Syllabus for AST-101

INTRODUCTORY ASTRONOMY

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Introductory Astronomy explores the history and development of astronomy, including the major contributions and discoveries of the scientists who have shaped the field, the objects that can (and cannot) be seen in the nighttime sky, and the birth and fate of the universe. Students will examine how astronomers collect, interpret, and evaluate data as well as how they go on to develop laws and scientific theories to explain their observations. Human understanding of the universe is always evolving and growing; yet astronomy is one of the few areas where plenty of intriguing questions remain unanswered.

COURSE TOPICS

  • Nature of science and astronomy
  • Nature, size, and scale of the universe
  • History of astronomy and advent of modern astronomy
  • Nature of light, atoms, and spectroscopy
  • Sun and other stars
  • Milky Way and other galaxies
  • Cosmology

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, students should be able to:

CO1    Explain the scientific method and its relationship with the foundations of astronomy.

CO2    Describe the nature, size, and scale of the universe and the physical laws of nature that govern it.

CO3    Identify the cycles of the sky, including the seasons, cycles of the moon, and the development of timekeeping and calendars.

CO4    Explain the origin, history, and development of astronomy, including the contributions of major scientists in the advent of modern astronomy.

CO5    Discuss the nature of light and the electromagnetic spectrum and how astronomers use telescopes to learn about the composition, size, distance, and movement of stars and galaxies.

CO6    Explain the major characteristics, structure, and reactions of the sun and other stars and how astronomers use that information to predict their evolution.

CO7    Identify the types, structure, and classification of galaxies and describe their birth and evolution.

CO8    Discuss the central ideas of cosmology, such as the Big Bang theory and the potential fate of the universe, and the evidence that supports them.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to complete your coursework. Some course materials may be free, open source, or available from other providers. You can access free or open-source materials by clicking the links provided below or in the module details documents. To purchase course materials, please visit the University’s textbook supplier.

Required Textbook

Note: The required textbook is a free, open-source textbook which you may access online and/or save as a PDF.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Introductory Astronomy is a three-credit, online course consisting of six modules and a midterm and final exam. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Astronomy and the Universe
    Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO2, CO3, CO4

  • Module 2: Observational Tools and Techniques of Astronomy
    Course objectives covered in this module: CO2, CO4, CO5

  • Module 3: Analyzing and Classifying Stars
    Course objectives covered in this module: CO6

  • Module 4: The Birth, Life, and Death of Stars
    Course objectives covered in this module: CO6, CO7

  • Module 5: Black Holes and Galaxies
    Course objectives covered in this module: CO7

  • Module 6: Cosmology and Life in the Universe
    Course objectives covered in this module: CO8

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments and module quizzes, and take a proctored midterm and final examination. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in About SafeAssign.

Icon imageDiscussion Forums

You are required to complete six discussion forums. The discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. A grading rubric for the discussion forums can be found in the Evaluation Rubrics folder.

Icon imageWritten Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Lack of proper citations and references and/or poor grammar and spelling could result in a grade deduction of 5 to 15 points on each of the written assignments.

Icon imageModule Quizzes

You are required to complete six module quizzes. Each quiz will consist of 10 to 15 multiple-choice questions. The module quizzes are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. You may take these quizzes multiple times for additional practice; the result of your most recent attempt will appear in your gradebook.

Icon imageExaminations

You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University’s Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the Examinations and Proctors section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course website) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course website. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Midterm Examination

Note: For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

The midterm exam covers all material assigned in Modules 1–3 of the course. You will have two hours to complete fifty multiple-choice items.

Final Examination

Note: For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

The final exam covers all material assigned in Modules 4–6 of the course. You will have two hours to complete fifty multiple-choice items.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

  • Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find the answer.
  • Copying and pasting or in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your online test. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  • Plagiarizing answers.
  • Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take the exam.
  • Copying any part of the exam to share with other students.
  • Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at the exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  • Online discussions (6)—20%
  • Written assignments (6)—20%
  • Module quizzes (6)—10%
  • Midterm exam (proctored, Modules 1–3)—25%
  • Final exam (proctored, Modules 4–6)—25%

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

 A=93–100C+=78–79
 A–=90–92C=73–77
 B+=88–89C–=70–72
 B=83–87D=60–69
 B–=80–82F=Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  • Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  • Take time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State University.

  • Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  • Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  • If you are not familiar with web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  • To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the Course Calendar. The Course Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  • Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC POLICIES

To ensure success in all your academic endeavors and coursework at Thomas Edison State University, familiarize yourself with all administrative and academic policies including those related to academic integrity, course late submissions, course extensions, and grading policies.

For more, see:

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