify different rocks and minerals; this shows how great class discussion are.

Effort was always made to include the students in the lectures, and Adam always seemed to be able to ask the right question to spark a debate or clarify some concept. I really enjoyed the topics we covered in class, and even more so on the trip, when Adam didn't have to draw something on the board: it was actually right in front of you! This opened up a whole new range of possibility for discussion. The thing that I was always most impressed with was how knowledgeable the professors were about everything! I guess I should expect this coming to Princeton, but Adam and Frederik always had the answer, and not only that, but they would expand on it and lead you to something else. brilliant!

Class discussions were informative and useful in general. Student participation was encouraged, although reading the material beforehand was not strictly enforced; therefore, some discussions essentially turned into lectures.

Class discussions were usually interesting except that they failed to explain the basics before moving on to very complicated material. There is a lot of student participation. With three professors and a dozen students, there is room for a lot of classroom interaction between students and professors.

High level of student participation and the quality of class discussion on certain topics was of a high caliber.

Class discussion was usually pretty good. There could have been more student participation at times, but I think that a lot of the time people were too confused about the subject matter (like isostasy) or didn't know what to say (like comments and questions about people's proposals).

Class discussions were kind of tough, but that may have been in part our fault. Student participation was encouraged for the most part.

Some class members didn't seem very willing to participate, but that's a problem with the students, not the professors...

In class, there usually are people sleeping, or staring into the distance as the day drags on... Still, Frederik and Adam do their best to charge on through the interesting and complex concepts that we will need to understand for our labs. :) To be honest, this is the class I initially felt the most stupid and ignorant in, despite or maybe because of my previous background in geography. It was only in California that the things we had talked about and discussed literally CAME TO LIFE. Student participation may be hindered by a lack of preparation by reading up. I personally found myself spending inordinate amounts of time on the lab, having little to no time to do reading before class, and then having another lab to complete. That made things more difficult. I imagine this was the case for other students as well, so it might help to take the pace down a little. California was a different story... I think I learned very much on the trip and people were generally more involved (unless they were misusing their GPS...)

There was some class discussion, but for the most part focused on one half of the class being a lecture and the other half as a lab/hands on activity. In this sense there was great student participation.

The class discussion was relatively good. The professors tried very hard to encourage participation, chose pretty interesting selections, and came very prepared with slides. However, for some reason, not everyone participated (possibly because they did not read or were very confused by some of the denser readings). Those who did participate made the discussions better.

I do feel that this seminar was lacking in the quality of class discussion. A lot of times it felt more of a lecture class than a seminar. Because not many students spoke up in class, it made contributing to class discussion that much more intimidating.

Class discussion was more or less OK, but I think that might also have been our (the students') fault. I know that I wish I'd participated more; sometimes I felt a little intimidated and didn't respond to stuff for the fear that the professors might think I was stupid or hadn't read the readings (although the latter was often true but...). There were some dynamic moments, definitely, but I don't know what it was that made us very quiet at times...

There wasn't much student interaction until the field trip over Fall Break (hard to interact during lectures). After that, people opened up to each other.

Class discussion was integrated into the coursework and the lectures, which helped improve my understanding of the material. However, since a lot of the material was advanced, it was more difficult to get the entire class involved in participation, understandably.

The class discussion was often somewhat stinted by the fact that many of the students were reluctant to participate and or had not done the required reading before hand. Also the professors would often ask the students questions that the students did not know the answer to and spend an absurd amount of time waiting for a student to magically guess the correct answer.

Class participation was not so high at times, especially near the beginning of the semester, but it improved after our trip to California.

Overall, class discussions were intriguing. In the first half of the course, the lectures did not facilitate much student discussion since they were intended to merely instruct, not bring forth a question or debate. However, during the second half, student participation dramatically increased when lectures shifted away from being chiefly instructional. Group projects towards the end of the semester were excellent for class discussion.

The professors put a lot of effort into giving us interesting topics to discuss each week. However, we often did not have enough time to do the reading (or if we did, we could only skim it) because our assignments took up so much time/mental energy. Many of us were unable to actually absorb much information or think about it beyond a surface understanding.

The week-long field trip was the culmination of our discussion and participation, especially as we were prompted to create our own research projects.

Students were rarely involved, class discussion was not much encouraged. Lecturing was common.

Class-time dragged on probably because this was a three-hour class with mostly powerpoint presentations, but I did enjoy the hands-on activities such as the "Campus Walk" lab identifying minerals and rocks in building stones around campus, and looking through microscopes to further analyze it.

In the actual classes, not much. They were mainly lectures with some questions thrown in. Occasionally we would work together on labs in class, but for the most part the classes were lectures. However, the amount of student participation that took place outside of the class hours made up for the lack of participation in class. We were basically required to do a lot of work together outside of class, and discussions outside were what one might expect from a seminar.

Class discussion was at times dead, at other times decent, when everyone has done the reading. Some students are more active than others, as is typical in any course requiring student participation.

Class discussion was extremely confusing and unhelpful. I felt that in class we were taught material that was extraordinarily complex for the scenarios, and not really necessary for any real information we were learning (i.e. learning complex mathematical formulas that were never reapplied later). Presentations were quite dull and not particularly encouraging or exciting. Many people fell asleep in class. When asked for answers, students normally did not know the answers.

The class discussions? They were fine I guess. Usually they were on kind of random topics that didn't really fit in with the general theme of the course (ala the discussions on global warming). But they were alright I guess.

I think there is room to improve. Class is more like a lecture than a seminar. Many girls are lost in the class...

Class discussions fell upon a wide range of interest. I feel that discussions were extremely boring in the beginning of the semester, but they generally gained interest as the semester progressed. I think student participation increased with the progression of the semester too.

The class was split so that about 1/4-1/2 was lecture, and the rest was teacher-led student discussion. The students were very actively involved in talking to each other and with the teachers. There was great discussion, but not everyone participated.

I felt that class discussion was usually dominated by a few people who had a better grasp of the material. However, everyone was encouraged to participate. The subject matter was interesting at times, but for the most part seemed to be scattered without any unifying theme.

Most of the class was taught on a lecture basis with minimal class discussion while we were on campus. However on the trip to California I found that the discussions each night were very helpful to understand the various research projects that we undertook that day. I found that my professors Adam, Frederik, and Bob facilitated discussion to involve everyone's ideas and stimulated discussion very well. When faced with a question that we had to investigate I thoroughly enjoyed the debate format in which we split into two teams to argue two different theories.

The best part of this class was the quality of the students. Class discussions were interesting because of what my classmates had to say. In my opinion, the professors did not do a good job catering discussions and lessons to the wide range of ability/scientific background of the class.

Based on the course format, there was not too much class discussion during weekly classes that involved student participation: structured teaching time was primarily presented as lecture. During the trip, however, student participation was encouraged and sometimes resulted in effective learning e.g. the task of making formation hypotheses about the Inyo Craters process may have marked the nascent understanding of applying critical thinking to geology for a few of the students.

The quality of class discussion varied greatly from class to class. Some days we would have great discussions on articles we read, etc., but other days we would hardly participate at all.

