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 Kirchhoff's laws.
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 liked the comparison between 'the dark and light lines of spectrum in a star are like the bar codes on the products you buy at the store.' This was really interesting to understand this information through this perspective."
"I always thought rainbows were just something that shows up after a heavy rain but in reality it's about more about light splitting apart into different wavelengths."
"It's interesting to read about the energy levels of atoms, and how if they absorb photons, they can move from a low energy level to a high energy level. And if they emit a photon, they move from a higher level to a lower one."
"That things moving toward us have the squish/blueshift effect and things moving away from us have the stretch/redshift effect."
"Learning how the Doppler effect works. Trains pass by my house all of the time and I like listening to the noise, so it's very cool to be able visualize the movement of the sound."
"The Doppler effect is quite interesting to me, it's awesome how you can close your eyes and just listen to sounds and tell whether they are moving towards you or moving away just by hearing the pitch/frequencies."
"A star moving perpendicular to your eye to the left would have no blue or red shift because the from Earth would not move."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Nothing was really confusing but it was difficult trying to figure out which spectrum was produced by balrog from The Lord Of The Rings. I can't really tell if he is made out of dense matter, gases, or both."
"A continuous spectrum is something different than absorption spectrum? And emission spectrum is when there are more colors missing? I don't understand the why too much. I need just a smudge more clarification on them."
"The way the text describes the Doppler effect."
"I was confused on trying to categorize the molten metal slide. I think it's an absorption spectrum because the molten metal is mostly glowing light and has a few darker lines in it. But I'm not completely sure."
"The spectra types are confusing for me. I read them and understand them, and can understand them as compared to the pictures of the spectra shown in the presentation. But when I see photos of a sunset or lava, I have no idea how to figure it out."
I believe Pluto should be a planet.
Strongly disagree.   *  Disagree.   ******  Neutral.   *******  Agree.   ***  Strongly Agree.   
Briefly explain your answer to the previous question (whether Pluto should be a planet).
"It orbits the sun, it is round, however isn't very big and doesn't dominate it's orbit. Eventhough it was once categorized as a planet, science is always changing and proving/disproving theories. Pluto just happens to be one of those that didn't happen to make the guideline cuts."
"I understand that a lot of people have a sentimental value placed on Pluto, because it is mean to take away its status as a planet. However, it is also smaller than Russia, so I don't know how deserving it is of this title."
"Pluto was considered a dwarf planet, therefore is not considered a planet."
"I'm still pretty neutral. Again, if it was a planet before, it should still be one now even though the 'rules' changed. It followed the original rules, so it should get some credit for that. But I'm not really invested in it either way."
"It doesn't fit the critera to be defined as a planet."
"I love Pluto, but it simply doesn't dominate its orbit."
"Pluto is lonely and its difficult associating him as something other than a planet. In my heart he will always be a planet."
"The whole giving-out-planet status and taking it back before Pluto even made a full revolution around the sun seems mean to me."
"I am still sticking to 'neutral' because what if they change the rules again?"
Match the spectrum type with their appearance.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Rainbow containing all colors: continuous [100%]
Rainbow with thin black lines: absorption [100%]
Colored lines on a black background: emission [100%]
Given off by hot, dense object: continuous [60%]
Given off by hot, diffuse gas atoms: emission [65%]
Passing through cool, diffuse gas atoms: [77%]
continuous; rainbow.   *****  emission; series of bright lines on a dark background.   *********  absorption; series of dark lines on a rainbow background.   **  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   * 
continuous; rainbow.   ********  emission; series of bright lines on a dark background.   ****  absorption; series of dark lines on a rainbow background.   ****  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   * 
continuous; rainbow.   ****  emission; series of bright lines on a dark background.   *********  absorption; series of dark lines on a rainbow background.   **  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   ** 
continuous; rainbow.   *  emission; series of bright lines on a dark background.   **********  absorption; series of dark lines on a rainbow background.   *  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   ***** 
continuous; rainbow.   **  emission; series of bright lines on a dark background.   ********  absorption; series of dark lines on a rainbow background.   ****  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   *** 
starts loud, then gets quieter.   **  starts quiet, then gets louder.    starts quiet, gets louder, then goes back down to quiet.   ***************  starts loud, gets quieter, then goes back up to loud.    (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   
Suppose you are standing on the sidewalk as a car, with its horn continuously on, passes by (video link, same as above). The pitch (high note/low note) of the car horn:
starts high, then drops lower.   ******  starts low, then goes higher.    starts low, goes higher, then drops back down to low.   *******  starts high, goes lower, then goes back up to high.   **  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   ** 
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Could you please explain the spectras in more detail next class? I had some trouble finding how to determine the differences between them in the questions above."
"Why are the Doppler shifts either blue or red?" (The edges of the visible light spectrum are blue and red, so when the Doppler effect moves the absorption lines slightly towards one edge or slightly towards the other edge, the lines are "shifting towards the blue end of the spectrum," or "shifting towards the ed end of the spectrum.")
"Will planets be on our next midterm? (Yes, on the next week's quiz, and on the second midterm.)
"When are we going to learn about black holes? And how long are we going to talk about them?"(We will cover black holes in the first Thursday's class after spring break, after we cover how stars die to become either white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes.)
"Is the device you wear on your shirt collar for recording your lectures? Just wondering :)" (It's the input microphone for my hearing aid (with a wireless connection to the other part in my ear). Beats old-school hearing aids where the microphone and amplifier were in a big box worn around your neck, with wires leading to headphones.)
"Whatever happened to seeing the telescopes?" (Wait until the week before spring break; we'll schedule a star night at the NC telescope shelter.)