Welcome Letter

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About Me

My name is Dr. Patrick M. Len, and I will be your instructor for this course. You can watch this video to find out more about me!


Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Patrick M. Len, Ph.D.
E-mail: pLen@cuesta.edu


About This Course

Here are some important details to know about this course before the start of the spring 2024 semester. You will gain full access to this course on the first day of the semester (Tuesday, January 16). This course is fully online with no mandatory meetings or proctored exams.

In this course you will be learning how telescopes work, how to use remote robotic telescopes and a historical reproduction of Galileo's telescope to observe, document and explore celestial objects in the night sky, and keeping up with present-day discoveries and developments in astronomy.

Together we will explore the universe, while being respectful of everyone's backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. We will have an opportunity to learn about astronomy and from each other in an enthusiastic and welcoming environment. Your feedback is valuable, and so please let me know what can be done to maximize your learning experience.


Online Course Information

We will be using Canvas (a web-based learning management system) for course materials and links, pre-recorded asynchronous video lectures, lab worksheets, current events quizzes, grades, e-mail and discussion boards. There are no in-person meetings. Please be prepared to spend 3-4 hours per week for this course on self-directed reading, viewing, studying, and writing.

If you are unsure if taking an online course is right for you, go to Cuesta College's Online Readiness Resources webpage and go through the questions listed there, to self-assess your ability to succeed.

Refer to the Technical Frequently Asked Questions regarding specific minimum computer and browser requirements for Canvas.

Cuesta College has resources on Getting Started with Canvas, and offers a "Being Successful Online" tutorial.

Cuesta College has a technical support page available to help you with Canvas problems.


Course Catalog Description

This course presents the principles of measurement, data collection and analysis to the astronomical phenomena of celestial motions and characteristics of planets, stars, galaxies in the planning, execution, and presentation of research projects. Prerequisite: elementary algebra or eligibility for college-level math using the current college process. Corequisite: ASTR 210 (enrolled during this semester, or completed in a previous semester).


Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe present-day discoveries and developments in astronomy (current events)
  2. Make observations of astronomical objects using the naked eye, actual telescopes, and/or
    remote telescopes.
  3. Develop procedures to make observations.
  4. Document observation data and conclusions.
  5. Prepare presentation materials, such as a report or poster, to share results of experiments
    and studies.


Required Materials

Please contact me if you have problems purchasing or accessing your Slooh Robotic Telescope account; breaking or losing your Project STAR telescope; or with scanning and uploading written work using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.



You can arrange reasonable learning accommodations for this course (or for selected components that may be inherently inaccessible) through Cuesta College Disabled Student Programs & Services, and they will coordinate with you and me on the specific details.


Academic Standards

In this course, you will learn a lot of astronomy, and you will need to show me how much astronomy you have learned. In order to do this, I will:

  1. Help each student learn to the best of their ability.
  2. Be fair in grading work done by each student.

In return, you must study and learn, and do only your own individual work on the current events quizzes, lab worksheets, and discussion boards. Together we can do this, and successfully explore the universe and our place in it!

(Review the Cuesta College Student Code of Conduct for a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.)


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