Severe & Unusual Weather

August 21, 2017
METR 2603.995


Lusk, Dylan
Ph.D. Student


Online   View map


Fall 2017


METR 2603: Severe and Unusual Weather Course Syllabus – Fall 2017


Instructor: Dylan Lusk (email:


Goals and Objectives:

The topics and framework of this class are designed to help you (1) recognize the importance of climate and weather to your lives; (2) be aware of weather-related hazards; and (3) give you resources to assess and interpret hazardous weather conditions. I want you to be able to think carefully about and understand different weather phenomena and climate extremes that you might see on weather apps, the news, social media, etc.


Required Text: None.

Recommended Text: Severe & Hazardous Weather (4th Edition), Robert M. Rauber, John Walsh, and Donna Charlevoix. This text is not required but can be a useful reference throughout the class.


Course web page (log on using your 4+4).

Please check Canvas often and regularly for announcements, discussions, new and updated content, and grades. This is good practice for any class but is essential for an online course. Furthermore, your quizzes and final exam will be taken on Canvas; homework assignments will be submitted to their corresponding Canvas dropboxes; and discussions will take place on the Canvas discussion boards, all of which will account for the entirety of your grade in this course.


Tentative Schedule:

It is very important in this class to follow along with the tentative schedule, since we will not have the ability to interact in person unless you are able to come to my office. The tentative schedule will inform you which lectures have been assigned each week as well as due dates for homework assignments, quizzes, discussion board posts, and the final exam. This will be the easiest way to find out what will be expected of you each week! Also, the tentative schedule, as you may be able to guess, is tentative so please pay attention to any announcements stating changes in this schedule.



Questions, concerns, comments, and appointments:

Please use the “General Questions, Concerns, and Comments” discussion board on Canvas to post class-related questions. It’s very likely that other students have the same question as you, so it’s beneficial to get feedback from your classmates! You are also welcome to email me directly with your questions or concerns if you would rather not post them. I will try to reply to emails as quickly as possible, and most questions can be discussed and answered via email.



A total of 650 points may be earned during the course of the semester. Points are divided as follows:

Homework: 160 points Canvas Quizzes: 300 points

Discussions Involvement: 40 points

Final Exam: 150 points


The following standard scale will determine the final grade for the course:

A:90-100%(585-650 points)
B:80-89%(520-584 points)
C:70-79%(455-519 points)
D:60-69%(390-454 points)
F:< 60%(< 390 points)



There will be 6 homework assignments given during the semester. The purpose of homework assignments is for students to demonstrate that they can apply the concepts discussed in class to annotate and interpret tables, graphs, weather maps, and other visual aids. Students may work together, however, each student will have to submit their own homework assignments, which must be a representation of their own work. Understand that “working together on an assignment” does not mean copying. Students are welcome to collaborate in small groups but must arrive at their solutions independently, submit their homework assignments independently, and be able to justify their solutions if asked to do so. Copied homework assignments will not receive credit and are considered academic misconduct (which if serious may be reported).


Homework assignments will be due by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on their scheduled due dates to their corresponding Canvas assignment dropboxes. The Canvas dropboxes will close automatically at their scheduled due dates/times, and homework assignments are considered late and will be graded as ‘0’ if they aren’t submitted by the times that their Canvas dropboxes close. If there is an issue with the dropboxes or Canvas, email me immediately with your homework assignment attached, so that I have proof of your completion of the assignment. To facilitate continued review and study, I want to make the homework keys available online as soon as possible. Thus, late homework assignments will only be accepted for credit when accompanied by a University approved excuse that is provided to me (via email) before the relevant homework due date/time or within 12 hours after it’s due. In such cases where an approved excuse is provided within the stated time limits, late homework assignments must be submitted to me via email, within 36 hours after their scheduled due times, in order to be graded for credit.

Otherwise, late homework assignments will be assigned a grade of ‘0’.


Since this course in entirely online, homework will need to be submitted electronically.


