SCI/151 Version 3

Astronomy

       

 

 

John Ensworth - Instructor

 

Program Council

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Copyright

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Edited in accordance with University of Phoenix® editorial standards and practices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Course Syllabus

 

University of Phoenix

SCI/151

 


Please print a copy of this syllabus for handy reference.

 

Whenever there is a question about what assignments are due, please remember this syllabus is considered the ruling document.


Please note that the instructor’s assignments may vary from the original syllabus found on student web page. Assignments in this document take priority. While the reading assignments and learning objectives remain the same, some of the assignments in this syllabus have been customized for this particular section.

GENERAL COURSE INFORMATION

COURSE NUMBER: SCI/151

COURSE TITLE:  Astronomy

 

COURSE START DATE: 1/21/2010
Wednesdays 6pm to 10pm (expect to stay to 10pm!!  I will bring telescopes on clear nights and we may spend a bit of time after class, in the parking lot, looking up!)

COURSE END DATE:  2/18/2010

 

LOCATION:  Columbia Campus, Learning Center, MD

REQUIRED READING:  EBOOK COLLECTION:  Bennett, J., Donahue, M., Schneider, N., Voit, M. (2009). The cosmic perspective (Media Update) (5th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson/Addison Wesley.

 

All electronic materials are available on your student Web site.

 

Facilitator Information

Facilitator Name: John Ensworth
Email address - (University of Phoenix) 
jenswort@email.uophx.edu  
Email address - (Personal) 
johnensworth@earthlink.net
Additional Electronic Resources- All correspondents will be through the OLS once our class account goes live.  Power Points and lecture videos are available at: http://www.bikerjohn.com/classes/uop_ast

Phone Number - 703-618-6773 (cell), 703-462-9658 (home)
(Eastern Standard Time)

 

 Facilitator Availability

I am available from 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Eastern Time on most days, but I attempt to reserve Sunday for my family. During the week, I am online most of the time during that 9 a.m.-9 p.m. time frame. On Saturdays, I tend to be online in the morning only. If these times are not convenient for you, please let me know. I will be happy to accommodate your schedule, if possible. I provide you with these times to make it easier to communicate with me, and not to limit our contact. I want you to know that, should you need to contact me outside these time frames, you should not hesitate to do so.

For emergencies, when you are not able to gain access to messages on the Online Learning System (OLS), please send a message to my personal email address. In the event a third party needs to contact me, please direct them to my contact information listed under "facilitator information." No third party should use your login credentials to gain access to the classroom.

 

Welcome!

We’re going to explore the biggest of the big.  You’ll be taken to the edge of the universe and deep into the smallest particle of the smallest atoms. Be ready to ask questions at any moment!

Instructor Bio

John Ensworth

       I am currently the Senior Science Education Specialist at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies which is a non-profit organization formed (among other things) to conduct independent reviews on all Earth and space science education products produced by or for NASA. (www.strategies.org)   My position is the one responsible for directly conducting these reviews and yearly workshops at NASA centers and at the large education conferences (i.e. NSTA, NCTM) that introduce the products that pass on the criteria of scientific accuracy and classroom usability.
     In the 90’s I was a masters student and a PhD candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.  I have earned undergraduate degrees in physics, astronomy, geography and meteorology with minors in math and computer science.

         I became interested in astronomy in the 2nd grade and began to teach astronomy to cub scouts and boy scouts by the 5th grade.  I began to work for the Arizona State University planetarium when Halley’s Comet paid the inner solar system a visit in 1985-1986 and taught the astronomy labs, became head TA and eventually taught an astronomy class through the rest of the 80’s (as an undergraduate).   I have worked an internship at Steward Observatory, at the University of Arizona, Tucson, site testing for the placement of the Mt. Graham observatory complex.  I’ve also observed at the 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, a 36” telescope at Kitt Peak, and at the Multi-Mirror Telescope at Mt. Whipple.  
      More recently, I’ve successfully run 50+ astronomy nights for Norman residents and OU students and students and the public in Virginia and Maryland and have worked at the Oklahoma City Omniplex Planetarium for almost 10 years.   I’ve taught astronomy for the college degree completion program at Mid-America Christian University (formerly Mid-America Bible College) for the last 8 years and was a member of the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club.  I have also served an internship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. There are other relevant bits of experience I could put here, but I’ll save them for class when they come to mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the science of astronomy, utilizing current concepts of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe.  In addition, historical developments in astronomy from ancient mythology to modern science will be covered.

Topics and Objectives

Week One: Introduction to the Science of Astronomy

 

·         Describe the universe from Earth’s perspective.

·         Describe the development of the science of astronomy.

·         Explain the physical laws that govern the universe.

 

Week Two: The Solar System

 

·         Describe the celestial bodies in our solar system.

