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.
"Star trails and how looking in a certain direction can change the path of them. I found this interesting because prior to reading this section, I didn't know that looking north as opposed to south could change the path you see so drastically."
"How Polaris (located near the north celestial pole) hardy moves, but other stars circle the celestial pole as the sky appears to rotate westward."
"What stars you can see depends on your latitude. The people in Australia see many stars versus North America."
"The different terms for Earth's rotation, revolution, and precession was confusing to me at first. I think it was probably the different terms and remembering how much time each one took to complete."
"The precession of Earth's axis, because it is like a top that is spinning."
"How many different ways the Earth moves. I had always pictured the earth just rotating in a simple circle--I had never considered that Earth could spin, wobble and tilt all at once. I'm still not 100% on exactly how all of these movements occur, but it's definitely an interesting concept that I had simply never comprehended before."
"Explanation of the seasons; learning the tilt of the planet's axis controls our weather."
"Even when Earth is at perihelion in January, it doesn't affect the seasons. The fact that Earth is closest to the Sun then but not blasting hot in January is fascinating."
"Zodiac signs aren't just something that social media made up as a trend, but however the position the sun is at compared to the stars (as seen from Earth)."
"Phases of the moon. I didn't really know that we see the same side of the moon everyday but because of the shadows it it appears differently."
"While at first I was confused about this term, I found it very interesting and funny that the border between the lit and dark sides of the moon was called the terminator. I never would have guessed that."
"I never understood why the moon could sometimes be out during the day, but the last point you made about revolution and rotation of the earth and moon happening simultaneously made me feel like the heavens were opened up to me in a blast of blissful understanding."
"The idea of a flipped classroom. Doing preparatory work and studying independently, then coming to class for clarifications and knowledge reinforcement is very interesting."
"I found the flipped classroom very interesting; I had never really thought of that before or had a teacher do that."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Being able to read the starwheel still."
"How does one determine precession? I don't understand how it one is able to calculate something from 26,000 years ago, when there was no understanding of precession at that time?"
"What Earth's precession is and how its cycle is 26,000 years."
"Some of the moon phases still kind of confuse me. Like the waxing, waning, gibbous. The blog post kind of helped but I still have a hard time distinguishing it."
"At this moment I feel a little overwhelmed with all the terminology, but I feel is the matter of hearing it, studying more and simply getting adjusted. I really enjoy the pictures/animations as I am a visual learner."
"So far pretty much anything graphical is a bit confusing to me. I just see a bunch of words. I think maybe because already there are a bunch of terms, names of stars, and constellations and I'm just thinking, 'so many white dots.'"
The constellation Virgo is just above the east horizon, as seen by an observer at 11 PM in San Luis Obispo, CA. What date is this? (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 [100%]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 [78%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [97%]
The moon's revolution: one month [87%]
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 don't believe in astrology because there's no scientific evidence that shows what date your born on constructs your personality. I think its an excuse for people to act certain ways because they can blame it on the stars."
"There was a time my life completely went down hill which resulted for me to become in tune with myself and everything else around me. I then began picking up books, which furthered my horizons on what to believe. I then started realizing a lot of things that I'd ask myself was that a coincidence? And later began finding a really big interest in astrology, numerology, etc. I am still learning and I am fascinated on what I am discovering which leads me to having an opinion on how I feel about this subject. :)"
"I find it superinteresting, I love to read my horoscopes because I find it fun. I don't necessarily think it predicts my future but I've found they can be accurate in personalities and such with vagueness."
"I don't know too much about astrology, but when others have told me about their own belief and how it relates to themselves I could see what they were getting at. I've also heard the basics when it comes to Capricorns and stars being aligned and so on and I guess I can see the stereotypes (common attributes) being true."
"I find it hard to belive that astrology can influence every sinlge persons future."
"I feel very connected to the world around me and that there is an energy that runs through the living and nonliving that is all connected. To say that the moon and stars and galaxies are exempt from this could mean discrediting any and all possibility of exploring this concept, which would be a disservice to those who also feel without needing to see."
