Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 407
Spring 2006

Course Syllabus

 Instructor Contact Information    Outline of Topics
Course Goals and Requirements

 Evaluation and Grading
What should you bring
to this course?

Course Outcomes and Objectives (What will you take
from this course?)

Links, downloads and Suggestions for Further Reading
Hints for Solving 
Quantitative Problems


Instructor Contact Information:

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders              Office: S-146
Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710
E-Mail:     L-Sanders (at)
Office Hours:   Tuesday       4:40-5:10 pm and 7:20-7:50 pm
  4:00-6:00 pm
4:40-5:10 pm and 7:20-7:50 pm

Course Prerequisites: Graduate standing and ESCI 337: Principles of Hydrogeology
Text:  Franklin Schwartz and Hubao Zhang, Fundamentals of Ground Water (Wiley, 2003).  Other readings will be provided.  Website for the textbook: Student textbook companion site


* This outline will be adjusted daily as the semester proceeds.  Please check back frequently for updates.
* Reading assignments listed here are for the Schwartz and Zhang textbook unless otherwise noted.
   Reading assignments should be completed before coming to class on the day listed.
* To see a list of each day's learning objectives, click on the date.  These will be added as the semester progresses.
JAN 10  Introduction.  Review of hydrogeologic terms and concepts.  Read: Preface, Chapter 1, Chapter 3. 
JAN 12   Basic hydrogeologic principles.  Read: Chapter 3.
JAN 17  No class. 

JAN 19  Basic hydrogeologic concepts, cont.  Storativity and specific storage.  First journal article (Article 1) distributed.   Read: Chapter 3.
JAN 24   Storativity and specific storage, contd.   Read:  Article 1 and Chapter 4.

JAN 26  Research paper organization.  Reading, discussing, and leading discussions of scientific papers.  Abstracts.  Acknowledgments.  Read: Chapter 4.  
JAN 31  Discussion of Article 1 (discussion leader: Sanders).  Hydraulic properties of aquifers and confining units.  Read: Article 1  and Chapter 4.
FEB 2   Discussion of Article 2 (leader: Jessy) Flow nets.  Read: Article 2 and Chapter 5.
FEB 7  Discussion of Article 3 (leader: Sadia)Read: Article 3.

FEB 9  Exam #1.  See review sheet.
FEB 14  Discussion of Article 4 (leader: Sheetal ).  Pumping tests.  Read: Article 4.

FEB 16  Cont'd discussion of Article 4 (leader: Sheetal ).  Pumping tests, cont'd.  Read: Chapter 9.
FEB 21  Discussion of Article 5 (leader: Paul).  Pumping tests, cont'd.   Read:  Article 5, Chapter 9. 
FEB 23  Continued discussion of Article 5 (leader: Paul).  Pumping tests, cont'd.   Read:  Article 5, Chapter 9. 
FEB 28  Continued discussion of Article 5 (leader: Paul).  Pumping tests, cont'd.   Read:  Article 5, Chapter 9.
MAR 2 Pumping tests, cont'd.  Read: Chapter 9.  MAR 3: Talk at NIU by Eileen Poeter (NGWA Darcy Lecturer and director of the IGWMC)
MAR 7  Discussion of Article 6 (leader: Sheetal).  Pumping tests, cont'd.  Use of isotopes in age dating of ground water.  Read: Article 6.   Research proposals may be handed in beginning today.
MAR 9 Isotopes, continued.  Slug tests.
MAR 14  Aquifer response to pumping: the Theim equation for steady state conditions.  Read:  Chapter 6.  Research proposals.
MAR 15
See MAR 16

MAR 16 Meet on Wednesday, MAR 15 instead of Thursday this week!  We'll meet with the Isotopes Geochemistry class at 5:40 pm in S-116. Read: Article 6 and the Isotopes for Beginners info sheet.  
MAR 21 SPRING BREAK; no class.
MAR 23  SPRING BREAK; no class.

MAR 28  Exam #2.  See review sheet.

MAR 30  Discussion of Article 7 (leader: )Read:  Article 7 and Chapter 6. Unsaturated flow. Discussion of Article 8 (leader: )Discussion of Article 9 (leader: )Unsaturated flow. Flow nets, redux.  Read: Chapter 6.  Flow nets. Regional flow. More practice with flow nets.  Using maps, graphs, tables, and figures in a scientific paper. Equations of flow.  Read: Chapter 8, Chapter 5.  Discussion of Article 10 (leader: Brian)Read:  Article 10  and Chapter 12.Read:  Article 8.  Skim Chapters 10, 11.  Read: Chapter 12.
APR 4   Discussion of Article 11 (leader: ).  Aquifer response to pumping: transient conditions.  Slug test data interpretation.  Read: Article 11 and Chapter 12.
APR 6 Pumping test data interpretation.  Skim: Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 13.
APR 11    Pumping test data interpretation, contd.  Discussion of Article 12 (leader: )Read: Article 12.  Skim: Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 13. 

APR 13 
APR 18    Discussion of Article 13 (leader: ).  Mass transport and contaminant hydrogeology. Read:  Article 13, Chapter 22. 
APR 20
APR 25  Mass transport and contaminant hydro, cont'd.  Read: Chapter 19. 
APR 27 Contaminant hydro, cont'd.  Final deadline for handing in research proposals.
MAY 2 Final Quiz  6:00-7:50 pm.  Note unusual time!

