12.708 Advanced Seminar in Paleoceanography, WHOI/MIT Joint Program in Oceanography

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This seminar class supplements the more formal classes offered within the Joint Program. It provides an in-depth, focused study of important topics in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. The course is jointly taught by a pair of instructors, which rotates amongst Alan Condron, Kassandra Costa, Olivier Marchal, and Delia Oppo. The course subject also varies, and recent topics can be explored through the links on the left side of page.

Course Structure

Each week, we discuss 1-2 papers in a small group setting. One student will present the assigned paper(s) and lead the discussion, but all students are expected to actively participate. Before class, students will submit 2-4 questions to the presenter to facilitate a productive discussion.

Expectations: The instructors expect students to arrive to class prepared to ask questions. No questions are too trivial. Please support your classmate leading the discussion by asking questions and contributing to the discussion.

The instructors will encourage students to answer each other's questions before chiming in.


Students will be evaluated as follows:

(i) 60%, participation in class. Students are expected to ask questions and contribute to the class discussion. Students should feel comfortable asking clarification or background questions on topics that they are unfamiliar with. Because class size is typically small, class participation is an important component of learning in this course. Any absences must be discussed with the instructors.

(ii) 40%, oral presentations. Presentations should be brief and motivate discussion. Presentations should include the motivation of the study and any background that will help other students in the class understand the paper better. Not all figures in the paper need to be included in the presenations, and those that are presented need not be presented in their published order. Figures from other publications are welcome if they help clarify confusing aspects of the paper or if the presenter thinks they will enhance the discussion. The presentation should also include a brief description of the approach taken in the paper, the findings of the paper, and the broader implications of these findings.


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Last updated September 10, 2023
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