"I believe that astrology can affect the weather and the tides, but when it comes to affecting my personality and my career I don't think the stars have anything to do with it."
"I don't believe that stars in the sky have an impact on the fate of my future, the stars have existed for millennia before us and have the same patterns over those years."
"I really have no opinion at all about it"
"My disbelief in astrology comes from my spiritual faith and guidance..."
"Wouldn't make any sense."
"How do the stars make me the person I am? I know people with the same sign as me and we are completely different."
"I feel as though the stars cannot determine who I am as a person, but rather it is in my control. The same goes for my future and moods."
"We as humans have an incredible knack for identifying patterns, and I believe we have structured astrology in a manner where everyone, if they choose to do so, may be able to find or apply these patterns within and throughout their own personality traits (kinda like confirmation bias)."
"I believe that spirituality as well as science and math harmonize at certain points. I believe the mapping of the physical positions of the planets have correlation to one's personality. Our personalities are also simply defined through atoms shifting through our physical vessels with the force of gravity. Rooms have different energies depending on what vessels are placed in it, so why would Earth be any different? Earth is placed in the room of our solar system, and its energies constantly shift."
"I think that astrology can make some predictions."
"I believe that a well-educated astrologist can predict our future based on our quality of life and history, but if we change the way we do things, those predictions can change. Nothing is set in stone and many things can happen in our life."
"I agree but don't strongly agree because there are predictions based on astrology that aren't right a lot."
"I don't believe that inanimate objects can determine the future, or alter the universe in any manner."
"I believe the stars and planets will be where they say they will be but we do not know enough information from this course to know just yet."
"I just don't think the position of the earth around the sun at the time of one's birth can actually significantly affect a person's future or behavior."
"I believe in science."
"There is no evidence to suggest that the pseudoscience of astrology has any truth behind it."
"I believe astrology can accurately predict what the earth's future is to an extent, because we don't know completely what is happening out in space at all times and there could be things in space that we have not accounted for yet."
"I have not seen any peer reviewed academic studies regarding astrology. If I do see any, my mind will change."
"I think astrology is interesting, but when I think about it, it's mostly the zodiac signs that I know about. I think that maybe their are some characteristics that could be shown in people from the zodiac signs but I wouldn't necessarily say that most decisions should come from that."
"I do not really know much about astrology so I do not have an opinion on it's ability to make accurate predictions about my future."
"I have never seen or read scientific evidence that proves astrology to be accurate."
"Astrology is comforting to ignorant people who crave simple explanations to complicated, nuanced questions. Astrology is as relevant in explaining an individuals behavior as crystals and tarot card readings, which is to say that it is complete bullshit. Space is so vast and complex that I find it laughable people dumb it down into a series of human qualities like "\'Oh he's a Leo so he is very prideful but irresponsible with finances?!?' Ha ha. Whatever dude."
"I have not seen hard evidence to support astrology. Even the textbook defines it as a pseudoscience."
"More of a disbelief although there is some correlation to human interaction and although I find some horoscopes to be intriguing, I don't believe that they are based on any actual facts. That's not saying that they can't be accurate, there is just no evidence backing it up. It's a pseudoscience."
"Whenever I read my horoscopes they seem to be right???"
Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [97%]
Waxing crescent: second [88%]
First quarter: third [91%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [%84]
Full moon: fifth [88%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [81%]
Third quarter: seventh [84%]
Waning crescent: eighth [84%]
Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Students have access to the teacher's lecture beforehand, so questions can be asked during the in-class lectures and more time is available for group work."
"Flipped classrooms is when a teacher posts the material they are going to study online for the students to look at before class as many times as they need."
"We will be learning the material at home from lessons you assign us, then when we make it to class we will not have to go over it all again just the subjects we had a difficult time with to discuss with the instructor and peers."
"Homework is usually preparation for the next class, including preview/review of lecture materials."
"Completing homework in a flipped class is more engaging as whereas conventional is more text book centered. A flipped class allows more hands on it allows more activities in the class room and time for professor to clarify any questions/concerns."
Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most learning should occur before class, during the study of lectures or notes previously prepared by the instructor."
"Most of the learning will be done in the classroom as students have seen the material prior to class and are aware of what will be presented. Once in class, the students will have time to ask any questions and clarify any concepts that weren't clear."
"If I understand correctly, I think it splits the learning equally, but the breadth of learning is done independently, and depth may be done in class. Personally, I learn quite a bit by doing, but others may feel differently."
Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'"Do your readings and show up everyday to class because it helps so much more than thinking you can just read the book and be good.' I agree with this piece of advice because this class only meets once a week. Missing a single class could put you further behind than you think."
"'ASK QUESTIONS AND PUT IN EFFORT! This class is so engaging. You'll learn so much. Do your homework, and come to class. It is all worth it. If you put the effort in you will pass this class easily. P-dog is the best.' I believe that we only learn as much as we want to learn, so this advice really spoke to me. Not being afraid to ask questions, and always trying to put in the effort has made my college experience so much worth while when compared to high school where I essentially just 'floated' by, as if in space."
"'Always do the homework assignments, they are super-easy and pay attention in class. This is a great course and you will have a lot of fun.' I agree with this because if you skip homework the information you need to learn won't become solid."
"'In order to succeed, I would recommend that you go to all the class sessions, do not forget a single online reading assignment, do all of the extra credit, and try your best not to procrastinate!' I agree with this because it is important to be present in class to understand and ask any questions one may have on any of the presented material. It's important to complete all the online reading assignments as they are an easy thing to do."
"'DO THE READING ASSIGNMENTS. ATTEND EVERY LECTURE. BE AMAZED BY SPACE." I agree with this advice because this quote basically sums up my current approach to the class. I can now tell that I need to study and be present and do the assignments, but most importantly, be amazed by space. I also need to take in how great this information we are learning really is."
"'COME TO CLASS.' I'm honestly kind of surprised that so many people need to be reminded of this, but it's valuable advice nonetheless. Although I've only been a part of this course for one week, I can already tell that Dr. Len's teaching style, the flipped classroom method he employs, and the activities that happen in-class, are extremely helpful and beneficial to any student who wishes to be successful in this course."
"'Be curious and ask questions.' I agree with this strongly because I have found that asking questions and desire a more in-depth explanation is always more helpful in the end, and overall makes you more intelligent."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"GIF animations are a godsend to understanding astronomy. Your visuals in the lecture really helped, and was thinking to myself while reading the textbook how much this would be true. I'm thankful you put them in." (#yourewelcome)
"With most of the questions involving the reading I was only able to answer them with the book right in front of me... just saying." (That sounds exactly how you should be studying.)
"I love the way you understand our way of thinking and learning." (That's only because you are all giving me weekly feedback on your way of thinking and learning.)
"What are the main topics and or materials that we should utilize and study for quizzes and exams?" (There is a study guide posted for each quiz, along with a review session for each midterm. Also the study guide for the first quiz has already been posted online.)
"Will we be receiving new groups every class (week)?" (Yes.)
"What's the little device you wear on your shirt collar?" (It's the microphone for my hearing aid--I have profound sensorineural hearing loss.)
"One question: How can this class already be so fun, just one week in?" (Don't question it.)
"Would you be able to maintain a friendship with an individual who believes Earth is flat?" (If their belief system says Earth is flat, that's okay. If they have facts that Earth is flat, then I would have a problem.)
"Will all eight planets ever line up on the same side of the sun?" (Eh, not exactly in a straight line, but every so often some of them could be found tending towards one side of the sun. And I'm glad you mentioned that there are eight planets.)
"How do some people claim to see a 'rabbit' in the moon? I am not understanding what really happens and would like clarification." (Actually, there are a number of 'things' people can see in the face of the moon.)
"YOUR CAT IN YOUR PROFILE PICTURE IS TOO DAMN CUTE!" (Just so you know, Pocahontas has her own Facebook page.)