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

Astronomy 210, spring 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 personally found the zodiac part of the presentation to be interesting. I have yet to get to the textbook reading but if it discusses the zodiac signs further I would be very interested. Zodiac signs are just appealing to me and seem to have some partial truths at times with the people I've met which is why I enjoy it."

"I found the cycle of the seasons very interesting because it caused me to think about the other places in the world, and how they are in different sides of the equator and have different views of the sky and have different amounts of light and warm and cold."

"The fact that the north star wasn't the same as 4,800 years ago, and it will change steadily due to precession."

"I had not known the names for the moon's phases and I found it interesting to discover that there is much more to it than I had previously thought."

"The cycle of the seasons due to tilt and revolution was pretty interesting. Once you read about it and are able to visualize it, it's fairly straightforward. In any case, it's still exciting to be able to articulate it."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"There has not been anything confusing yet."

"I didn't get a clear understand of why solstices and equinoxes occur."
"I was confused how you can tell if the moon is waxing or waning from a picture. I thought more information would be necessary."

"I found most of the reading confusing mostly because I do not learn well from reading. Concepts do not typically stick in my head unless I have someone explaining them to me."

"I still do not fully understand how to categorize a moon phase, more than anything the definition of first and third quarter."

"I am a bit confused on the differences between a crescent moon and one that is gibbous."

"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.  ***************** [17]
April 25.  [0]
July 4.  * [1]
August 20.  * [1]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  **** [4]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [96%]
Earth's revolution: one year [83%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [92%]
The moon's revolution: one month [75%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [92%]
Waxing crescent: second [83%]
First quarter: third [87%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [79%]
Full moon: fifth [88%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [75%]
Third quarter: seventh [79%]
Waning crescent: eighth [67%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"In a flipped class, lectures are reviewed at home on the students time and homework is done in class."

"You learn the material before class, and if something seemed confusing questions will be answered in class the following day."

"This is pretty similar to what I've experienced in other classes so I'm not new to it."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"I think most student learning would take place in class when the student has the chance to solidify his/her understanding of the lecture and pose any questions to the instructor."

"A majority of the learning will be done at home however the understanding process will be done in class."

"Depends on the student. Some learn by listening to the lecture. Some learn by asking questions. Some learn by doing hands-on activities. Some learn by reading and taking notes. And with a flipped class everyone has the opportunity to learn the way they learn."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I've never taken a physics class--will this make astronomy more difficult for me compared to a person who has taken a physics class?" (No. This should not be a problem. Trust me.)

"How important is it to read the textbook if you read and understand the presentation previews." (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.)

"This is the first 'flipped' class I have been in and I am curious about how much of the pre-class-at-home-lecture we will be discussing in class. Is the amount predetermined, or will the amount based on the class' overall level of understanding of the topics?" (Little of both. Whatever you need. I'm flexible.)

"What are your beliefs about astrology predicting the future?" (Harmless fun. Your opinion may differ. Though I can't test you on your beliefs about astrology, whatever they are, I will certainly teach you, and test you on your understanding of the historical basis behind "sun-sign" astrology.)

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