I think that student participation would have been higher if we'd had more time to get a grip on the basics of the subject matter. A rigorous but appropriate introduction to the subject would have helped to ease us into intense study; the transition would have been smoother.

The class discussion was sometimes interesting; at other times it was just to fill in the time. I felt that especially towards the end we were just discussing random GEO phenomenon related paper, which aroused little or no interest in class. I enjoyed the classes in the beginning about rocks and the campus walk and the works in computer programs. Also the sense of focussed discussions related to trip or papers in the start of semester faded away towards the end.

Though many of the classes were focused nearly exclusively on lecture or group-work, the handful of article based discussions were fruitful and active.

Student participation has been an integral part of the class discussions throughout the term. Professors were interested in student opinions and the class managed to sustain its highly interactive discussions through debating various papers focusing on a multitude of geological aspects.

Class discussion was usually dominated by a few class members who really understood the material.

Students were encouraged to participate, but the majority of class discussion was made by the professors. The professors had several informative power points that often went over on their expected time, taking away from class discussion time. I am not saying the power points were a bad thing, they were very helpful in understanding what we would discuss, but possibly practicing a few times before class would help keep them within the expected time slot.

I don't recall having many class discussions. I think class time was usually used for lectures or individual work.

The discussions on the articles we read were ok, although the professors always had the most interesting things to say and so they might as well have been lectures on the articles.

Students participated to the best of their ability, while the professors asked challenging questions, sometimes too challenging in the sense that they expected us to already know the answers they should have been teaching. Even though the same 5 students always seemed to know what was going on because they had the science background to do so, the other students were left in the dark because the instructors did a poor job of explaining.

3. Seminars are taught by a variety of methods. In your opinion, was the presentation of the material appropriate to the subject matter of the seminar?

I believe that as an introductory geology class the lectures were necessary to provide a foundation for our research in California. The stress on individual hands on research to understand the geology at each site was a great strategy.

The presentation of the subject matter was perfect and it was made very clear what was required of you

The presentation of material was appropriate to the subject matter. Our schedule was given well ahead of time; however, the topics discussed did not have a straightforward order.



Some of the lectures were rather boring, and the course as a whole did not seem very cohesive. I think it would have been better to present the California projects at the beginning and then go through each topic and lab as it applied to what we would be doing in the field. Some of the labs (like the tree one) seemed to be a little bit overboard and were more busy work than actual learning of skills and material. We all could have learned to measure trees just as well by doing only 50 or so.

The seminar became much more inclusive toward the second half of the class. I think the trip to California, and the subsequent research, were really appealing aspects of the course.

Yes. Maybe a few more hands-on labs would have been nice... near the end it seemed like we were spending all of our time on computers. I liked campus geology, and the tree survey was fun for the first 10 trees... Can we create a real landslide? Or just blow something up instead?

Yes I think so. Frederik's powerpoints were like geoscience wisdom distilled into pill-size portions, but they were still sometimes hard to swallow. I had to figuratively crush the pill and sift through the powder to understand what was going on at times. I think it would be helpful to have more layman explanations of some of the concepts available online or in the course packet - of the content that is in the powerpoints. Especially with those gravity anomalies. :) If one is sleepy/confused/lost in the seminar, the powerpoints are not so helpful even if one spends much time reading it over and trying to understand it on your own. Adam's style of asking questions to the class is good because it forces us to figure out what is going on for ourselves. If one has not done the reading, it is also blindingly and shamefully obvious when you give a bad answer, or when there is just silence...

I think that the presentation was ok, but for some parts, there was assumptions made that the class already knew some aspects of the class. This made it difficult to understand in some places.

Appropriate? yes. still boring though. I liked it best when we were talking about the labs we had done or actually doing more hands-on computer labs.

Yes, powerpoints and notes on the blackboard were fine.

Most of the time this class felt like more of a lecture than a seminar. Because of the lack of engaging discussion (as addressed in question 3), the material could at times be a bit dry. I think it would have helped if there was a lot more hands-on experiment work (such as the microscope lab) during which the students could get involved during class hours (instead of during homework assignments). Especially at the beginning of the course, I feel that the lectures sometimes assumed that the students had some sort of geology background prior to taking this class, which made the information much more difficult to learn.

There were weekly lectures as well as opportunity to work on our own projects (whether for lab assignments, oral presentations, etc). I think none of it was inappropriate for the content of the seminar. However, there were some lectures for which I can't remember what we discussed and that I felt were too long (some of Frederik's). I couldn't absorb all the info properly so obviously I only retained a fraction of what had been taught.

Yes, it was a good mix of lectures and labs.

The material may have been too technical for some, but I felt that it was suitable in the form of readings and later discussed in class. However, it would have helped to discuss the material with its relevant applications, as this is a personal interest of mine.

Yes, lectures with field activities was an appropriate method for this class. However, it would have been nice if material would be discussed before we were expected to do a field activity on it.

Yes, the material presented directly related to the subject of the seminar, though the emphasis was a little more on "Earth's changing surface" than "Earth's changing atmosphere"

Yes, but I think the title of the seminar should be changed - it is misleading.

Our labs and lectures were very effective at preparing us for out research trip, which is how they were intended.

Presentations were appropriate to the subject matter of the seminar- however some of the assignments seemed unrelated.

Most definitely, the presentation of the material was appropriate to the subject matter of the seminar. We did a lot of hands-on experiments, including a trip to California, and researching an original topic.

I feel like there was a lot of knowledge that was expected of us. I remember feeling really intimidated from the first class because we were asked all these questions about minerals and geology. I'm not science-oriented at all, and I thought this class would mostly be on general climate change and environmental studies. The powerpoints were informative but the class was too fastpaced and I ended up getting really frustrated with a lot of the advanced work we were expected to do: for example, lots of matlab: we were never really taught how to crunch data on matlab, we just had one class on maps, and then the following week we were expected to make graphs on matlab on gravity measurements. Many of us don't have matlab on our computers so we were running around trying to find the program or trying to crunch impossible data on excel. This class just required way too much of us. I was under the impression that freshman seminars would give us a "taste" of a topic, but this was a bit too much for me to handle. I ended up having to drop another science class I was taking because this required lots of out-of-class time and dedication/passion to geology that just wasn't in me.

Um, I'm not sure if I understand the question, but I think yes. The best way to learn these things is by doing them, and we certainly did them - whatever "they" may be. Writing and reading scientific papers, conducting research, programming... whatever it was, we were doing it rather than being told about it, which is the right way to present it.

The seminar definitely tried to get as much information across as possible, and while the course is fast-paced, if you pay attention and work hard, you can probably keep up. Presentation of the material included Powerpoint lectures, going over students' written work, and many labs that involved some pretty cool rocks/equipment.

Yes and no. During class we would learn material that we would need for things later (aka before leaving for California) but in other situations the material was unnecessary (like the math formulas).

