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 was really interested in how much physics there is in astronomy! This is helpful because I took physics last year and will take it next semester. It also brought back information I knew which was neat."
"How the early astronomers were able to figure all of this out! I take for granted how easy it is to find out how something works today and to understand that these guys literally figured it out themselves is quite miraculous."
"Really cool to read about the little bits and pieces that make up a telescope. I have never seen the inside of a telescope before."
"I think the progression of ideas of different astronomers is interesting. It makes me wonder what will be 'the truth' next."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Why do planets move faster when they are closer to the object around which they are orbiting? I read that part a few times and it still doesn't make much sense. Is it more gravitational pull increasing its velocity?"
"I found Newton's cannon confusing. It seems very interesting so I want to understand it more. I just feel like without out further explanation diagrams are always confusing to me."
"Getting straight what each astronomer's contribution was to the field."
"I found how telescopes work to be a little confusing."
"I am not really getting the three laws of planetary motion, and thats really the only thing I was confused on in these sections."
"I could use some clarification on retrograde and prograde motions."
"The details between the different telescopes got super boring and could not keep my attention. Sorry."
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 [59%]
resolving power: diameter of the primary lens/mirror [56%]
magnifying power: both the focal lengths of the primary lens/mirror and eyepiece: [35%]
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.
"The least important feature to consider when purchasing an optical telescope is the magnification. All the magnification does is enlarge whatever you are looking at, when enlarging, it makes the object appear blurry which defeats the purpose of seeing clearly."
"Magnification is the least important feature when purchasing a telescope because you can easily change the eyepiece to increase magnification, unlike resolution and brightness."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"After taking the test last week and the previous studies of the moon I absolutely will never see the moon the same again. Every night since last Wednesday I've looked up at the moon and been able to tell where it is and what phase it is in. That is pretty awesome to me!"
"Looking forward to going up to the Bowen Observatory and checking out the telescope up there!"
"Is homework a credit/no credit thing?" (You get full credit on the online reading assignment for completing all the sections with substantive effort--and partial credit if you skip some sections (or only put in a minimal effort in trying to answer those sections.)
"Do we need to know when the astronomers lived, or just whether each astronomer would be considered a mover/disprover, and non-scientist/scientist." (Remember the emphasis is on what each astronomer did, whether to create or refute a model of planetary motion, and whether their contribution was based on first principles or evidence.)
"Ohana means 'family.'" (And "family" means "nobody gets left behind...or forgotten.")