Of course, there
a large number of choices, too numerous to list here. Once you have
selected a topic, the requirements are listed below
1. Research, outline,
and develop a small power point presentation, web page, or paper--with
text equivalent to three or four pages of double spaced twelve point
type in length-- and submit it on or before the due date listed
in the class syllabus. Attempts to make your projects appear
longer by using spaces and larger type won't go over well!......Inserting
properly referenced images in your paper is a wonderful (and strongly
recommended)idea, but they must lengthen your paper beyond three pages.
In Lieu of a formal paper, you are strongly encouraged to create a
web site or Power point presentation with illustrations, links, etc.,
so long as the text content is still equivalent to at least three
double spaced and typed pages. In all cases, you must reference
your sources. While multimedia presentations are strongly encouraged,
they are by no means mandatory! Whether you create a web page, type
a formal paper, or create a power point presentation is completely
up to you. Please note however, that many of your classmates will
create multi media presentations!! You will submit your assignments
by clicking on the link in the blackboard assignments area and uploading
your paper or presentation from your computer (If you do a web page,
you can simply include a link).
You are expected to make
frequent use of the discussion area in Blackboard to post questions,
provide feedback to your classmates, and simply discuss topics of
interest to you. This area constitutes your "attendance"
in Astronomy 10. More importantly, however, it will be a primary learning
tool, allowing you to explore astronomy by interacting with others.
You will find that as your knowledge of astronomy grows, your ability
and desire to write about it will grow as well. Many posts in astro
10 concern the ten quizzes--you will see that there is a discussion
area for each quiz where you can post questions and receive help for
each quiz. Guidelines for this process are discussed below. Another
section, "topics of astronomical Interest" is where you
can post and read about exciting new developments in astronomy. It
will also help you find ideas for your research assignments. These
posts are "double counted" when I asses you use of the discussion
are at the end of the class. There will also be a section entitled Question of the Week (though there will only be about ten questions), where you are asked to comment on a question posted by your instructor each week. Hopefully, the posts will not be limited to a simple reply, but will be part of discussion between your classmates and yourself.
Points for your Posts
In some cases, assignments
will require you to post items in the discussion area. For these posts,
you will receive a set number of points toward your final grade. A
larger number of points, however, will be given at the instructors
discretion for your participation ....i.e., The frequency and quality
of your responses to the posted items from your classmates. The idea
of the discussion board is simple. Check in frequently, and post items
of interest to you, and respond when you can. It is hoped and expected
that all students will receive full credit for this portion of the
class. Your feedback will help the instructor make this area more
interesting and useful for everyone. For an "A" grade
in the discussion area, you are expected to post to the discussion
board one a week or more...(give or take a few weeks/posts--at
least twenty posts per semester).
For more info, check out:Rubrics for the Discussion Area.
will be 10 blackboard quizzes on dates given in the schedule. These
Quizzes will be based on textbook material, Mastering Astronomy tutorials,
and required class lectures and links found in the Lectures and Links page in blackboard. As part of your mastering astronomy assignments, you will also take "textbook
quizzes". The results of these quizzes are part of your score in the mastering astronomy assignments, but more importantly, they will definitely provide an "edge"
on the blackboard quizzes...in fact some questions in blackboard come
directly from the Mastering Astronomy quizzes!!
due dates are listed in the syllabus, and in the Blackboard quiz area
(so you can't miss hearing about them). Quizzes will generally
be "open" meaning that you can take as long as you want
to complete them (within the allotted period), and use whatever resources
you find useful. Feel free to print them out and work on them off-line
until it is time to submit them. (See "cheating"
vs. "fair use" guidelines for quizzes below). In other
words, the quizzes are not timed. If you fail to submit a quiz
by the due date, you can still submit it late, but you will be subject
to a penalty (see below). Quiz problems will be generally be multiple
choice. Warning: If you try to take the quiz in one sitting
you are not likely to do well!! Thinking of them as a type of homework
is most likely to produce good results! In order to keep you on track for the summer, the first five quizzes will be "open" until the end of week three. After that, the results of these quizzes will be downloaded, and anyone taking them after week three will be docked 10% for being late. Quizzes 6 - 10 will be available prior to week three and will be open until the final exam. There will be no late options for these last five quizzes.
the instructor fails to post a quiz on time, there will be no exceptions
made to this policy I.e., If you had to work, or were ill, or had
a relative in need of care, or if your internet service provider went
off line, you will still miss at least 10% on that quiz if its late.
