World and Regional Geography

Syllabus Sections

Publish Date

01/13/2011 15:33:32

World and Regional Geography


Spring 2011
01/18/2011 - 05/15/2011

Course Information

Section 006
T 18:00 - 20:40
PIN1 400
Ross Bigelow

Section 005
T 18:00 - 20:40
HCU1 137
Ross Bigelow

Office Hours

  • T
    5:00 - 6:00 pm
    Or by arrangement at
  • Th
    12 - 1pm

Course Requirements

Course Syllabus

Introduction to World Geography 1303

 Austin Community College - Spring Term 2011

Ross E. Bigelow, PhD Geography (Michigan State University)


Contact Information:  

ACC Locations:                                  (1) Hill Country University Center (HCUC), Fredericksburg

                                                            Campus, Room 137, and

                                                            (2) Pinnacle Campus, Room 400, Austin

Office:                                                 Hill Country University Center, Fredericksburg, Room 137

Office Hours:                                      Tuesdays, 5-6 p.m. at HCUC or by prior arrangement

Office Phone:                                      830 997-6363

Email:                                                 bigelow.ross@gmail.comor


Course Description:  For decades the USA has been the top world power economically, politically, educationally, and in many other ways.  Even today, the USA is a 15 trillion-dollar economy, by far the largest ever on the planet.  But other countries are catching up, including China, India, Brazil and Indonesia.  Every year the planet “shrinks” because of globalization, trade, the media, inter-cultural exchange and increasingly sophisticated technology.  In future, national boundaries may mean less as the world becomes more connected.   As educated Americans in the global community, we must understand the ever-changing world in which we live.  Our Earth is a “fragile blue planet” in a huge universe; it is home to nearly 200 countries and thousands of cultures.  By studying World Regional Geography, we expand our knowledge of the diverse peoples that make up the world. 


Course Rationale for World Geography:  ACC 1303 World Regional Geography provides students with the chance to explore Earth regions, countries and peoples.  The course provides an understanding of the spatial distribution of physical and cultural factors that affect countries, and consider geographic processes that lead to regional differences.   We travel the globe to place current events in their spatial context and to gain a better appreciation of diverse world patterns, the impacts of increasing energy use, terrorism, globalization and environmental changes.    Students learn general geographic principles to understand what is happening in the world today.  This course is part of an associate degree at Austin Community College and credit can be transferred to four-year degree institutions. 


The Study of World Geography will help you to:

  • Understand life on our fragile blue planet and the diversity of human-land relationships around the world
  • Appreciate Earth as the home of humankind and provide insight into ways to manage and sustain our planet’s resources
  • Learn about the countries and regions of the world; adopt your own country for a semester and delve into the lives of the real people who live there.
  • Increase awareness about key world issues:  poverty, peace in the Middle East, AIDS in Africa, burgeoning populations in Asia, the Euro and the emerging European Community, protecting our earth and its resources, fuel efficiency, immigration, and finding security in a world afflicted by terrorism
  • Understand basic physical systems that affect everyday life (e.g. earth-sun relationships, water cycle, wind and ocean currents).
  • Develop a mental map of your community, state, country and the world so that you can understand the “where” of places and events.
  • Expand knowledge by reading a book with themes related to world geography
  • Write three papers and improve writing and performance skills
  • Understand the geography of past times and how geography has played important roles in the evolution of people, their ideas, places and environments
  • Develop creative skills using power point, Internet search engines, maps, Google Earth,,, www.infoplease.comand other sources
  • Enhance interest in geography and enliven discussion of current events
  • Develop sensitivity to other peoples and even make new friends outside the USA
  • Appreciate the opportunities and advantages of living in the USA and perhaps decide what you can do to make a difference in our world

Required Text/Materials:  Geography: Realms, Regions and Concepts, 14th edition (2010), by H.J. deBlij and Peter Muller.  I also recommend you find a quality atlas published within the last 5 years for use at home and at school.  One is Rand McNally’s Goode’s World Atlas, 21st edition.


