I love course outlines. A well-crafted course outline reveals a great deal of information about a professor’s love and knowledge of his or her topic, approach, attitude toward students, and education philosophy. This make-or-break document is usually the student’s first view of what they’re in for, and often serves as a better gauge of quality than a locally published set of student opinions or a “Rate My Professor” Web site entry. Course outlines can be short or long, elaborately illustrated or plain, handed out or posted on a course Web site, but an excellent course outline will immediately transmit an enthusiastic invitational approach to the topic. An effective course outline allows a lecturer to begin discussion of oceanography immediately during the first class meeting—the details of discussion sections, teaching assistants, attendance policy, and other impedimenta are in the document and need not be detailed in class.