An Introduction to the Universe

(Astronomy 1105/1107) Summer Term 2008

__ __

Office Hours. *** Marko: Fri 9:30-11:30am. *** Julia: Mon & Thu 1:15-2:15p, and any day by appointment***

*Please use these office hours or make
appointments to get help. Consider them tutoring hours you have already
paid for!*

**Course details**.

**Course web site: **http://www.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro105/

** Check it often! **Course schedule (tentative) and
homework assignments are posted here.

**Textbook (**Required)**:** __The Cosmic Perspective: Stars,
Galaxies, and Cosmology 5th Ed.__, by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit.
We will use both the book * and* the associated on-line material ("Mastering
Astronomy"; free with book purchase) throughout the semester.

**PRS unit **(Required): You
must use a PRS unit (a.k.a. a "clicker") at every lecture. These will be provided at the beginning of each class, and left behind at the end.

**Prerequisites**: No astronomy or physics background required! However, familiarity with physics will be quite helpful. Note that we will be using some MATH in this course. **Proficiency with high-school algebra** is expected. Here are some examples of math you should be comfortable doing:

* Scientific notation

* Multiply and Divide powers of 10

* Convert units (e.g. How many inches in a mile? Convert miles to inches.)

* Rearrange an equation to solve for another variable (e.g. y=mx+b. Solve for x)

* Plug numbers in for variables in an equation and calculate the result including the correct physcal units

If you're rusty, don't worry, but DO COME GET HELP in office hours.

**Course objectives.** My
main goals for this course are for you to:

* grasp
the ** big ideas** in astronomy, and how they fit together: e.g. light, spectra, lookback time, gravity, we are made of star stuff, big bang, expanding universe

* understand
the ** basic physics** concepts behind the origin and physical characteristics of
stars, galaxies, and the Universe

* appreciate
the ** nature of science** and how it is done

* apply ** math** and quantitative
reasoning where appropriate to solve problems

* think in the ** big picture**, pondering your own place in the
Universe

**Active
Engagement, Roles & Responsibilities**: Being actively involved in class activities
will help you learn better. That is why I'm going to such effort to provide
opportunities for you to engage! **Your role** in this class is to actively participate
and take charge of your own learning. This means doing the assigned reading on
time, coming to office hours when you need to, using your PRS unit ("clicker") at every
class meeting, and answering questions and discussing questions with other students
in class when asked. **My role** as the instructor is to find ways to help you
learn, show illustrative examples, ask you questions to find out what is
confusing you and focus on that material, be available for and answer your
questions, and provide lots of tools, feedback, and ways for you to assess your
own learning.

**Attendance** is required. While attendance is not
formally taken for its own sake, there will be reading quizzes and/or PRS questions
every day that count toward your grade. You can't get those points if you're
not present. Also, class participation is vital for your learning. In-class PRS
questions are a major source of feedback for you to assess your own
understanding, as well as for me to see how the class is going. If you're not
there, neither of us will not get that feedback.

**Seating**: Please sit in the
front half of the room. It is important that you sit near your
classmates, as you will frequently be asked to discuss questions during class
in groups of two or three. Note that the clickers do not work reliably from the back.

**Grading Policy and Philosophy**. There is no such thing as a grading policy
that 100% of students think is fair and objective, but I try very hard anyway.
I do not GIVE grades in this class, you EARN points based on the work you do
and I calculate your grade from those points. I will award points and apply
grade calculations (described in detail below) __consistently__ to all
students. *No student will be given preference or extra credit*. There will be no "grade curve". You will earn
points based on your own work and performance in this class, not compared to
your classmates. It is to your advantage to help one another learn.

**70% : Exams**

**15% : In-class work / Participation** (including Reading quizzes, clicker questions, and discussion section participation)

**15% : Homework **(Written and on-line homework
problems, online tutorials, and reading questions)

For students enrolled in** 1107 lab only: **60% exams + 12.5% in-class participation + 12.5% homework + 15% lab

**Exams**: The purpose of exams is for you to demonstrate learning and understanding of the material. There will be two regular exams (one halfway through the course, and one at the end covering the second half of the course) and one cumulative final, giving you two chances to demonstrate understanding of material. Demonstrating your understanding *once* is sufficient for me.

Optional Final Exam. Since I am testing you on everythingtwice, in calculating your grade I will use your final exam score OR the average of your first two exams,whichever is larger. This means that, if you are happy with your first two exam scores, you don't have to take the final.