Instructional Methodology:  A 16-week course, World Geography 1303 will meet Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. once a week beginning January 18th and concluding with the Final Exam on May 10th.  Each session will consist of my presentation and our class discussion of topics for each of the chapters in the Geography text.  In addition, each student will adopt a country, take chapter quizzes, prepare a special project/paper and write two other original papers, and contribute to class discussions.  Class attendance and participation also affects your grade.


Course Evaluation / Grading (points)


  • Three papers / projects*                                            300
  • Quizzes (11 x 30 points each)                                     330
  • Class attendance and participation                               50
  • Final exam                                                                  320

Total                                                                                      1,000


*Each student will adopt a country at the beginning of the course and track it during the course.  In early February, you will prepare a written report of about 4 pages on his/her adopted country.  In mid March you will do a second paper or special project.  In early May, you will prepare a 4-page book review on a book approved in advance by the Professor.  See the Course Calendar below.  Details for preparing these papers are provided in the Adopt-a-Country Guidelines. 


Course Policies: 


  • Participation:  Active participation in class will improve your grade.  You should come to each class and be prepared to make a contribution in class -- reading your text, studying notes taken in class and making constructive contributions to class discussions. 


  • Attendance:  Attendance will affect your grade.  Academic performance correlates closely with attendanceGeography students are expected to attend all classes on time.  If you expect to be absent, you should inform the Adjunct Professor in advance by phone or email and determine what assignments must be made up.  Missed quizzes because can be made up the following week but no later. 



Classes Missed in Semester

Maximum Possible Points









6 or more



  • Honesty:  As a geography student, you are expected to be honest and do your own original work throughout this class.  You must demonstrate that you work independently, present original thoughts and make attribution of sources of non-original material.  ACC sets the following standard for all students:  “Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but limited to cheating on a quiz or exam, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing outside work.  Academic work submitted by the student shall be the result of his/her thoughts, research, or self-expression.   Academic work is defined as but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects either individual or group; and classroom presentations and homework.”  Dishonesty may result in dismissal from the course.


  • Incomplete Policy:  If you do not successfully complete all class requirements, you will fail the course.  You may not take an “Incomplete”.


  • Withdrawal:    The Texas Legislature passed a bill in 2007 that limits incoming freshmen to six course withdrawals over their under-graduate years at state colleges, including courses taken at ACC.    You may withdraw, but please contact your geography professor before you finalize your plans for withdrawal.


  • Disabilities:  ACC sets the following standard:  “Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities.  Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes.  Students are encouraged to do these three weeks before the start of the semester.”


  • Academic Freedom:  Academic freedom is the foundation of all institutions of higher learning, including ACC.  Students are strongly encouraged to participate in class discussion.  Students may express viewpoints that differ from those of other students and/or the Adjunct Professor.  Indeed, challenging the facts or the opinions of others may generate good discussion and can promote a healthy learning environment.  Viewpoints should be expressed with respect for fellow students.


Course Calendar

  • January 18

Course Overview and Introduction to Geography

  • January 25

Intro Chapter (Global Perspectives) and Chap 12 (Pacific Realm)

Review population statistics                          

  • February 1

Chapter 9 (East Asia / China)                                   

  • February 8

Chapter 1 (Europe)

Hand in Paper 1 on adopted country

  • February 15

Chapter 2 (Russia)

Select book for your review and Paper 3

  • February 22

Chapter 3 (North America)                                                  

  • March 1

Chapter 4 (Middle America)

  • March 8

Chapter 5 (South America)

  • March 15

Spring Break

  • March 22

Chapter 6 (Africa)

Hand in Paper / Project 2

  • March 29

Chapter 7 (North Africa / SW Asia)

  • April 5

Chapter 8 (South Asia / India)

  • April 12

Chapter 10 (SE Asia)

  • April 19

Chapter 11 (Austral Realm / Australia)

  • April 26

Complete any unfinished Chapter material

  • May 3

Review for Final

Hand in Paper 3 Book Review

  • May 10

Final Exam

REBigelow: 01/11/2011: Syllabus World Geog Spring 2011