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.
"Something that I found interesting in the presentation preview was that a precession for Earth takes 26,000 years. I thought this was interesting because that seems like a crazy long amount of time, especially because rotation only takes 24 hours."
"Reading about how ancient astronomers could measure the sky and even discover how the sky worked, just by observing, was very interesting to me. It amazes me how well they could learn especially without the technology we have today and also amazes me how much our knowledge and observations with technology has developed since then."
"I never realized how the seasons were determined in nature! I think it is interesting that the seasons are caused by the different levels of solar energy! The energy is received from the Earth's hemispheres and those solar levels change throughout the year. I think it is interesting because here on the central coast we don't experience traditional seasons. (I think we are lucky.)"
"I found the entire segment about the zodiac constellations to be highly interesting. I've always been fascinated with astrology and it will be interesting to learn about them from a more scientific point of view."
"I liked learning about what causes the phases of the moon. Seeing the moon change shapes is so common, we often forget that there's a science behind it and a reason for the specific shapes."
"I like the flipped classroom model. I honestly get really bored during lecture sometimes and doing interactive work and group work makes class so much more enjoyable."
"I found it interesting that season's aren't caused by a change in the distance between Earth and sun, but instead the amount of solar energy the hemispheres of Earth receive."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The part of the presentation about the north star changing or there may eventually be no north star was confusing to me, because I didn't really understand why."
"I am still a little confused on the phases of the moon. I tried focusing on this part in the book on page 24 but I still am having trouble wrapping my mind around how to remember the different phases."
"It confuses me how the rotation axis can precess around a full circle in 26,000 years, but Earth takes 24 hours to complete a rotation."
"I need some help visualizing ecliptic movement and I don't understand the phases of the moon at all."
"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.   *****************************  April 25.   *  July 4.   *  August 20.   **  (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)   ******* 
Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [95%]
Earth's revolution: one year [91%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [100%]
The moon's revolution: one month [85%]
Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [100%]
Waxing crescent: second [83%]
First quarter: third [86%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [79%]
Full moon: fifth [91%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [76%]
Third quarter: seventh [81%]
Waning crescent: eighth [76%]
Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"The homework in a flipped classroom is different because instead of going over something I was taught in the previous lecture, I now have to read it myself and see what I do and what I don't understand."
"The homework is online and is more engaging for the student. It doesn't stress the student out as much. They don't have to try to remember to bring the assignment to class."
"Assigned homework is usually what the teacher in a 'regular' class would be lecturing about, so that class time can be spent applying knowledge."
Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most of the learning is done in class by applying the concepts and practicing to help learn."
"The most student learning comes from supervised in class projects and team discussions. Also, in class once we have done the required reading we are able to ask any and all questions that we need clarified, therefore saving time and energy while learning the maximum amount."
"Anytime! since I can access videos using a computer or mobile device, I can learn anywhere and anytime!"
"I would say it depends on the students' learning style. For the students who learn by doing, well they probably learn more in class by doing the activities.
"In my opinion with a flipped class the student is always learning just in a different way. At home they are able to learn at their speed, reviewing all the future class slides and notes. Then answer some questions and ask some questions. In class the student is learning with a hands on approach doing more class exercises and the student already has some idea of what is going to be covered in the class. So you are not just dropped into the deep end of learning."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I find it interesting just how much physics and math seem to naturally fit with astronomy. I am a math kind of person but not necessarily a science person, however I am looking forward to seeing how entwined these two subject really are in the form of astronomy."
"The star chart was rather confusing, although you did teach us about it, I still found some difficulties with it. It's mainly because it is a new tool that I've never used before. I believe with more practice, I will be able to master it."
"How long have you been teaching with the flipped class model?" (This is my second semester of a completely flipped classroom teaching for this astronomy class.)
"I thought the flipped classroom concept was very interesting. I've never truly liked the standard lecture-based methods college professors tend to use, but also am not the greatest fan of an overload of homework either. I'm excited to see how this program, which seems to be a happy medium, helps me succeed in this course." (I'm excited, too.)
"I was nervous about taking a boring science class that I might fall asleep in after the first two hours, but after attending the first class session I am really looking forward to the flipped class environment and I think this will be my most looked forward to and interesting class."
"Do we need to buy a 'clicker' from the bookstore?" (No. No clickers, no Scantrons®.)
"What is the best textbook to buy instead of buying the newest addition of ASTRO2? Is an old edition acceptable, or has too much information changed?" (About 90% of the information is the same. The first edition of ASTRO has very different chapter numbers, so you would need to borrow a friend's copy of ASTRO2 to figure out how they've been renumbered.)