This means that taking the final cannot hurt your overall exam grade, and if you've already got an A after the second exam, it won't help you. It also means that if you have to miss one of the first two exams for any reason whatsoever (including illness or family emergency), you can effectively make it up by taking the final.

Exam dates. Make plans now to be here on the following dates!

## Exam 1 July 11 (Friday), 11:30-12:45 pm in SSB 105

Exam 2 Aug 1 (Friday), 11:30-12:45 pm in SSB 105

Final Exam August 4 (Monday) 10:30-12:30 pm in SSB 105

Keep these dates in mind as you make travel and other plans during the summer. Illness, travel, or other emergencies are

notgrounds for taking a makeup exam. In fact,I do not give makeup exams. The final examthe makeup exam. If you have to miss the final, your exam grade will be your average of the other two exams. There will be no exceptions.is

**Participation Grade.** Class participation is essential, both in the required weekly discussion section and in the daily lectures. In addition to in-class activities, the participation grade will include clicker questions and reading quizzes.

Clicker questionsare UNGRADED in-class interactive questions that I design to get timely feedback on your grasp of concepts during lecture. You will use your PRS clicker to vote on multiple choice questions, get real-time feedback, and discuss your answers with your classmates and with me. "UNGRADED" means I will base your grade on participation in these questions, but NOT on your performance.That is, you get credit for trying even if you answer incorrectly.The purpose is simply for me to find out when the class is confused so I can help.

Reading quizzesare short (1 to 3 questions) GRADED (corectness counts) multiple choice quizzes intended to test your progress in completing the textbook reading assignments. Reading quizzes will be almostevery day, always at thevery beginning of class,and will be done with your PRS unit. Reading quizzes cannot be made up. But if you miss one, it's OK: the lowest three will be dropped in calculating your final grade.

**Homework Grade**: Homework refers to work done outside of class. It is crucial to keep up with the course material in a fast-moving summer class, so there will be some homework ** every day**. The daily assignments will be small and manageable, with the purpose of ensuring that you keep up. Longer, weekly assignments will be due on Mondays to give you more time to work on them.

Reading the text ahead of class is required. Lecture will focus on what you find difficult or confusing, and also emphasizing the biggest and most important points. Since this will not allow me to cover ALL the material during class, you must read to get the whole picture.Reading assignments:All reading is fair game for exam questions, even if I never mentioned it in class!Specific reading assignments for each class (including reading quizzes) will be announced in the previous class.

Reading questionsare online multiple choice questions intended to test your progress in completing the textbook reading assignments ahead of class. Reading questions will be due forevery reading assignment, always one hour before class begins. The questions are intended to be easy -- you should get 100% on the reading questions if you are doing the reading. If you are doing the assigned reading but still find the questions too difficult, please see me right away so we can make any necessary adjustments.

Homework Assignments: Homework will be assigned at least once every week. It will consist of either an on-line component (tutorials and problems, duebeforeclass begins), or a written component (due at the start of class), or both. Assignments will be posted on the course websiteat leastone week ahead of their due date.

I will use the following scale in calculating final grades:

A+ (97-100%), A (93-96%), A- (90-92%), B+ (87-89%), B (83-86%), B- (80-82%), C+ (77-79%), C (73-76%), C- (70-72%), D+ (67-69%), D (63-66%), D- (60-62%), F (<60%)

**Academic Honesty and Ethics.** I am sad to have to include this
section. The vast majority of our students are honest and we assume that you
will not cheat. Unfortunately, however, people are caught cheating every
semester so I can't ignore it. Cheating includes plagiarism,* using forbidden
reference materials or talking to other students during exams, or attempting to
gain advantage by obtaining and/or using unauthorized homework or exam
questions/solutions or information about those assignments prior to the exam or
homework due date.

** Plagiarism
includes handing in any material as your own work for credit in this class that
is actually the work of another person without reference to the source. COPYING
another person's work IS PLAGIARISM, even if you have the other person's
permission. Even looking at another person's work when writing down your own is
still cheating. If you are unsure of the source of information you use in an
assignment, it is almost certainly not your work and you are in danger of
cheating. When in doubt, ask your instructor. "Innocent" cheating is still
cheating, no exceptions.*

*Cornell University policy calls for
strict sanctions on the FIRST offense to any student caught cheating AND to all
other students involved.* If the incident involves students not currently enrolled in Astro 1105/1107, those
students are also subject to academic disciplinary action under Cornell University
policy. *I
WILL REFER SUSPECTED CASES OF ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT TO THE PROPER CU AUTHORITIES
AND FOLLOW UNIVERSITY POLICY TO THE LETTER. *Please don't make me go there.