Course Goals: Upon completion of this course, the student will

* have an advanced understanding of the principles of hydrogeology, particularly with respect to physical hydrogeology, chemical hydrogeology, and contaminant hydrogeology;

* be able to apply those principles in the design of hydrogeologic experiments and investigations, as demonstrated by the writing of a research proposal;

* be able to use the hydrogeologic literature to do research, including being able to read, understand, and apply ideas that appear in the literature; and

* be conversant in areas of current research in the field.

Course Requirements

Attendance at all class sessions is expected.

Students are expected to have an e-mail account and to check their e-mail at least every other day.

Students should bring the following to every class meeting: textbook, class handouts, scientific calculator, pencil and eraser, ruler, colored pencil.

Assessments: Students must participate in all assessment activities ("green sheets").   I want to learn how well certain concepts are getting across and how the class is feeling about the material and the course as we go along.  At the end of each class period, you will assess this, anonymously.  On these “green sheets”, assessment questions will help me find out how well the day’s outcomes were achieved.  This may be done in the form of an ungraded quiz-type question, a concept map, or survey-type questions.  This information will help me to determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To provide me with the most information so that I can make the course better, I ask that you give me your most thoughtful, honest feedback-- the more, the better.
Academic integrity:  The NEIU policy on academic integrity will be strictly enforced.  Cheating in any form on any assignment will result in a grade of zero for that assignment or more severe penalties as described in the NEIU policy.  A site from the University of Indiana explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides helpful tips on how to avoid it.

Flexibility: This outline will change as the semester evolves.  Please allow for flexibility in topics and assignments.  Check this page frequently for updates!


Leading discussions (20 points):  During the course, students will select, read, and discuss articles from the current issues of scientific journals such as Ground Water, Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation, Water Resources Research, Environmental Science and Technology, or other hydrogeologically-focused periodicals.  Each student will lead the discussion of two separate articles during the semester.  Students leading a discussion earn 0-10 points, up to 20 points total for the semester.  These points will be awarded on the basis of how well-prepared and organized the discussion leader is, how clearly s/he brings out the main points of the article, and how well s/he engages the rest of the class in the discussion.  Two students may elect to co-lead an article discussion; if they do so, they may earn 0-5 points each for each discussion.

The discussion leader should begin the discussion by giving a brief summary of the article.  The leader then should guide the ensuing discussion, which should bring out the main research questions, methods of investigation, major findings, and significance of the work.  The leader should be prepared to define any scientific terms used in the article.  Advance preparation is absolutely necessary.  This will include carefully reading the article many times, looking up unfamiliar terms, investigating unfamiliar concepts, preparing discussion questions/points, and doing any necessary background research to illuminate the ideas in the article.  Background research could include reading the sources cited in the article, reading the textbook and/or supplemental texts, discussing the article with me, and phoning/e-mailing the author with brief questions, among other things.

Participation in discussion of scientific journals (18 points):
All students are expected to read assigned articles before coming to class.  Every student must participate in the discussion of every article.  Participation will count for 2 points per article.

Quizzes (24 points total):
Three quizzes will be given, as shown on the course outline.  Each will count for 8 points.  Quizzes will test the student's understanding of material covered in the time period since the last quiz.  They will cover material from the textbook and from the journal articles.  Quizzes will be open-notes, open-book unless otherwise specified.

Research Proposal (24 points):
Each student will write a research proposal to investigate a hydrogeologic topic of particular interest to them.  Proposals may be handed in any time between the dates of March 7and April 27.  Proposals should be written according to the format given in the Earth Science M.S. Student Handbook.  I would be happy to read and comment on draft versions of the proposal; this definitely will improve the quality of
the proposal and therefore the final grade on it.  I will need at least one week to read and comment on a draft; please plan accordingly.

Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of considerations such as the following: Does the proposal follow the required format?  Is the research question clearly defined and articulated?  Is the Introduction comprehensive and relevant?  Are the proposed methods realistic and will they provide information to answer the research question?  Is the proposal neatly presented, free of grammatical and spelling errors, and with figures and tables in proper format?  Are the references presented in the correct format?  More information on the proposal will be given later in the semester.

Homework (10 points): Occasional homework assignments will be given.  Unless otherwise specified, they will be due one week from the date on which they are assigned.  Homework should be either typewritten or neatly printed, on the front side of the page only.  Please start each new problem on a new page.  Pages should be stapled or clipped together, and the student's name should appear on every page.  Trim ragged edges.  Problems should be solved in a logical sequence of steps, with each step explained in words.  For quantitative or numerical problems, the final answer should be circled or boxed.  Answers should be rounded to the appropriate number of significant digits.  Units of measurement must be included at every step.

Summary of evaluation:

    Discussions: Leading     20 points                 In general,  90-100 pts = A,
            Participation            18                            80-89 pts = B, 70-79 pts = C,
    Quizzes (3)                       24                            60-69 pts = D, <60 pts = F
    Research Proposal         24
    Homework                        14
    TOTAL                            100 points

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

© 2006 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated February 9, 2006.