This questions presupposes that the seminar presented material in the first place. It didn't. There were random lectures on topics such as geodesy, plate tectonics, seismic imaging, earth history, and more. They were, in and of themselves, fairly good lectures. Some better than others (I'll comment on that later), but considered as a whole, they didn't fit together at all. Nobody in the class had any idea what we were supposed to take out of them. The actual graded assignments had almost nothing to do with the material presented in class, i.e. the graded assignments were just as 'out of left field' as the lectures. Frederik, you totally misread the audience on some of your lectures. You're talking about geodesy and you put up slides with equations involving line integrals and gradients to a class that has people in it who don't know what a derivative is! WHY? When you gave your seismic imaging lecture you had to skip half the slides because they weren't at our level. Seriously, what's the point of introducing Newton's graivty equation as bold(F)=Gm1m2/(bold(r1)-bold(r2))^2 * unit vector, when you could have just said it's proportional to the product of the masses over the distance squared, directed along the line connecting the masses without introducing vector notation?

There are just too much different aspects to address...I don't think we understand all of them.

I believe the presentation of the material was appropriate to the subject. However, I only recall one method of presentation; some variety could have been interesting.

Yes, the lectures were useful and straight forward for the most part. Also, we learned a lot in the field as we moved from place to place, which was especially interesting and fun. The only problem was that not everyone learned the same material since people moved at different paces, and it seemed that only those who kept up with the teachers were able to hear everything.

Sometimes a bit boring...but generally good

According to my opinion, the material was not presented well. A few lectures were given, then we were thrust into the wilderness to apply what little knowledge we had. The basics that should have been covered in class were hardly discussed. Some may appreciate this learn by doing, but I would have appreciated a stronger background in what we were looking at, instead of constantly badgering Jess and Raleigh with questions.

This course was advertised as an introduction to geosciences, with no previous scientific knowledge necessary. I was shocked to find that without a strong science background it was nearly impossible to thrive in this class. The "basics" were almost skipped entirely and professor maloof was impatient when asked basic questions. Students were penalized for not having knowledge that had never been taught!

The presentation of the material was varied. Although all presentation styles were appropriate to the subject matter, the use of powerpoints was probably least effective.

Yes and no. Again, some days, I felt that the more practical lessons were much more useful than the 3 hour long power point presentations. I think that I did not get much at all out of the lecture sessions. However, the more practical days (including the field trip) were very appropriate and effective.

The presentation (our first assignment: the exercise around campus, the trip, and the lab we had to do) was great.

In my opinion, this seminar was very tough and frustrating, although I loved the course as a whole. The method of teaching was "learn by mistakes and discover on your own by wasting hours and hours" rather than being taught. Although I agree with this strategy to a certain extent, some introduction is always helpful. I truly believe Adam is an awesome teacher, but many a times he was too fast for us. He would say stuff which would be too advanced or difficult and he would just keep going on. This happened in the trip which at certain times became an ordeal. I liked the course in spite of the frustration because i liked the material, however people who already had little interest in the material started to hate the course rather than beginning to like it more.

Yes, the professors prepared clear presentations and gave ample explanations and examples.

I do not think the presentation of the material was appropriate. The general subject matter was introduction to geology, including exposure to fundamental numerous ways through which geological observations are made and hypothesis are formed. However, the professors' expectations of students' knowledge were inappropriately high.

The presentation of the material was fine, however, the material itself was disjointed and often presented out of context.

We learned a lot of basics about geology in the beginning to help with fieldwork on our field trip in the fall. After we returned we learned more about the changing earth itself and global warming. Both were taught through required reading and power points. They were presented well.

Yes!! What better way to learn about the Earth than to actually go LOOK at it! DUH!

I thought the most effective presentation of the material involved walking around campus or in California because we could actually see what we were learning about.

There really was no consistent method of teaching. There was also no thread of continuity regarding material presented. It was kind of just a hodgepodge of science that was over the heads of many students. The power point presentations were a very effective and appropriate presentation of the subject matter. Also, whatever wasn't clear from the power points would be made clear by drawing on the board. I also liked having access to the power points after the class through blackboard. The only material that I think wasn't presented in a good way was the arc gis lesson. If you fell behind or did something wrong in the set up or examples it was hard to get lost and have no idea what was going on. Maybe if the instructions should be written down on a hand out in addition to the visual demonstration.

4. Was the amount of reading assigned each week about right, and were the selections appropriate?

Yes, the reading material was enough and did not take a large amount of time.

The reading was manageable and easy.

The reading was always interesting and usually fairly light.

There were no problems with the overall number of pages assigned per week

The reading was always doable and appropriate.

The reading assigned each week was appropriate, and the right length.

It was definitely an acceptable amount of reading... I would have liked a quiz every now and then so that people actually did it.

Generally, the selections are appropriate, but I still had the feeling of being thrown into the deep end of the pool. I feel that there should be reading specifically about what each week's lecture will cover, and the lecture should refer to the readings (as was done this time round). But we didn't get reading about gravity anomalies as far as I can remember.

The reading was marginal and appropriate to the next class.

They were appropriate and totally manageable size-wise, but a couple of times I felt like the material was just too far over my head to really get much out of it.

Yes the reading was fine.

The amount of reading assigned each week was not extensive and the selections were definitely appropriate. However, I believe that the majority of the students were not able to do the readings each week because of the lab assignments that were due. I know from personal experience that I spent at least as much or more time working on this freshman seminar each week than I did for all my other classes combined (about 10-15 hours a week depending on the assignment - definitely a lot more when working on the final team project at the end of the semester). Because the lab assignments took up so much time, there was not much time in a week left to do the reading and therefore class discussion was generally lacking.

The amount of reading was OK, but I never managed to do it because of the lab assignment that took me such a long time to complete. The only reading I ever really did was the one on tectonics, which I thought was superinteresting... and of course the smaller readings at the end of the semester. It is a shame that we never had time to do the readings because I am sure that they would have given me much more background info on the lectures and the class in general. It would have been useful for the trip later for example.

Readings were good, though the first few about minerals were hard to remember. In lecture, Adam asked us for the name of the green mineral (olivine), and even though I read the section, I could not remember most of the minerals.

Yes, the readings were reasonable in size and they were relevant to what was taught in the very next class. the reading was useful and not overburdening. It as also appropriate for the course material.

The amount of reading was not excessive but it was still pretty time consuming. It was not always clear to me where to find our required readings. I did not discover the E-Reserves on blackboard until at least two months into the course.

The class was structured so that in the first half of the course, students learned what they needed to know to gain the most out of the trip to California, and in the second half of the course, students learned and discussed issues related to climate change. This involved small amounts of textbook reading in the first half and small amounts of reading journal articles in the second half. The professors chose selections that were appropriate, but this reading structure could be improved by pairing textbook readings with published articles.

We were not assigned very much reading, but as I have mentioned, we had so much work to do in other areas that we often had no time to do the readings or "think" about them at all. Often we merely skimmed them or read them right before class. Thus I feel that the readings were quite ineffective and did not contribute much to our learning, just because we barely concentrated on them.

There was quite a bit of reading to be done, and sometimes it presented a bit too much work when labs were also due in the same week. The readings were very central to an understanding of the material, however, and I feel that the course packet was a great resource.

