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 found flipped classes to be interesting, I feel like a great amount of students can really benefit from this way of learning"
"I find it interesting that the sun is almost as equally large as it is far from the moon, and that because we live on Earth we get to experience an almost perfect solar eclipse. I also wonder if this event influenced more primitive societies and their religions when the knowledge of what a solar eclipse was didn't exist."
"I found the starwheel truly amazing. I spent three hours outside locating items on this chart Saturday night from 11 PM to 2 AM."
"Precession, because I hadn't heard about it before. It's interesting that over time people will see different north celestial poles in the sky and that astronomers noticed that so long ago."
"How a lot of us have misconceptions on something as 'simple' as what causes seasons."
"When learning about the four types of motion in the sky, I found it interesting that it takes 26,000 years for Earth's wobbling axis this long to complete a cycle."
"The cause of the seasons as being due to the angle at which the sunlight hits earth's surface, as summer and winter are caused by the Earth's tilt of its north pole toward or away from the sun, rather than being caused by Earth being at perihelion or aphelion of its orbit around the sun."
"The time-lapse video of the moon video helped me to put the still photos of the moon photos together with the correct terms. Understanding that the 'terminator' moves from the right to the left is helpful in differentiating between the waxing and waning phases."
"I found the connection between ancient times and modern times to be fascinating. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and learning exponentially, still using some of the old terminology and methods."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"How the sun makes different paths across the sky in one year and creates arcs."
"How to tell which phase of the moon it is, especially in the waxing or waning phases."
"I could not really understand why Earth had to revolve around the sun as spinning on its tilted axis to create the seasons."
"Rotation is the spinning of Earth on its axis, and this cycle takes approximately 24 hours to complete, depending on your frame of reference--what frame of reference?"
"Pole wandering sounds cool but am a little confused on it!"
"The most confusing aspect of the assignments was the terminology. Many of the terms have similar spellings and it's hard for me to differentiate on the first read-through. Thankfully, I enjoy learning, it just takes me a few times to get it."
"I was a bit lost on the whole zodiac thing."
"How to determine the current zodiac sign from our starwheels."
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 [97%]I believe astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
Earth's revolution: one year [82%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [94%]
The moon's revolution: one month [88%]
Strongly disagree.   *********  Disagree.   ****  Neutral.   ************  Agree.   *********  Strongly agree.   
Briefly explain your answer regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
"I like to believe that our destiny is controlled by our own actions , not based on a prediction from some stars that are beyond our comprehension."
"What's in outer space does not have a effect on me or my future, and most of it does not line up with my beliefs."
"Astrology is based off of nothing. It's basically snake oil."
"I'm neutral on astrology; I believe in the idea of observing the stars to determine one's personality, on the other hand I disagree with the idea of using astrology to make accurate predictions about the future."
"We alone set our path, not the stars when it comes to our own destination."
"God is the one and only who knows with complete accuracy the course of events in my life."
"I believe that God created me and has a plan for my life, although I have the ability to go against His plans for me."
"I think coincidence is a strong motivating factor along with confirmation bias. It is easy to align with the things that make sense to a person about themselves, while discarding the bits that don't line up with them personally."
"I've never had any personal experience with astrology predicting my future, so I have no opinion."
"There's so many children born under the same position of the stars, moon, sun and other planets, that to me doesn't really make sense. How their future or the way the planets or stars are aligned is going affect all the lives of the people that were born the same day. I did choose neutral because when I check my horoscope sometimes it can be accurate and sometimes it isn't."
"I believe that astrology can make accurate predictions about my future and I also believe that our zodiac signs describe each person very well. I think that if signs are compatible the relationship will work out good but I don't want to base it all on astrology either. I'm a believer but not completely overboard."
"Sometimes they are very general and most people can fit into many of the categories, but they mostly focus on their own. In a general sense they are fun to read about what the stars say about particular people."
"I've always been into horoscopes and how the celestial bodies can influence our day-to-day lives."
