G&ES 104 - Introduction to Geography

Course Overview

G&ES 104 is an introduction to geographic concepts, principles and methods. Its focus is on the spatial patterns, processes, and interrelationships of human and natural phenomenon on the Earth's surface, from the local to the global scale. Emphasis is placed on providing knowledge and spatial analytical skills that will be useful no matter your academic and professional interests. Includes map interpretation.

The specific objectives of the course are as follows:


Grading (weighted as follows):

Exams (65%): There will be 3 exams: 2 midterms and 1 final exam. Exams are not cumulative. Each exam is weighted equally and taken together will represent 65% of your grade. Exam questions will be multiple choice, map identification or short answer and will cover material covered in class or from your textbooks, including any videos shown in class. A list of terms to study for will be provided before each exam. You must take the exam at the assigned time. If you are concerned about missing an exam please speak to me well in advance.

Map Quizzes (35%): There will be 10 map quizzes on identifications. Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped, and the other nine scores will comprise 35% of your total grade. Map quizzes will require a basic knowledge of the location of countries, major cities, and physical features. There will be no makeup quizzes.

Final grades will be determined as follows: A (more than 90%), B (between 80% and 90%), C (between 70% and 80%), D (55% and 70%), and F (less than 55%).

Class Policies

Class Etiquette: : Please be punctual and turn cell-phones off prior to class. Laptop use is limited to note taking only (and not for the internet). Respect, courtesy and tolerance should be extended to all other students. Although roll will not be taken, students are expected to attend every class.

Late Work: There will be no make-ups for quizzes. If you miss a quiz, that grade will count as your low grade and will be dropped. There will be no make-up for the exams unless you experience a documented emergency or an excused absence.

Academic Honesty: Be honest. Cheaters never prosper.


Questions and/or Concerns: Emails are more than welcome and I will try to respond to them in a timely manner (definitely within 24 hours, usually sooner). If you are having problems with the course material, please contact me as soon as possible.

Course Schedule

  Tuesdays Thursdays
Week 1
Jan. 7/9

Introduction to Course

Introduction to Geography

Week 2
Jan. 14/16


Maps/Quiz & Assignment Preview

Week 3
Jan. 21/23

Russia & Central Asia

Landforms/Map Quiz #1: Europe

Week 4
Jan. 28/30

North America

Weather & Climate/Map Quiz #2: Central Asia

Week 5
Feb. 4/6

Exam #1 Review

Exam #1

Week 6
Feb. 11/13

Mexico & Central Asia

Natural Resources/Map Quiz #3: North America

Week 7
Feb. 18/20

South America

Cultural Geography/Map Quiz #4: Central America

Week 8
Feb. 25/27

Sub-Saharan Africa

Human Impacts/Map Quiz #5: South America

Week 9
March 4/6

Middle East & North Africa

Political Geography/Map Quiz #6: Sub-Saharan Africa

Week 10
Mar 11/13

Exam #2 Review

Exam #2




Week 11
Mar. 25/27

South Asia

Economic Geography/Map Quiz #7: Middle East & North Africa

Week 12
April 1/3

East Asia

Urban Geography/Map Quiz #8: South Asia

Week 13
April 8/10

Southeast Asia

Population Geography/Map Quiz #9: East Asia

Week 14
April 15/17


Map Quiz #10: Southeast Asia

Week 15
April 22/24

Geography Review

Final Exam #3 Review

Week 16
December 10th

Final Exam #3: Tuesday, April 29th; 2:00 - 3:50pm

Instructor Information

Taught by Mike Ribant

Mike Ribant M.A.; A.B.D., is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography at Northern Illinois University, where he has taught geography and was named Outstanding Graduate Student. For the past several years, Ribant has taught classes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geography at various colleges in the Chicagoland area including Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Harper College, Triton College and City Colleges of Chicago. These classes include Introduction to GIS, Advanced GIS, Interactive Cartography, Remote Sensing, Vector GIS and Raster GIS. Ribant also developed a course for Chicago State University under a grant contract entitled GIS for Homeland Security and won the poster competition at a recent Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA) conference. He currently teaches at Harper College and Harold Washington College in downtown Chicago. His research interests are in the areas of urban geography, GIS, web mapping, spatial analysis, transportation geography, public finance and geovisualization. A native Detroiter, his dissertation research aims to better understand America’s post-industrial, shrinking cities and examines various operationalized and postulated methods for ”right-sizing“ them. Prior to entering graduate school in 2007, Ribant owned a retail coffee chain in downtown San Diego. An avid fly-fishing enthusiast, Ribant is the editor of two books about fishing: The U.S. Bass Atlas and The U.S. Trout Atlas.

Office: Room 344H

Bernard J Brommel Hall
5500 North St. Louis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625

Interactive World Map

Useful as a quiz study-guide: Hover over a country and view the popup menu in the upper right for detailed country information. Left-click and hold to pan map, use icons in upper left to zoom in or out.


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