Reading was right amount, however it seemed that half of the class did not do the reading...

I thought the amount of reading was not too heavy, in addition I had a lot of time to do the readings.

The selections were relevant and the textbook taught me a lot. It was mostly the labs and assignments that were absurdly difficult. I did enjoy the readings.

The amount of reading was fine. I only forgot to do the reading once, and that was because it wasn't on the syllabus and I didn't write it down (oops). I never felt as though we had too much reading, and in fact the reading seemed like an afterthought, at least towards the end of the class.

The amount of readings assigned was not excessive, but many (including myself) put them off to the last minute, which is never a good idea. The selections were related closely to the material discussed in class.

The readings were fine. A bit long but okay. Again, a lot of times we would read things that didn't seem to apply to anything we were learning.

It was alright. We were never tested on it and it wasn't applicable to any of the graded assignments, so i didn't really take it seriously though.

Some readings are irrelevant to class discussions. I feel discouraged to finish reading.

The amount of reading assigned per week fit well with the course schedule. The selections were often difficult, but class discussions helped.

The selections were interesting and the amount was pretty appropriate, it definitely wasn't an overwhelming amount.


The amount of reading was definitely manageable and then we discussed them. I suppose that counts as "appropriate".

I found the readings to be adequate in length but sometimes unrelated to the general focus of the course. I would have preferred readings concentrated more on subject material relating to our projects in California instead of other subjects in geosciences.

Readings were often far too long (and were assigned in addition to a major lab/essay) and hardly related to the work we did in and out of class. Only two of the readings were appropriate and added to the knowledge we needed to do well on the trip.

The reading material topics, level, and amount assigned were all appropriate.

Yes. The readings were great.

The amount of reading was about right and was very interesting.

The amount of readings were appropriate and sometimes interesting. However, readings about minerals and rocks and readings related to trip and measurements before the trip may have been helpful.

A few of the early articles, apparently meant to give a general foundation in a few areas of geology didn't seem to aid anything we did later on, besides a couple of diagrams. The amount of reading was very good—short enough, concise, and rich with information.

They were right and appropriate, however the main focus of the seminar was the trip to california and the related projects each group was assigned to.Yet, the students were given no information about the kind of projects they were going to be working on before taking the trip. Consequently, the information acquired in the class previously was pretty much useless.


The amount of reading was not too excessive, a good amount. The selections were appropriate as well. We did not always have time to discuss what we read, but they pertained to what we learning about.

The readings were never too much, and they were always appropriate. I really feel like the readings were more to help us with the style of writing needed for the course rather than for actual information, although I always enjoyed reading them, and they were always pertinent.

The amount of reading assigned was good, and the selections were interesting, but it was not always clear how they connected to the course or each other.


I thought the amount of reading was good for the class. I usually found the selections interesting, and I enjoyed how sometimes we would read multiple articles on the same topic so we could approach the topic at different levels. Some articles went more in depth and others spoke to a more general audience which allowed you to understand the overall topic without necessarily getting all the detail in the more in depth articles.

5. Comment on the amount of writing and the pacing of the assignments. Did you receive helpful criticism? Do you believe that the seminar improved your writing skills?

I enjoyed writing all 3 papers. They provided us a lot of room to choose to investigate something we were interested in. The criticism and comments were very rich. I believe that the writing assignments did improve my writing skills.

I think the amount and pacing of the writing was about good. Even though it felt like I was constantly being pressed with time (at the time), looking back, it was definitely doable. I got really helpful comments from the professors, especially Adam. I feel like Frederik made an effort to give feedback but wasn't as involved as Adam. Adam SAVED me for my second paper... if he hadn't answered a particular question of mine it would have gone totally wrong. The seminar definitely improved my writing skills for research papers and provided me with a good methodology.

It was my first time writing a scientific paper, and the first time I had to do research to find evidence to back-up a scientific argument. It was NOT easy. It was definitely very challenging and time-consuming as I had to first understand what the papers were saying, and try and figure out the terminology being used. And then use those pieces of evidence in my paper. Yes I think it did improve my writing skills because Adam and Frederik are both geoscientists and linguists, and are very precise and demanding on word choice. As we can tell from their exercises with the abstracts in class. :) I learned to be specific, concise, clear and distinct. Or at least I learned that I had to try to do so, even if I still fail at times.

There was quite a bit of writing in this course, and the assignments were distributed fairly well. I think the seminar improved my analytical skills, which probably also improved the argumentation in my writing. Especially compared to other freshman seminars, there was a very large workload of assignments and laboratories. The expectations for graded work were very high, making it nearly impossible to earn full marks. However, the criticism was helpful and my scientific writing did improve.

We did not have much guidance on assignments, much time was wasted on trying to figure out how to use complicated computer programs that were ultimately not that beneficial in learning the material. If I had wanted to take a class in programming I would have signed up for that instead.

There are writing assignments (labs or papers) due about every other week, sometimes more often. They really teach one to focus on one's writing, as well as forcing one to develop and explore new ideas.

Received a lot of useful criticism and this helped in aiding me in determining how they wanted essays to be written. There was more writing for this course than any other that I was taking, including the writing seminar. It seemed like a little bit much, especially when there were papers and labs due in the same week and even more so at the end of the semester when the outline of the final paper and the group California project were due only a week apart. Also, the papers didn't always seem to relate to the rest of the course very well. The criticism was very helpful and it did improve my writing skills.

The feedback was definitely helpful, especially of the proposal. I was able to use the feedback to improve my subsequent assignments. I've developed some useful research skills from the three papers, though I don't know if my writing skills have improved a huge amount. Or maybe they have and i just don't realize it.

I think that the writing was adequate and plenty of time was given for most assignments. I helpful criticism was given, but I feel that my writing skills did not improve much over the course.

My self esteem is far worse off, but my science-writing skills and understanding of the process have improved beyond recognition.

The assignments were well planned and appropriately challenging. With other difficult classes, the work load was not light. The criticism was extremely helpful and I think my scientific writing skills were improved.

There were three writing assignments for this seminar and they were spaced fairly evenly throughout the semester. The criticism was a bit helpful, although I do not feel as if my writing skills have improved by taking this seminar. Much of the time, I was not quite sure exactly what the professors wanted in terms of improving my grade - whenever I thought that my writing improved, my grade tended to fall.

Lots of writing, OK feedback. I think my writing (at least in the sense of writing a scientific paper) has improved. Actually, I didn't really even know how to write a scientific paper before this class.

Three writing assignments is a suitable amount. However, it would have helped to space out the assignments' timeline more like the final one, so that we could get proposal and rough feedback for the first two assignments as well. This would have helped improve our skills even more.

In my opinion there were far too many writing assignments given that this was not a writing seminar. Also the grading seemed somewhat inappropriate for the level of the class. The class may have improved my writing skills to some extent. I do think that my ability to write scientific papers has improved but I think I could have used a little more help from the beginning on how to actually go about researching for a science paper. I had trouble finding the questions I should start with. I think that the time allotted to write my papers could have been spent more efficiently if I didn't need to spend so much time trying to figure out what to do.

