Astronomy B1 Physics of the Cosmos Orientation

For Fall 2017, we will NOT meet on August 21st because of the Great American Eclipse. The usual first day activity is a very detailed orientation to the mechanics of the course where we go through the syllabus very thoroughly and I introduce you to the class Canvas and the Sapling Learning websites that we'll use for the homework assignments.

For Fall 2017, this detailed orientation will be done online through a series of short YouTube videoes. While I don't expect an Emmy or Oscar award for the videoes, they do cover the entire orientation very well and answer just about any question you'll have about the class. The videoes will appear in a new tab.

The first day that we will meet face-to-face is WEDNESDAY, August 23rd and we will start right away with the chapter 1 and 2 material of the Astronomy Notes textbook and go through the lecture outline on pages 123-124 of your Student Guide (the course pack for this class).

If you don't show up on Wednesday, August 23rd, you will be dropped. Those on the waitlist must also attend or they will be dropped.

The short videoes are collected into a YouTube playlist, so they should play one right after the other if you go to the Physics of the Cosmos Orientation playlist. The videoes will appear in a new tab.

Orientation YouTube Playlist

Here are what each video is about (select the video link to go to that particular video in the series):

  1. Video 1: My contact information and office hours
  2. Video 2: First required material to purchase: the Student Guide course pack
  3. Video 3: Second required material to purchase: Sapling Learning access code. Also, the "optional-required" material: the Astronomy Notes textbook and what "optional-required" means.
  4. Video 4: College-level reading prerequisite, the two class websites (Canvas and Sapling Learning), and what the course covers (what we know and HOW we know) plus cost comparisons with CSU, UC and other states' community colleges.
  5. Video 5: Education Pays! and the course Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). The Education Pays! website I put together shows the earnings + employment stats for the different education levels from the BLS plus links to reports on the value of a college degree, including the CCCCO's SalarySurfer website.
  6. Video 6: Grading scale and how points divided up between the various types of assignments (e.g., exams, homework, skywatch, in-class projects, etc.). Detailed explanation of why I do the homework in the "flipped classroom" approach and warnings about how to do homework on Sapling Learning system. Discussion about weekly quizzes and monthly exams, including the policy on late or missed assignments.
  7. Video 7: Skywatch project. Choose ONE from five possible options.
  8. Video 8: Your role and my expectations of you. (For college, the responsibility for keeping up with the class and learning the material rests with YOU, not the instructor.) Title 5 and federal financial aid requirements for rigor of college-level classes. Cell phone policy and attendance policy.
  9. Video 9: Late assignments policy and cheating policy
  10. Video 10: Details about the class Canvas website—how to get to it, what's on it, how to navigate it, etc.
  11. Video 11: Details about the Sapling Learning website for the homework assignments. Big warning about doing the homework on a mobile device (won't work) vs. doing it on a laptop/desktop.
  12. Video 12: Details about the optional ACDV 70 series of mini-courses.
  13. Video 13: Short video of advice from my daughter Sarah about how to succeed in college based on her first two terms at Oregon State University.

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last updated: August 7, 2017

Content author: Nick Strobel