You can easily do this in 2 ways. The first is to annotate the document, using programs such as Microsoft Word, Preview, Adobe Illustrator, or other PDF editor software, save as a new file and upload to the Canvas Dropbox. Please upload these as a PDF. This ensures compatibility across platforms for printing. The second is to print out the assignment, complete it by hand, scan the document as a PDF, and upload the completed assignment to the Canvas Dropbox. To scan in your document you can use a common scanner which may be found all across campus OR you can use a mobile scanner app such as ScannerPro or CamScanner which will upload pictures you take from your phone of your assignment and compose them into a nice and tidy PDF document for you. In order to ensure compatibility, homework assignments need to be submitted as PDF documents.


Canvas Quizzes:

There will be 21 quizzes assigned during the semester. Each quiz will be administered via Canvas and will be worth a variable number of points, for a total of 300 points during the semester. These quizzes are designed to review and build upon current and previous lecture materials; they are also given frequently to help you keep current with the class topics.


The time allotted for each quiz varies, and will be based on the number of questions in each quiz. Be sure to check the allotted time for each quiz when you begin. Quizzes that are taken and extend beyond their allotted times will be discontinued only saving your saved progress. You are not able to start a quiz and then close it to work on it later – Canvas will record the time from when the quiz is opened. All quizzes are due by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on their scheduled due dates. Each quiz can only be submitted once and the quizzes will close automatically at their scheduled due dates/times. You are welcome to use your notes and lecture slides to take quizzes, but you MAY NOT work with others to complete them.


Discussion assignments:

Since we won’t meet in a traditional classroom, I’d like to encourage you to ask weather related questions of both your classmates and myself! To that end, you will be able to earn up to 40 points from participating in two simple discussion assignments during the semester. During the first part of the semester, you must post at least one weather-related question under the “Post & Respond to a Weather-Related Topic” discussion topic in Canvas. You will get 10 points as long as your question is weather related! During the second part of the semester, you must respond to at least three questions that other students posted on this discussion topic during the first part of the semester. You will get up to 30 points total (10 points per response) based on the correctness and quality of your response. You are certainly not limited to just one question and just three responses during the semester! The Canvas discussion board is a great way for us to communicate with each other and gain a deeper understanding of the weather. If nothing else, reading and responding to questions will help you prepare for homework assignments, quizzes, and the final exam in this class!



Final exam:

The final exam for this course will be made available on Canvas to be taken during Finals Week. It will feature a variety of question formats (multiple choice, true/false, matching, short


answer) and will be comprehensive. It may include some questions that are similar to previous quiz questions, and some that are new. You are welcome to use your notes and lecture slides to take the final exam, but you MAY NOT work with others to complete it.


The time limit for the final exam will be strictly enforced. It must be taken between its scheduled start and end dates/times; no make-up or late exam will be given in order to ensure academic integrity and fairness. Be sure to check the allotted time for the final exam when you begin. As with quizzes, a final exam that is taken beyond its allotted times will be discontinued. You are not able to start the final exam and then close it to work on it later – Canvas will record the time from when the final exam is opened.


Statement on absences due to religious holidays:

It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of quiz, homework, exam, and/or discussion due dates that fall due on religious holidays. Any student who has one of these commitments fall on a religious holiday: Please contact me via email no later than one week prior to the due date/time so that we can make alternative arrangements.


Reasonable Accommodation:

The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities who require accommodation in this course are requested to speak with me as early in the semester as possible. Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations in this course. The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 325-3852 or TDD only 325-4173.


Academic Misconduct:

All provisions of the Norman Campus Academic Misconduct Code shall apply in cases of academic dishonesty. Academic misconduct is defined as “any act that improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement.” At the University of Oklahoma, academic integrity is expected from each student. Misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication, and fraud, as well as attempting to commit such acts or assisting others in doing so, will not be tolerated. Students are responsible for knowing the OU Academic Conduct Code, which can be found at and