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

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2016
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.
"In the slide presentation you asked us to ponder the word 'zodiac.' I want to understand why since the beginning of time people based not only their direction or time on the sky the stars, cycles of the moon but they based personality, or behavior what type of animal they would most resemble all off the revolution of Earth around the sun. I think that is fascinating."

"That Earth's spin axis wobbles, causing it to take 26,000 years to complete."

"'Pole wandering'--I am fascinated by the fact that in previous eras there were different north stars."

"The specific names for the moon's phases was pretty interesting for me. I understood the basic movement of Earth and the moon but the names of the phases were pretty cool for me to learn."

"That Earth is almost always the same distance from the sun due to the fact Earth's orbit is nearly circular, not elliptical. And seasons are more due to the solar energy the Earth experiences and not due to variation of the distance from the sun."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Precession vs. rotation was a bit confusing to understand as they are both related to motion but mean two different things."

"I found it difficult trying to visualize all of the different motions of Earth, sun and moon. Because I had a hard time visualizing them it made it difficult to distinguish between them all in my head."

"Zodiac signs still get me--not sure what they really mean or if they really do mean anything..."

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.  [1]
July 4.  [0]
August 20.  [0]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ****** [6]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [89%]
Earth's revolution: one year [82%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [96%]
The moon's revolution: one month [79%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [89%]
Waxing crescent: second [79%]
First quarter: third [75%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [71%]
Full moon: fifth [71%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [82%]
Third quarter: seventh [75%]
Waning crescent: eighth [71%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"I feel like there wouldn't be as much tedious work. Usually homework is tedious busy work that takes a long time to complete but after a flipped classroom lecture there would maybe be less time spent doing homework because of a better understanding of the material."

"Flipped class allows for you to engage in the work for a class via a video that is able to be watched before class starts. Once you have watched this video you will have a rough understanding of what will be learned in your next class meeting allowing for more one-on-one help and assistance in the actual classroom environment. This allows students to work at their own pace and also receive help on things they don't understand when around their professors."

"The homework is to review the information that the in class activities will be based on."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most the learning of lessons would be done studying by the students outside the class watching videos. Then teachers can focus on working with students one and one and answering specific questions."

"Students in a flipped class are going to learn the most during class time because they go into that environment with the lecture already in mind. They use that time to apply what they've learned, clarify, converse, and immerse themselves in the material. Conventional classes tend to flood students with information during class time and students have to do the learning during their homework time."

"In a flipped class, students learn the most before and during the lecture, whereas in the conventional class, students learn the most during or after the lecture, or just struggle because some learn at a different pace than others."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"Several of the advice quotes were along the lines of 'do the online reading assignments.' I really agree with this because they make the lecture for that week so much easier to understand. I was lost the first day, but then I started doing the online reading and it was much better, much clearer."

"I agree with the importance of showing up to class. Missing a day causes you to fall behind speaking from experience which causes great deals of stress."

"'Do all of the previous semesters' archived quizzes and midterms.' This seems really helpful to being successful in the course. I wasn't even aware that you had the old quizzes and tests available to study until I read that."

"'As long as you figure out how to study for this class it isn't as hard as it seems initially.' I agree with this student advice because you can tell students to study and go to class and read their textbook and stuff (which I fully agree with), but in the end it really comes down to understanding what the teacher/professor expects you to understand. Once you get an idea of how the teacher evaluates your knowledge you'll get a hang of it pretty quickly."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Because I didn't have the textbook yet and couldn't answer all the questions accordingly will I still get credit for trying to answer them?" (Yes, as long as you tried your best.)

"Could we go over how to navigate your site/blog and where to find links/sections?" (We can review that to remind you about next week's homework, and to study for the upcoming quiz.)

"I like the flipped classroom style, this makes learning less stressful and helps the teacher tailor discussions to content most needed by students."

"Do you think Cuesta College could do a total flip for all its classes?" (I would surprised if that would happen, as at least from my experience there is a lot of instructor preparation to teach a flipped class.)

"I love the energy and excitement you have already displayed in this course, just in the first lecture. After last semester, I swore off night classes after having a rough experience with a math course. However, once I stepped foot out of the lecture last Wednesday, I instantly felt relieved. Never during the course of the class was I disengaged, staring at the clock, or snoozing off. You are the best instructor to handle this course. I am so excited to experience astronomy alongside someone so passionate about the material. Keep it up!"

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