Online reading assignment: history of astronomy, telescope powers (SLO campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA
Section 70158 (San Luis Obispo campus)

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on reading textbook chapters and previewing presentations on reviewing the history of astronomy, Kepler's and Newton's laws, and telescope powers.

Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe something you found interesting from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
"To think that Kepler came up with the idea of elliptical orbits and was the first to abandon the ideas of uniform and circular motion is amazing to me. I understand these theories described what is being done without actually explaining how (empirical), but I still find it fascinating that somebody is capable of 'coming up with' this stuff."

"Each progressive astronomer built from the discoveries and knowledge of those before them until they got it right. Good job guys!"

"The two most well known facts about Galileo being false. I always thought that Galileo was the one who invented the telescope and who was also the first person to look at the sky with a telescope. I also thought he was condemned for believing Earth revolved around the sun, but that was not true either."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I will need more time with the planets, horizons, and familiarizing myself with which planet is visible and when." (The planet-finding in-class activity from spring semester 2012 and fall semester 2011 are available if you need more practice.)

"The laws and how planets move will be confusing for me because it is sometimes hard for my brain to wrap my head around things unless I can actually see it and experiment with it."

"Trying to remember who was who was pretty tough."

"The parts of the telescope... do we need to memorize all of them and their particular functions?"
Briefly explain your answer for the most important feature [brightness/resolution/magnification] to consider when purchasing an optical telescope.
"Telescopes are made to magnify."

"Resolution, because you need to make sure the resolving power is powerful enough to see things with more detail."

"Brightness--without the image being bright the magnification doesn't matter."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"When do we get to use the (Bowen Observatory) telescope at Cuesta?" (Tonight at the end of lecture, weather permitting.)

"Can you describe the lectures more slowly and thoroughly? I am having trouble following along in the class." (The presentations posted on my blog include all slides, and most of my comments. I will skim over certain slides, or give more explanation on certain slides depending on student responses from the online reading assignments. If you need further clarification or explanation, then come to posted office hours or make an appointment; ask questions just before/after lecture or via e-mail.)

"I really thought that I did good on the quiz and I only recieved a low C. Is there any way we could go over some questions in class off the quiz that a lot of people missed?" (Discussion of many of the quiz questions are posted on the blog.)

"How can I do better on the next quiz? :(" (Go through last semester's quiz and discussion. You can e-mail me about the questions on the archived quiz or other topics up until 10:00 PM the night before the quiz, and I will attempt to respond to you sometime later that night (or very early that morning).)

No comments: