Fall 2023 - GEOG 312 OL01

Geography of Natural Hazards (4)

Class Number: 3625

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2023
    Thu, 11:59–11:59 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jonathan Cripps
    Office Hours: Wednesday (10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm to 4 pm) with bookable 15 minute appointments (11 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 4 pm). Drop in 10 – 11 am, or if instructor is available. By appointment outside of these times if necessary.
  • Prerequisites:

    One of GEOG 100, 104 or 111 or one of EASC 101 or 104.



An exploration of human response to our hazardous Earth. The dynamic causes of natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides and floods will be illustrated. Students will gain an appreciation for how humans perceive, predict, and recover from hazards and how their effects may be reduced. Breadth-Social Sci/Science.



Largely via the motivating force of fear, natural hazards can mobilize massive numbers of individuals and resources in short periods of time. The 21st century response to natural hazards has been significantly impacted by globalization, disaster capital and the geospatial revolution. This course will explore the human-related effects of geophysical hazards including: earthquakes, slope instability, volcanism, tsunamis, severe weather events, floods, and sea-level rise, through a geographic lens. Discussion groups will evaluate local and extra-local examples of the hazards discussed from a 360 degree perspective culminating in perspectives on improved response and mitigation.

Course structure

Weekly Modules: course material will be delivered as weekly readings, videos and other interactive  online material.

Participation Exercises: exercises embedded within module content will be assessed and contribute to an overall participation grade. Failure to submit any course assignments will impact your participation grade. Unexcused late or missing class assignments may also impact your participation grade.

Case-Studies: Four (4) case-study exercises will be completed throughout the class during as part of lecture modules. Case-study exercises will be focused on a specific hazard event and the human response to that event and are designed to increase student learning of key course objectives. These case-studies are intended as an alternative to a midterm exam and so responses are expected to integrate and demonstrate a working knowledge of course concepts and ideas.

Geoscapes Project: A project that focuses on explaining a concept in natural hazards through the use of a case study. The project will be completed in two stages, with a project outline submitted partway through the course.

Module Assignments: Eight (8) assignments will be completed throughout the class through the CANVAS system. Assignments are designed to reinforce key learning objectives and may require interaction with other students. TAs assigned to the course will be available for consultation on assignments on weekly basis.

Final Exam: The final exam is a comprehensive exam covering material from the start to the end of the course

Late Submissions and Academic Dishonesty

Students are responsible for submitting work to posted deadlines. Short extensions for reasonable requested may be provided if discussed at least 24 hours in advance with the course instructor. Unexcused submissions after the posted deadline will receive a 10% penalty per day, or part thereof, up to a maximum of 7 days/70%. Assignments submitted after 7 days will receive a grade of 0.

Students are responsible for upholding a high standard of academic integrity for all course submissions. Examples of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, collusion, resubmission, fabrication of data, uploading or downloading from homework sharing websites, use of notes in a closed-book examination, use of AI/LLM-generated responses, etc. Any examples of academic dishonesty will receive penalties as per SFU policy and procedure S 10.01. This may include warnings, being required to resubmit the assignment, reductions in assignment marks and/or failure of the assignment.


  • Participation and case studies: 20%
  • Module assignments (4% each): 32%
  • Geoscapes project: 18%
  • Final Exam: 30%


Grade boundaries

A+: >90%             A: 85-89.5%        A-: 80-84.5%

B+: 77-79.5%      B: 73-76.5%         B-: 70-72.5%

C+: 67-69.5%      C: 63-66.5%         C-: 60-62.5%

D: 50-59.5%        Fail: < 50%



Readings in Natural Hazards – Open textbook available online for no fee:



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.