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 2023 semester. You will gain full access to this course on the first day of the semester (Tuesday, January 17). 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. Keep abreast of present-day discoveries and developments in astronomy (current events).
  2. Develop scientific evidence-based research questions.
  3. Develop procedures to gather evidence in order to answer research questions.
  4. Make appropriate evidence-supported conclusions.
  5. Explain research findings in a report, poster, or presentation.
  6. Evaluate evidence to determine whether or not it appropriately answers a research question.

 

Required Materials

  • Slooh Robotic Telescope student annual membership for remote access to schedule, reserve, and take photos with telescopes in the Canary Islands and in Chile. Use the link below to purchase your membership with a 50% discount:

    Discount link: https://www.slooh.com/at/7A566-A8692

  • A refracting telescope kit, available through the Cuesta College Bookstore. This is a very low-end, low-quality (cheap) cardboard model of the typical refracting telescopes used by Galileo and his contemporaries, deliberately chosen in order to compare its capabilities to modern commercial and research telescopes.
  • Any ruler with centimeter markings, available through the Cuesta College Bookstore (or anywhere else) to make measurements of your refracting telescope.
  • A camera-enabled smartphone, tablet (or laptop webcam) to upload your written work in an image (JPEG, HEIC, GIF, PNG) or a compatible document (DOC, PDF) format.

 

Accommodations

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 Integrity

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 promise that:

  1. I will be fair, truthful, and trustworthy in helping you learn astronomy.
  2. I will make sure that you are fully capable of learning astronomy to the best of your ability.

In return, you must work hard and do only your own individual work on the current events quizzes and lab worksheets. 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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