Online reading assignment: flipped classroom, motions and cycles (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2014
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 Earth's rotation/precession/revolution/tilt, the moon's motions and cycles, and watching two video presentations on the flipped class: "What Is the Flipped Class?" and "How the Flipped Classroom Works."

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.
"I found Earth's precession interesting because not only is the Earth spinning on an axis, but the axis is wobbling as it spins."

"I am interested in learning about tilt because I've always wondered what the significance of the solstices and equinoxes is, and why they occur when they do."

"I found it interesting that month is like moon (moonth) and that it takes a month for the moon to go through its cycles. I think its cool that they are kind of named after each other."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I've never quite understood the orbit of the moon around Earth. I've had people tell me that there is no real pattern for it to follow, but i knew better than that, but I've never been able to figure out what that pattern was."

"How the zodiac signs worked kinda confused me."

"The different phases of the moon confuse me because I've never really paid attention to them. It will take some practice for me to memorize what they look like."

"I did not really understand the zodiac signs. I wasn't able to visualize in the way that I could visualize the other concepts in the section. The change in months and the different alignments of the constellations was just a little more overwhelming than it was clear."

What date would Virgo be just above the east horizon, as seen by an observer at 11 PM in San Luis Obispo, CA? (Ignore daylight saving time.)
February 20.  ********************* [21]
April 25.  [0]
July 4.  * [1]
August 20.  *** [3]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  **** [4]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [100%]
Earth's revolution: one year [93%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [97%]
The moon's revolution: one month [89%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [93%]
Waxing crescent: second [76%]
First quarter: third [83%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [72%]
Full moon: fifth [83%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [76%]
Third quarter: seventh [79%]
Waning crescent: eighth [72%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Part of the homework is going over what we will be learning in the next class but viewing presentation slides and videos rather than just looking through the textbook. And the majority of the homework is online rather than writing it out and turning it in."

"Honestly, a 'flipped class' is how many of my classes have been functioning at Cuesta so far and thus it doesn't feel terribly different. Nevertheless, the idea is that homework, unlike lecturing, actually requires a decent amount of critical thinking and thus, often, teacher-student interaction. Therefore, it is best that it takes place with the teacher and student in the same room--and thus the flip is that 'lecture' material the students get themselves, while class time is devoted to work and review."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"The most learning occurs when the student is engaged with other students and the teacher in class."

"In a flipped class, most learning occurs outside of the classroom, where students can review the material beforehand. They will then fortify their knowledge by asking for the help they actually need from the teacher."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Is there a double moon on August 27, when Mars will appear as big as the moon?" (Bogus. Bogosity. Total bogosity.)

"How important is it to read the textbook if you read and understand the presentation previews? Will there ever be a case that we go over the lecture notes all class if nobody understands it very well? Or should we always expect to work in groups and just use your office hours if we have a bunch of questions?" (It depends on the subject; right now it's more important to understand the visual information in the presentations than read about them in the textbook--other subjects require more textbook reading, while the presentations are just brief outlines. If a lot of people have problems with the textbook reading and/or notes, I'm prepared to allocate time in class to clarify stuff for you.)

"I really like the idea of the flipped classroom and I'm glad to see more and more teachers/professors using it!"

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