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 reviewing the history of astronomy, Kepler's and Newton's laws, and telescope powers.
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.
"Copernicus' model and how he believed that the planets went around the sun."
"It was nice to be able to study in more detail the history of the astronomers. Again, I acknowledge that discovering these basic concepts (laws of motion, gravity, etc.) was not simple. It took diligent hard work, hours of sleepless nights and criticism from others. Even so, they persevered and are now fathers to modern science. Though I admit that history of science isn't the most interesting or fun for me, I think it's kind of inspiring if you think about the qualities of these geniuses."
"That the magnification on a telescope is not the most important power it has. It was interesting because I believed that it was the most important part."
"The uses and powers of different telescopes. I might even buy my own telescope after this semester is over."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"What Galileo discovered and especially how different the phases of the different planets."
"Orbital motions of planets. I think I sort of got the hang of it but retrograde and prograde motions did confuse me a bit."
"Elliptical orbits. Planets don't move in circles so the sun is not centered, but why does it matter if the sun isn't centered?"
"How a telescope works and what is important about it and how all pieces contribute to it. Overall a little lost when it comes to how telescopes work specifically part by part."
When a planet is undergoing retrograde motion, over several nights it moves __________ with respect to the background stars.
east to west. *********  west to east. ***  (Either of the above choices is possible.) **  (Unsure/lost/guessing/help!) 
When a planet is undergoing prograde motion, over several nights it moves __________ with respect to the background stars.
east to west. **  west to east. *********  (Either of the above choices is possible.) *  (Unsure/lost/guessing/help!) ** 
Categorize each of Kepler's laws.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Kepler's first law: describes the shape of a planet's orbit. [86%]
Kepler's second law: describes the motion of a planet along its orbit. [71%]
Kepler's third law: describes the motion of a planet along its orbit. [71%]
Categorize each of Newton's laws.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Newton's first law: relates forces with changes in motion. [64%]
Newton's second law: relates forces with changes in motion. [64%]
Newton's third law: describes a property of forces. [86%]
The __________ power of a telescope depends on the: (Only correct responses shown.)
light-gathering: diameter of the primary lens/mirror [36%]
resolving: diameter of the primary lens/mirror [64%]
magnifying: both the focal lengths of the primary lens/mirror and eyepiece: [71%]
The least important feature to consider when purchasing an optical telescope is the __________ of its images.
brightness. *****  resolution. *  magnification. ******  (Two of the above choices.) *  (Unsure/lost/guessing/help!) * 
Briefly explain your answer for the least important feature to consider when purchasing an optical telescope.
"Increasing the magnifying power is not very effective compared to increasing the brightness and/or resolution."
"In order to view a clear picture of what you're trying to see you need resolution and enough brightness to view the image."
"Pictures of space will have a black background so planets and stars will pop no matter the brightness?"
"It's kind of hard to determine which aspect is the least important. Because, when it comes to observation, I want a clear picture, meaning I need good resolution. he primary job of a telescope is magnify, so that would be a huge part of it. Brightness matters the least to me because I would using my telescope to observe things in the sky that are all ready illuminated by something?"
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Really cool to learn about the history of astronomy and scientific achievements that 'changed the game.'"
"A comment I would like to make is that I find it cool how these scientist were able contribute to astronomy. I don't think I would of ever been able to figure out or make a correct guess about what occurs with the planets."
"Please go over prograde and retrograde."
"I'm sure we'll go over telescopes and such on the next class meeting. But orbital motions are still confusing me a bit."
"Where would you recommend a good place to get a telescope?" (Craigslist, actually; once you learn what to look for in a telescope.)