Three papers amounted to nearly the same amount of work as a writing seminar, but the workload was definitely reasonable. The professors gave long and detailed comments and feedback for our papers, showing that they really cared about our work and our improvement.

I thought the amount of writing was manageable, and both professors provided extremely detailed feedback not just about scientific content but about general writing mechanics. I learned to be a much more careful, thorough writer and to always be specific with any claims I make.

We completed a large amount of writing, and I received plenty of helpful criticism and look forward to further improving my scientific writing.

The assignments were challenging, but the right amount of work. They were graded very harshly though, considering the lack of knowledge the students previously held concerning geosciences.

I did a lot of writing for that class; by the end of the class I was getting very sick of writing scientific papers. At the same time, the criticism I received were very helpful when it came to writing my next paper. This freshman seminar most definitely improved my writing skills and gave me a lot to think about.

Because of the difficulty of the labs, I feel like the amount of labs we had were a bit too much, but the writing was spaced out pretty evenly. The criticism received was usually not complemented by suggestions for improvement, but simply a comment about how one of the professors was "disappointed" by the work that we spent hours doing...My science writing improved, however, and I feel like I learned a lot about how not to include direct quotations, etc.

Ah, there was considerably more writing. In fact, I dedicated more time to the writing in this class than I did to any other of any other course. There were three major essays, and they each required many hours of research and writing. Later papers required data processing which also took a long time. However, the result of this is that I now feel like I know how to write a scientific paper. I had never really read a journal article before and was often confused at its prominence in source-citing guides. Now I understand the flow of information in the scientific community, and I even feel like I'm a part of it, having written a scientific paper of my own (despite the fact that it isn't being published, of course).

Yes, I received helpful criticism on the writing assignment that I turned in. I don't believe the seminar improved my writing skills, but that is at the fault of myself, not the professors. They have published many papers, and are definitely authoritative resources for scientific writing. Again, if you work hard, you'll get something out of it.

Criticism was extraordinarly harsh, to the point of degrading student's work and making students feel incompetent. The seminar did not, in fact, improve my writing skills. During writing workshops, the teachers would point out extremely unnecessary so called "mistakes" and would write degrading comments on papers, on many students not just one in particular, that really destroyed people's self-confidence.

The writing assignments were kind of a disaster. The 'lab' was even more so a disaster. What was wrong with these was that you really didn't give any guidance as to what you wanted, and we didn't really have any idea on the material we were writing about because it had little if any connection to anything we'd done in class. It felt as if you'd taught this class last year and thought there wasn't enough work, so you just added two papers and a lab but didn't really think about how they connected to the rest of the course. The lab was even worse than the writing. I fortunately had at least some idea what was going on, because I'd done a lab on Archimedes principle in AP Physics, but most people had no idea what was going on. I did the lab once with someone (i won't name names) and she didn't know what was going on. Then another person called me up and told me that he or she didn't know what was going on so i did the lab again with him or her. You guys didn't give any guidance on how to do an experiment, or what you wanted, and a lot of people were really lost. The ironic thing is then after we turned them in, you grade as if we all messed up when in fact we had no guidance.

Too much homework. Too intense. Grading is confusing.

The pacing of the assignments was reasonable. Helpful comments were given on each paper, but the comments were so specific to a given paper that they didn't help with other assignments. I don't feel this seminar did much to improve my writing, outside of applying sources properly.

The pacing of the assignments was decent for the most part, but got a bit tight towards the end. The comments were very helpful, aside from Frederik's occasional snarky comments :P. I feel that the seminar improved my scientific writing skills, and reinforced in my mind the differences between scientific writing and humanities essay writing.

I feel like there's too much writing and other work. There're in a sense useful though.

The assignments were paced well, but not exactly what I was expecting. The criticism were mainly based on the fact that I was lacking in creative thought/discussion, a fact that I didn't think was emphasized in the writing assignment directions.

The writing of both lab reports and papers helped me formulate my writing in the style of research magazines. Although the course was a lot of work I found that we had adequate time to work on assignments. The criticism on early assignments taught me how to change and improve my writing for the later assignments.

The writing assignments were very tough, but adequately paced. Criticism was often contradictory and harsh. My writing skills may have improved throughout the course, but that was not due to any help i received from professor maloof.

The open-ended nature of the writing assignments was novel, but good, exposure for most of the students. The professors were very eager to elucidate the intent of the assignments and to offer up time for help. Their comments on the assignments were plentiful and useful. The seminar did not really improve my writing skills because I had difficulty coming around to the style of writing.

The writing assignments were all very vague. I don't know if this was the intention or not, but there were no rubrics, or specific questions. All of the writing assignments (including the final paper) were questions that gave us an almost infinite amount of topics from which to choose, and it made it very hard when trying to organize my papers. The seminar may have improved my writing skills, although I wanted to see at least an example of a true scientific paper.

I think the amount of writing was may be above average for a freshman seminar, since we had papers and labs, however, i feel it was adequate and manageable. I feel that the seminar has definitely improved my writing skills, however, the problem was that there was no helpful instructions before the papers and it was always learning by mistakes which messed up my grades on paper. Teachers should realize that many students including internationals have no previous exposure of writing papers whether scientific or not and it would be help to give introductory help or examples in the beginning. The criticism however was helpful and helped in improvement. However the writing assistants were useless since they were VIPs and were never available when needed. We are students and cant plan ahead every time so they should be available at one or two days notice rather than a week's notice.

There was not too much writing, and the professors' comments on my papers allowed me to improve my skills within the discipline of science writing.

in absolute terms, I do not think the writing assignments were that much and they were given with enough time to complete them without much trouble. However, considering that students take three other classes, and compared to other seminars, it was too much. In other seminars, they wrote only two to three papers, whereas we had to write 3 papers, ranging from 1500 to 2500 in word limit, as well as 3 lab reports.

Yes. Yes.

Writing assignments and take home labs were frequents. The professors would give us a couple of weeks to finish our first writing assignments, but out of class labs would be assigned during that time as well. We had to find our own materials (scales, beakers, ect.) when working on the labs because we didn't conduct them in class - this put the non-natural science majors at a severe disadvantage. Professors later told us we could use the materials in the geolab, but that information was not given to us up front. Writing assignments were intended to be of the same style as scientific magazine articles, and were graded based on their accordance with that structure. I, a non-natural science major had a lot of trouble with this through the entire semester. The professors did give us helpful comments on our papers, but they would often be ones that were out of our control at the time like "taking a physics class would help you with this." Well... seeing as how I am not a physics major and it is halfway through the semester, I think taking a physics class to improve my writing in my Freshman seminar was a little out of my hands. At times I felt very overwhelmed with the pace of assignments.

This class was my most time consuming this fall.

I think the amount and pacing of the writing assignments was perfect. Especially the way they built upon each other. I really felt prepared for the final paper. I know that the seminar improved my writing skills, at least in this genre of writing. I've never written a science article before, and it was awesome!