I apologize for this strict policy, but 10% on a single quiz is very
unlikely to harm your overall grade (see the grading policy below).
On the other hand, please feel free to let me know if there are legitimate
problems going on. At the very least, I will know that you are still
involved in the class and perhaps I can help in some small way. Also,
if you expect to see a quiz when you log in and it is not there, don't
panic, and please don't send threatening emails to your instructor.
You will not be penalized for "glitches" on the instructors
end. Running a distance Ed class (or two) is quite complicated...stuff
happens....I'll do my best to try to avoid problems, but when they
do I will also do my best to resolve the problem in as painless a
manner as possible.
There is one final exam, in essay format-- in counterpoint
to the quizzes which are multiple choice. You must take the final
sometime during the dates listed in the schedule. The final cannot
be taken late. The final exam is vital for your final grade, so
please mark the dates on your calendar. You will receive announcements
in blackboard ahead of time to help you prepare for the exam.
For the Final, you will have three and a half hours to answer
the essay questions. one week prior to the final, a set of questions will be sent out to help you prepare. There is no special way to prepare for the final, other than working through the class material and reviewing quiz questions that you didn't understand.
final exam cannot be taken late or early unless PRIOR arrangements
have been AGREED UPON by the instructor and student. There will
be no exceptions to this policy.
In my opinion
(as both an instructor and a long time student) there are three important
components to learning a subject: learning on your own, learning by
interacting with others, and getting feedback to see whether you really
understand something. In Astronomy 10, I wish to strongly encourage
all three methods. Most of your assignments will be designed to do
just that, getting you to do some research to answer questions that
will pique your interest and help you learn, and then discuss the
responses with others, either in person or through the discussion
area. The quizzes, however, represent a bit of a gray area. On the
quizzes, you will be asked a series of questions (multiple choice)
that test your understand of a topic, or at least your familiarity
with the learning resources (i.e. where to find the answer in the
text, or on the web). So
here is the dilemma: Should you ask a classmate or someone else about
quiz questions? The answer is "sometimes." To make this
a bit less cryptic, here is how you cheat
on a quiz or exam:: Student A takes the quiz or exam and
submits his or her answers. Feedback is automatically output for for
each question. Student B then gets the feedback (i.e. the correct
answers) from Student A and uses those answers to get a higher score
on the quiz. Here
is how you interact fairly for a quiz:
1) take it yourself
without asking anyone else, or...
2) send an e-mail
or phone the instructor asking specific questions, or...
3) Use the discussion
area to ask your classmates where to look for information leading
to the answer (there will be a separate category in the discussion
area for each quiz, where you can post questions and helpful information
about where to look!) While
It is difficult for the instructor to be positive if a student is
or is not taking a quiz fairly, it is usually easy enough to tell
by comparing the times that a quiz is submitted with the score, and
by comparing performance on the exams with performance on quizzes.
Such problems are rare at Las Positas, but they have occurred. In
particular, students have failed the course for collaborating on the
will be based on total points as follows:
- 10 assignments
from Mastering Astronomy --100 points
Mastering Astronomy scores will be weighted in the students favor--if you get 80% or higher on an assignment, you will get all possible points. For more detail, see the guide to mastering astronomy.
- 10 online quizzes
- Three research
- a final exam 75
- course participation
in on-line discussions. 30 points
total = 520 pts
note that by checking "my
scores" in blackboard, you can see how you have done
on individual assignments.Points subtracted from late
quizzes will not show up in blackboard until the end of
the class. Mastering Astronomy scores will also not appear
in blackboard during the semester. Also note that You can keep track of
your progress on tutorials by viewing the "results reporter"
in the Mastering Astronomy web site. Finally, note that you cannot
drop the class after the NGR and W deadlines listed in the
class schedule, even if you are not doing well. Likewise,
incompletes will only be allowed if there is verifiable medical
Grades (out of 520 possible points)
If you are having problems
logging into blackboard, or with any other technical (i.e. computer
or web) issues that are preventing you from doing course work, please
education support . Please check out the FAQ page in blackboard
For questions regarding
grades, course material, quizzes, assignments, late work, and
of course astronomy concepts and information, please contact your
instructor at: email@example.com.
You will generally get a response within two days (and usually
one). If you don't get a response after two days, please try again!
I never ignore emails from students, so you don't get a reply,
something went wrong in cyberspace. Mastering Astronomy maintains their
own on-site support, so please contact them, and let your instructor know
if you are having site-specific problems.
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