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 at least 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. Whether you create a web page, type
a formal paper, or create a power point presentation is completely
up to you. 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 must also submit your work to "Turnitin.com" before submitting it to your instructor. More information on to do this will be in the Research Assignment area of Blackboard. If you do a power point presentation, you will need to create a text only version to upload in turinitin. More on this will send out as email/annoucements we get closer to the submission date.
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 20. 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
20 concern the five 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. There will also be a section entitled Question of the Week (though there will be new questions only ever two or three weeks) 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 at least 14 times per semester. More posts are fine--The quality of your posts will also determine your grade on the discussion board.
For more info, check out:Rubrics for the Discussion Area.
will be 5 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 and tutorials!
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
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, 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 3 - 5 will be available prior to the end of week three and will be open until the final exam. There will be no late options for these last three 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, mostly essay format-- in counterpoint
to the quizzes which are multiple choice. There will also be a few multiple choice questions, but these should be quite simple if you have made an effort to learn something about astronomy! You must take the final
sometime during the dates listed in the schedule. 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 complete it once you start. One week prior to the final, a set of questions will be sent out to help you prepare.
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 20, 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
to 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:
- 5 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.
- 5 online quizzes
- One survey assignment -20 points
- One Research Assignment 50 points
- a final exam 75
- course participation
in on-line discussions. 65 points
total = 560 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 560 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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