Having two assignments due on the same day was a bit much, and in general there was a lot more writing than I expected. The comments were helpful and the seminar has given me a better idea of what it means to write well.

The seminar provided helpful criticism and I feel like I know better now how to write a more scientific paper, but I feel that the professors formed opinions about a student after about three assignments and had trouble overcoming that opinion in the grading of later assignments.

We didn't do all that much writing. The lab we wrote up let me know that I don't really know how to write a formal lab write up, but now I have a better idea. The other writing assignments were fun to research and write, and although I didn't really know what I was doing, the feedback was always very helpful at the end. I found the final writing assignment to be very difficult, and I wish I had the opportunity to go to the writing center because I felt like I really didn't know how to write that kind of paper (analyzing our data sets and coming up with an original idea.) However the rest of December was so busy that that didn't happen and with the deadline being the day we got back from break there wasn't much wiggle room. I sure gained an intimate knowledge of Princeton's online geo databases and e-journals while doing research though.

6. Please comment on in-class and out-of-class assignments, hands-on activities, trips, and other kinds of special opportunities, and describe how important they were to the Freshman Seminar.

The field trip was basically the highlight of my year so far and single-handily made the work I put into the class worth it. Not only did I learn about various geologic facts that I could see with my own eyes, I also learned what it felt like to be a scientist, conducting original research in the field and processing and reporting on it. The work that our group had to do after the trip was tiring and long, but it was extremely satisfying to see the results we got match up with our hypotheses and know that it was our effort that generated that data. It really makes me look at data differently, knowing that behind every chart there is a story of the scientists who calculated it. I look forward to more work like this during the rest of college.

The field trip to California was indeed the highlight of the course. It was very important to the seminar, but it should be stressed in the future the importance of collecting data precisely. Lab activities were useful as well.

The trip to California was a lot of fun, and I felt that our research projects were by far the most interesting and relevant assignment we had. I wish we had concentrated more on field work.

Trips and are a huge part of this class. Much of the second part of the semester is based on the trip to California. The California trip is very intense but equally interesting. One can easily learn as much from the field trip as from the whole first half of the semester.

The California trip was absolutely essential to developing my interest in the course. It helped me understand why the material I was learning in class was so important, and it provided the motivation for me to understand the course material better. the California trip was thoroughly enjoyable and enabled everyone in the class to know each other better. The out of class assignments were challenging but not impossible.

The California trip was really cool, and the projects we did on the California field work were also pretty interesting. It was very important to the seminar. The Catskills trip was also good, and helped prep us for California. Many of the other labs and hands on activities were not very good, especially before we knew how they were preparing us for California.

The in-class activities were definitely not as fun as the out-of-class activities. The trips were most important, because we got to see everything that we had just talked about. Plus, we got exercise.

The California trip was amazing, it was fun getting to know the professors that well, and it was great hands-on experience. Some labs I didn't understand, like the one about the planetary bodies. But it was mainly because I still need to figure out gravity anomalies. Another example of being thrown in the deep end - after one time of touching various minerals and copying down Bowen's Reaction Series, we are unleashed on the campus with hand lenses and metal objects to scrape minerals. It was not easy! I didn't really know what I was looking at at first, but I was enlightened later on. All those difficult, time-consuming labs built-up to the California trip itself where the skills we learned were finally applied! I felt more confident on the trip than before, and I am happy about that. I really enjoyed sketching the things we saw along the way, and I cherish my yellow notebook dearly. I would love to have it back soon, especially since it is riddled with battle scars and sand from California.

The trip to California was a lot of fun as well as the campus walks. I feel that there was a lot of out of class assignments that took a good length of time to complete. In class assignments were few but hands on activities were fun.

The California trip was obviously very important. I felt that all of the labs were relevant to what we needed to learn in the class, except perhaps the anomaly stuff which was only really relevant for the paper. The first lab was totally pointless, I felt, except for scaring people off, which it did quite effectively.

They were excellent and fit in very well. The highlight was the California research project.

The trip was obviously an integral part of this course; however, I feel that the trip could have been planned differently so that it would be more engaging for the students. I understand that on the trip we needed to complete research for our final group projects; however, because the trip was so focused on completing the research, data crunching, and getting the work done, there was not much time left for one to enjoy oneself. I am not at all suggesting that the trip should be a trip of relaxation in California during fall break because that is obviously not the point of the trip or the reason why the students took this course. However, the days on the trip that I found to be the most informative, enjoyable and intellectually stimulating were the days where we actually went to areas that did not directly pertain to the research that we were doing. For example, when we visited Mono Lake and the Movie Flats, we were able to learn valuable lessons regarding geological formations while at the same time enjoy the beautiful scenery and not have to feel the intense pressure of working on our final project.

The lab assignments were often unnecessarily long, tedious, and repetitive. They were supposed to train us and teach us skills for the California trip but only some needed to be THAT extensive or that long. I could argue that the mineralogy lab (no.2) needed to be that time-consuming because we were looking at a bunch of different minerals/rock types. But for the GPS assignment it was not necessary to make us walk 2/3 times a day all around campus to track points; we got it already after the first few times we did it. Same for the gravimeter lab - why FOUR hours and 12 floors?? Most of us didn't even end up using the gravimeter at all during the trip anyway. The California trip was amazing, though, in that it gave us excellent hands-on experience in geology, plus that the professors taught us all that they knew about what we saw around us. I feel like I learned a lot more from the explanations they gave us during the trip than from the lectures in class. But again, I feel like some of the basic things that they explained to us in the field could have been answered by doing the readings at home...

The California trip was quite amazing. Sure, it was tiring because of all the field work we did every day, but it was nice to be together as a 16-student group 24/7 for a week. Analysis of the data afterward was a lot of work.

The out of class activities and the field trip were all very important to the class and the learning of the material. However, some of the activities were graded in such a manner that we were expected to make the exact same observations as an experienced doctorate level geologist and this is just not a reasonable expectation.

The California trip was very exciting but I felt like the analysis that took place afterwards was more difficult than it needed to be. Classes that were spent on working on the California projects were not always so productive.

The trip to California was the culmination of everything we had learned in the first half of the class! Not only were we able to see for our own eyes things we had only read about or had seen in pictures, but we were also able to apply the techniques we learned through labs.

The trip to California was an amazing experience and was, I think, the most important part of this seminar. Had it not been for this trip, a lot of the information and skills we learned would have seemed completely irrelevant and dull. We also had the invaluable experience of talking to our professors about everything, both geology related and not. Some assignments were much better than others. The good - the topography assignment, and the first rock assignment, were great exercises in observation. The gravity assignment in Fine Hall was unnecessarily long and was not ultimately of much use. I also think the "test" after the trip was unnecessary and seemed to take away some of the fun/happy memories we had of the trip.

The trip was central to the seminar, as it guided our classes in the weeks leading up to it, and was the topic for our presentations and papers in the time following it.

The trip to Death Valley was very intellectually stimulating and very fun. however, many of the out-of-class assignments (particularly the end of semester project) required tons of work compared to my other classes.

