Online reading assignment: blackbody radiation (SLO campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

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 Wien's law and the Stefan-Boltzmann law.

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.
"You could tell how bright a star is by the taking in account the distance away it is."

"You can tell the general heat of a star based on their color! Simple, and effective."

"Red stars are cool and blue stars are hotter because growing up we are taught to associate cool colors with cool things (blues) and hot things with bright colors (reds, oranges)."

"Colors of the stars are interesting because I've never noticed the stars being any other color than white."

"The comparison the text gave equating our sun to the size of a tennis ball and other stars being grains of sand to football fields respectively."

"You can measure how big the stars are based off an actual 'equation' that is quite simple."

"How stars are divided into spectral classes and you can label each star just by letter and a number."

"There are stars that we cannot see because they are very cool and only emit infrared light. It's interesting that these stars could be even closer than ones we can see."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Apparent magnitude and absolute magnitude. It's hard for me to determine between the two."

"The differences between absorption, emission, and continuous spectra. It is difficult for me to remember which one is which and I have a hard time figuring out which one a light is just by looking at it."

"Finding the size of a star by using the other variables listed, but I think going over it in class will clear it up."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Are you going to have a study guide for the midterm? Is the midterm just multiple-choice? Is the structure of the midterm similar to the quizzes?" (Refer to the study guide for the midterm, which is now posted.)

"Let's do some more going over things in-depth (note-taking) rather than more group work." (I deliberately do not lecture during class beyond what is necessary to introduce a new topic (also, the lecture slides and notes are already posted online), but I always try to gauge if the class needs more explanation from the feedback I get from the flashcard questions, and/or individual student questions. Help me know what you need more of in class, and/or come see me outside of class (or via e-mail) for further assistance.)

"Can you go a bit slower in lecture next class? I find myself trying to keep you with the notes I already recorded from your online blog with your lecture, and the questions you post on the board. Also, maybe not make flashcard questions so difficult." (Yes, flashcard questions are intended to be 'difficult' in order to diagnose the class-wide level of understanding. Don't feel frustrated by them, as they are meant to prompt further student-student and student-teacher interaction on new material. If you are really stuck on a concept, then feel free to let me know in class (or outside of class) what you need.)

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