"I believe that astrology is very much a prominent factor in our lives. When I say astrology, I mean ALL the aspects of it, not just the zodiac: the degrees that the sun, moon and planets are in when we are born, in my eyes, greatly influence who we are. I will state, however, that I do not have any scientific facts to support this belief."
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 [85%]
First quarter: third [76%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [73%]
Full moon: fifth [85%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [62%]
Third quarter: seventh [59%]
Waning crescent: eighth [59%]
Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Since we have a lot more time for feedback from the teacher where we can practice key concepts, we have a clearer awareness of what we need to focus on."
"In a flipped class you do all of the reading before class so you have a general sense of what you are going to learn and the professor clarifies and goes over while expanding on the topics so they make more sense. In a conventional class the teacher gives the information and they're required to do the reading afterwards as a type of review."
"Class time is spent doing in-class activities; rather than learning about the lesson in class students can read/watch the lesson on their own time."
"The homework from a flipped class is done with our peers and teacher, instead of alone at home so we can consult one another on it."
"The difference between conventional classes and flipped classes is that all the reading and preparation for the next class in done at home to get the most out of class time."
Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Learning occurs the most in a flipped class during the class time where we collaborate with other students and obtain clarification from the teacher, this will result in the student having a greater collection of resources."
"Our learning should occur during class time, because that is when we are applying the information and we are able to further our understanding by doing activities and we are able to ask you/the instructor questions that we may have."
"That kind of depends on what kind of learner you are. For visual learners, the learning might take place in reading and viewing presentations prior to the class period. For more hands-on people, it would be in class when the material is applied with other students and the teacher. Also, in class, the teacher can help students gain better understanding of the concepts and directly answer questions and give demonstrations."
"In a flipped class, the information that you learn is done at home through the reading and then the teacher clarifies any questions in the next class. A conventional class is the opposite where the teacher covers all of the lecture notes in class at the time and the student then goes home to read it and understand it."
"Most of the learning can happen at home online. The teacher posts the lesson that they would have taught in class online so that students can view at home before going to class that way they can use class time to their full advantage and the teacher can give students the individual help and support that they may need."
Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'Go to class! Ask questions even if you think you sound dumb.' I agree with the others too, but this one caught my attention because I don't know much about astronomy so I feel shy to ask. I don't want to sound!"
"'In order to succeed, you must do the homework every week. If you do not, you WILL be lost when you come to class.' I agree with this piece of advice because it's completely true. In order to succeed we do need to do homework and if we don't do the homework once we get to class we won't know what's going on. Especially in a flipped class type of environment. Doing the homework and not getting behind will ultimately be the key to success."
"I completely agree with people saying that you really need to keep up on the reading it is the most important part of a flipped class because if you don't then you're lost."
"'Attend class and take notes.' I agree with this in particular as all I've ever done when it comes to learning in class can be summed up with attending class and retaining the information (which is made easier via notes)."
"Reviewing past quizzes and tests sounds like a very good idea. I haven't really had the opportunity to do that in the past, but i can definitely see this being advantageous. Especially when one can review what was done wrong and further cement what was done right."
"I found that all of your students respected you, and enjoyed your way of teaching. The three biggest takeaway heplful hints: READ, SHOW UP TO CLASS, ASK QUESTIONS."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I really like the way you teach your class. The fact that you are not reading directly off of a text book is a big plus. Keep up the good work."
"I am excited about this class and seeing how physics and astronomy go hand-in-hand!"
"I have a difficult time understanding why astrology is relevant to my learning astronomy? It's not that I am opposed to learning about astrology, but it would be nice to have an understanding of how this needs to fit into my knowledge of astronomy."
"Will we be working in groups through out the semester or can one choose to work on their own? I like to work on my own for the most part, unless it's a group assignment." (You'll be assigned to different groups each day. You're welcome to print out your copy of the in-class activity if you want your own copy to work on individually, but what gets turned in should be a collaborative group effort.)
In the advice from former students somebody said to study past tests and quizzes, and I was wondering if you have those available as study tools?" (The quizzes and exams from last semester are listed individually on the "Goals" pages of the course website. You'll also practice these in the class just before each quiz and exam.)