All the in-class and out-of-class assignments were very important to the Freshman Seminar. During fall break, we went to California in a field trip. All the assignments before the trip to California were aimed at preparing us for the hands-on activities in California. In addition, going to California showed me exactly what I was studying. The trip was a one-time, great opportunity as we went to Death Valley area in California and got to experience doing actual research in the field (sand dunes, forests, craters, etc.) I learned a lot on this trip and felt like it brought me closer to my classmates and professors, and although the work was tedious, this made me enjoy the class a bit more than I did.

The fall break trip to the Sierra Nevadas was a great experience for any geology enthusiast. It was well-planned, the professors were in their element, and students do some cool hands-on projects. Definitely memorable. The class then culminated in a final group project, which was a lot of work but allowed us to present some fascinating data. Assignments often involved going around campus and doing hands-on things. I'd definitely say out-of-class activities were vitally important to the experience of the seminar.

In-class assignments were tedious. Out of class assignments were confusing and uninteresting and were graded harshly. Hands on activities were not fun, they were complex because nobody ever learned the actual material. The trip was fun but on group days was boring and exhausting.

The trip was fun. I had a great time. We all developed a good, relaxed demeanor with one and other. The trip was kind of a mess. Three professors seem to tell people different stuff on the same topic.

The trip component of the seminar was very beneficial. It was the simplest and most interesting way to incorporate all the concepts learned in class. I feel that the trip helped me understand the course more so than any of the assigned reading. The trip was one of the best weeks of my life -- hands down. It was very informative and intense, but I feel that an immersion in this type of subject is probably the most engaging way to learn about it. Without the trip, I feel like I would have still learned a lot from the trip field trips around the campus and readings and such, but it wouldn't have made such a lasting impression on me nor would I have paid as much attention to the material.

The trip was awesome!

The field trip, though confusing at first, was a definite high point in the class. To actually see how the scattered topics we talked about in class (rock types, tectonics) might have applied was pretty cool.

The trip to California was probably the most memorably experience of my first semester. The course I feel is centered around the trip and thus it is essential.

The lab in death valley over fall break was integral to the course. I loved the opportunity to get to know some of the professors and the other students. The trip was overloaded with unnecessary work and lectures. I would have absorbed much more knowledge if the trip had been designed more effectively.

The classroom activities were thought-provoking, but the trip was an invaluable experience. One problematic characteristic of the trip was that different students picked up different material depending on circumstance, but this is only a casualty of the exploratory nature of the course.

The field trip to California was amazing. It was the best part of the course, and I definitely learned the most on the trip. The trip was essential to the course--I feel that if the trip wasn't part of the course, I would not have found the entire course useful. The hands on stuff (lab, campus rock examination, trip) were crucial to understanding the material. These really defined the course and made it interesting.

The trip was amazing and i would not miss it for anything. But as i said before it turned out to be way tougher than what we imagined. May be Adam's expectations are too high, may be the class is too lazy and pampered, but its probably a mixture of both. Frederick and Bob were also very helpful during the trip in providing both emotional and technical support at times of distress and Adam was amazing but it was difficult to keep up with him specially if you want to stop and admire the things or try to perfect your observations. Most importantly, there was a major flaw in the trip. WE SHOULD HAVE HAD KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT TO DO IN THE FIELD BEOFRE THE TRIP. we had one small GPS campus assignment, we should have had an entire project may be spread over 3 classes about campus and GPS measurements and keeping a field notebook and strike and dip measurements and use of GIS, so when we went to field we would not waste time in discovering what we had to do for half of the trip. That would have made our data better, our trip more fun and less tiring and ARC GIS skills much better. The trip was one of a small handful of great science field-work experiences in which I have ever participated. It interesting and fun, and it seemed like every day was replete with new experiences and techniques for understanding understanding natural phenomena.

trip was the best part of the class, but even that, I felt that the pace was a little too high, it was too intense, waking up early in the morning, being outdoors, walking around and making measurements the entire day and then returning to campus but having classes straight off that continued until midnight was a bit too much.

Fabulous, added greatly to my freshman seminar experience.

I've already commented on the reading, writing, and lab assignments so I will talk about the trip. The trip was very fun and I got to know my classmates and professors best while we spent that week together. The professors taught us a lot about geology while in California, I learned the most from the class while on the trip.

I feel like the assignments were very helpful, and very important. They got us thinking about science like a scientist. The trip was EXTREMELY important to the seminar. I feel like the majority of information I learned during the class was learned during the trip. It also made something as uninteresting as a rock come alive. We could see events unfold before us, and with the expertise of Adam and Frederik, we could see how a simple rock at our feet told us so much about the landscape we were looking at. The trip was by far the best part of the course. I enjoyed every part of it and learned a lot. I'm glad I got exposed to MatLab. I think the challenges posed by the in- and out-of-class assignments were good and helped me grow.

The trip to California was wonderful and an integral experience to this seminar. I feel, however, that nights on the trip should be a time to destress and reflect on our day activities in our geology journal. Even though we had early mornings on the trip, the professors made us work late into the night.

Well, I'd say the trip to California was integral to our freshman seminar. It was an amazing experience, and most of the things I learned in this course were things I learned in the field from all the professors explanations of the incredible things we were seeing around us. It was very valuable to see real examples and evidence of geological processes and have three professors with extensive knowledge about pretty much anything we saw.

The trip was also the reason I got to know people in my class. Beforehand I knew about 3 people's names, but by the end I felt close to almost everyone, including the professors. That made discussions more relaxed and comfortable in the classes following the trip.

7. Please use this space to tell us anything you want to about the seminar.

I think a lot of people weren't ready for the work load, but if you're willing to do some reading and get interested in the subject, then this course was awesome. Personally, it was my favorite course this semester, and was a great introduction to Princeton academics (mostly thanks to the openness, knowledge, and plain awesomeness of Adam and Frederik)

I recommend this course for anyone interested in scientific research, because it presented a set of research methods and purposes that I think would be very new to many people.

This seminar has been very time-consuming for me, but I think arguably so. For the professors to teach us all that stuff about geology and climate, and at the same time do papers and labs and presentations, it needed to be that demanding. I know several of my classmates have complained about the amount of work, but I was already aware of that from the beginning, so I was committed to doing my best in the seminar from the start and feel I have no reason to complain about that aspect of the course since I chose the seminar willingly. Also, I feel that if I had any problems with anything, I could always ask and either professor would be willing to help. That was something I truly appreciated because there were always details I didn't fully understand or problems with software...

I would have liked more research-based writing assignments and less lab work, but that is just a personal opinion. Also, the grading scale made it hard to pinpoint what exactly needed to be improved in several of the assignments.

I think that this seminar has a lot of potential, but I felt that our professors were unwilling to admit that they were not explaining things clearly and always assumed that we were not working hard enough. There is nothing more frustrating than working for hours and hours and accomplish nothing because you do not know how to use the computer programs or are expected to understand scientific papers on a subject that has not been explained well at all.

it should cover both a QR and ST pre-requisite and there should be a change in the title as it seemed to me that there was a considerably stronger focus on geology instead of climate change.

