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 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.
"I found it interesting how each scientist took what the previous one discovered and built something on it."
"Learning how a telescope works because I've never used one."
"It doesn't matter if a telescope makes an object look bigger, it matters if it makes it clearer or not."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"All of the astronomers get so jumbled together and mixed up... It's confusing! I can only remember a few of them. I just need to repeat them over and over, I guess."
"What I found a little difficult were the telescope powers. I understand what each thing means and what it depends on, but what makes it confusing for me is how things work in the telescope (what light bounces off which part(s) to produce an image)."
"I'm confused about Newton's cannon because it was hard for me to understand the slides about Earth's gravitational pull, and the idea that things are falling as they revolve."
"If you could just go over Kepler's laws and Newton's law to really get it in class, please?"
When a planet is undergoing retrograde motion, over several nights it moves __________ with respect to the background stars.
east to west. ***************  west to east. *************  (Either of the above choices is possible.) ****  (Unsure/lost/guessing/help!) ** 
When a planet is undergoing prograde motion, over several nights it moves __________ with respect to the background stars.
east to west. ***************  west to east. ************  (Either of the above choices is possible.) **  (Unsure/lost/guessing/help!) **** 
The __________ powers of a telescope depends on the: (Only correct responses shown.)
light-gathering power: diameter of the primary lens/mirror [65%]
resolving power: diameter of the primary lens/mirror [50%]
magnifying power: both the focal lengths of the primary lens/mirror and eyepiece: [24%]
The least important feature to consider when purchasing an optical telescope is the __________ of its images.
brightness. *****  resolution. *  magnification. **************************  (Two of the above choices.)  (Unsure/lost/guessing/help!) ** 
Briefly explain your answer for the least important feature to consider when purchasing an optical telescope.
"Well, if the resolution and the brightness aren't clear then you wouldn't be able to see the image as well. Even if the magnification isn't so great, at least you could have some clarity on the image."
"Light-gathering power and resolving power are fundamental properties of the telescope that can't be changed, whereas magnifying power can be changed simply by changing the eyepiece."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Will we be covering theories like additional planets within in our own solar system besides the known eight? What about theories like warp drives, wormholes, etc.?" (Yes, and not really. But we can still keep it real while talking about black holes and dark matter.)