Seminar got a lot better around research time, when we were expected to use what we had learned. It all made more sense then.It's not as much work as it's cracked up to be. People just like to complain.

I can see that you have left out the box that says "time spent on this class". Let me use this opportunity to say that I have spent the most time on this class out of all my others, at least 10 to 12 hours per week! :D I don't regret it. It was really very much sweat and blood (literally so when I was out measuring trees and I got attacked by thorns)... but it was worth every second. It was a very hard, gruelling process but I feel like I have been metamorphosed into something better. :) Maybe garnet schist. I feel that this course has also taught important personal qualities such as the value of hard work, dedication, keen observation, curiosity and awe at the wonders present in this world. Also, I learned that one must never take Frederik too seriously when he is not inPrinceton Campus.

This seminar was definitely difficult, but I also feel like I learned in this class. It is a big time commitment which I didn't necessarily realize when I signed up for it.

I learned so much and I know that the skills I now have will be invaluable in my future academic career. However, this class was way too intense for a freshman seminar and if I did not think that research experience will be very useful in my future, I would probably be very resentful of that.

Seminar was a great introduction to real college work and real expectations.

While the information presented in the seminar was informative and the assigned lab assignments were necessary to learning the material, I did feel that the amount of time required by the student to complete all the assignments was excessive. I knew going into this course that it would be a lot of work, but there were weeks, especially near the end of the semester, that I would be spending around 25-30 hours (sometimes even more than that) a week on freshman seminar work. I therefore no longer had the time that I needed to dedicate to work in other classes. I don't believe that our professors intended us to spend this much time a week on their assignments, but merely underestimated the amount of time it would take us to complete everything that was required of us.

No words can describe Frederik. My life has changed after meeting him.

The course should be catered to more than just students interested in the geosciences, but also climate change and environmental sciences in general. A freshman seminar should provide a better overview of all of these subjects to encourage students to pursue these fields of study.

While i often regretted not dropping out of this seminar, it was probably a good experience for me. I was forced to work hard on something that i didn't enjoy. I guess i should get used to it.

This seminar helped me learn how to use MATLAB. I definitely learned a lot about Earth's geology and environment.I have very mixed feelings about this seminar. I think the professors are both incredibly dedicated and hardworking, and it was a privilege to learn from them. The field trip was an amazing opportunity and they showed us some really cool things. However, the assignments were truly too much to handle sometimes, to the point that they stopped being fun/interesting and just became a chore.

This seminar, while interesting, seemed to require work that was unrelated to the course and was very tedious. This seminar was a blast. Although it was so much work, I am glad I took it.

I put "fair" for "overall quality of the course" because if you are interested in geology and know something about it before taking it, this is the class for you. For me, I ended up having a lot of trouble with it as I'm just not that passionate about rocks.It's a lot of work. If I didn't like what I was doing or who I was doing it with, I think this class could have easily turned into a misery (and unfortunately I think it may have for some of my classmates). But because it was so interesting for me, the work was worth it.

The professors have very high expectations, but if you are eager to learn about geology and ready to take some criticism, you may find the class to be a huge blessing. To be honest, I wasn't, but many others were and got a lot out of it. So go by their experiences rather than my exception.

The seminar was overall quite disappointing. Originally it was marketed as an environmental science course but was instead entirely about geology. The teachers treated students as though they should have previous knowledge about different types of rocks and geology terminology which many students did not. Course material was confusing and not particularly understandable in any form. The teachers were condescending towards students as well as sarcastic and unhelpful. If a student had a question, it was as though it was the dumbest question in the world and didn't warrant a real response. In general, this course was one in which students would wait outside and discuss how much they didn't want to go inside and would leave afterward tired and bored.

I don't feel like I learned anything about geology or earth's changing surface or climate. If i was in a position to recommend this class to incoming freshman next year, I would actively recommend that they take a different class. Don't get me wrong, I think geology is really interesting. I can even see myself doing something like geochemistry... But I think almost everything about this class was wrong. What did you want us to get out of it? What were you trying to teach us? Why did the course feel like you guys reached into a hat every Thursday morning and picked a new random topic or assignment?

It is probable that some students will point out the weaknesses of the seminar as it seemed to have a lack of direction at times. I am wishy-washy on that point but admit that sometimes, it seemed like we were given an assignment without much of a start and spent way more time attempting to figure out logistics or what the assignment was asking that we should have been using to learn more about doing the assignment itself. That aside, and perhaps partially because of that, this is my favorite class by far this semester. I felt very invested in every assignment I was doing and enjoyed (most of the time) the intensity of the course. Also, the professors are amazing in the sense that they put in effort far beyond what any teacher has ever done for my classes. Adam responds to his email within 20 minutes if it's a decent hour. Frederik, Adam and Bob graciously let students discuss, complain and verbally brainstorm ideas with them. They are teachers in every sense of the word. I feel like I've written too much, but in general, I have nothing but good things to say about this course.

The trip is great and the course is interesting, though intense and seems too difficult for freshmen, especially non-science students.

This is a wonderfully unique course taught by amazing professors. Be prepared, it is a lot of work but I found the work necessary in order to get the full benefit out of the trip to California. Adam is an energetic professor that truly made the trip special.I was extremely disappointed in this freshman seminar. I hope that there are major changes so that future students will not have the same experience I had. I really enjoyed having three professors instead of one. It gave a lot of opportunities for individual attention, which is something I really appreciated. However, I think the professors may have made the course too challenging by expecting a lot from the students. Almost all of us had no knowledge of geology/earth science, and it was very hard/intimidating to try to keep up with our professors.

The group presentations were BULLSHIT. PURE BULLSHIT. because in every group there were 1 or 2 people who did some work others just did nothing and basically fucked up the ones who were doing work and the presentation. You would be amazed to know how shamelessly people show up for the first time on the midnight before presentation and complain that they are not getting equal speaking time. I believe countless hours of frustration with GIS really taught me a lot but at the same time that affected my other subjects adversely.

Teacher assistants were really friendly and helpful Bob is awesome, Adam and Frederick should probably listen to him more because he might seem out dated but old is gold. His experience about dealings with kids is much more than Adam who is like anArmy instructor. Although I feel the latter way is the real way to learn and prefer it, others might feel differently and perhaps mixture of two approaches is the best way. Frederick is very very funny and is totally politically incorrect. In addition he is very helpful and made the class light and enjoyable, he is also very helpful in MATLAB and it would not be a bad idea to lay more emphasis on more MATLAB skills in the future. P.S he should not drive.

Overall, very good. Frightening grading system, though.

Professors should not assume that students possess any background in geology, simply because they do not. Not all the students in the class come from the same backgrounds, hence it is only natural that they have varying ideas, interests and background information on the subject.

Students interested in taking this course will need to be prepared to work a lot. They will do well in the course if they have a scientific background. The professors are available to help, but are tough, and sometimes unfair graders. I thought this course would be an innocuous way to approach the sciences and learn about geology, which I have an interest in. I found the course a turn-off and would not recommend it.