·         Explain how solar systems form.

 

Week Three: Stars

 

  • Explain how astronomers interpret the interactions between light and matter.
  • Explain the nature of the Sun.
  • Explain the properties of stars.
  • Summarize the lifecycles of stars.

 

Week Four: The Large Scale Universe

 

·         Describe the structure of the Milky Way galaxy.

·         Describe the foundation of modern cosmology.

·         Explain the Big Bang model.

 

Week Five: Life in the Universe

.

·         Explain the emergence and evolution of life on Earth.

  • Assess the possibilities of extraterrestrial life in the universe.

 

Point Values for the Course Assignments

Week One

 

Individual Assignment: History of Astronomy Outline

10

Week Two

 

Learning Team Assignment: Solar System Presentation

10

Week Three

 

Individual Assignment: Science of Stars Paper

20

Week Four

 

Individual Assignment: From the Large Scale Universe to The Milky Way Paper

10

Week Five

 

Individual Assignment: *Final Examination

20

Learning Team Assignment: Astronomy Research and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life Paper

20

All Weeks

 

Participation & Discussion Questions

10

Assignment Totals

 

Individual

70

Learning Team

30

Point Total

100

Course Changes

 

Please note that the instructor’s assignments may vary from the original syllabus found on student web page. Assignments in this document take priority. While the reading assignments and learning objectives remain the same, some of the assignments in this syllabus have been customized for this particular section.  Changes will also be reflected at the class back-up page: http://www.bikerjohn.com/classes/uop_ast/


Grading Policies


All written work will be graded according to APA guidelines. Assessments of written assignments will be based on style, content and format, including such items as clarity of communication, sentence and paragraph construction, punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Written assignments must be submitted on Online Learning System Forums (OLS), unless OLS forums are unavailable at the time the assignment is due. If this is the case, the assignment should be emailed and then posted as soon as technically possible. Assignments should be neatly typed and follow the guidelines of the individual assignment in terms of length and content. Grades will be assigned according to the following criteria:

A = Excellent performance. Work is exemplary and worthy of emulation by others. Student is in full attendance and constructively contributes to the learning environment.
B = Above average performance. All assignments are complete and exhibit a complete understanding and an ability to apply concepts.
C = Average performance. Student accomplishes only the minimum requirements. Oral and written communication is at an acceptable level for the class.
D = Demonstrates understanding at a minimum level. Work is minimally passing.
F = Work is not passing, characterized by incompleteness, lateness, unsatisfactory demonstration of understanding and application.

Grading Formula

Points

Grade

95+

A

90-94

A-

87-89

B+

84-86

B

80-83

B-

77-79

C+

74-76

C

70-73

C-

67-69

D+

64-66

D

60-63

D-

<59

F

Partial points will be rounded to the nearest full point; for example, 83.4=83 leads to a grade of B-;
and 83.5=84 leads to a grade of B.

Papers will be graded using the included rubric:

All Papers’ Rubric

 

Science Content 

50%

Writing Flow/Readability/Appearance (see APA guidelines or similar)

20%

Correct Length (not relying heavily on large chunks of quoted material)

10%

Spelling/Grammar

10%

Citations/Bibliography (+correct format)

10%

 

 

Presentation Rubric

Max pts

Content

20

Organization of ideas

20

Presentation Delivery (ums, ah’s, ‘lost’ pauses, appearance)

20

Length (15-20min)

20

Questions fielded

20

Total

100

 

 

 


Online Learning System Forums

 

Assignment Submission

Assignments are due at 11:59pm on their due date via the OLS Forum.  See the section on the Online Learning System Forums below.

 

Where to Go to Class: Your Course Forums

Main: This is the main forum for the class and is where you may ask questions between class meetings. It has read-and-write access for everyone.

Chat-Room: This is a read-and-write access forum. It is designed as a place to discuss issues not related to the course content.

Course-Materials: This is a read-only forum, which means you can read messages here but cannot send any. This is where I will post the course syllabus and materials.

Learning-Team-A, B, C, D, E and F: These six Learning Team forums may be used as workrooms for the learning teams. You will be assigned to one of these learning teams.

 

Individual Forum: You will see one forum with your name on it. This is a private forum, shared only by you and me, the facilitator. Your classmates will not have access to this forum. This is where you will post your individual assignments, and where I will post your feedback. You can also ask questions here. However, if you have general questions about instructions of assignments, please post those in the Main forum, since other students may benefit by that exchange as well.

If you have any questions about the class forums, please let me know during our on-campus class time or by posting your question(s) in the Main forum.

 

We will have a set of Online Learning System forums available to us during this class.
To access the forums, click on the Go to class link on your student website.

These web-based forums provide you with:
1. A common area solely for our class group (Main forum) where you can post questions between our on-campus workshop meetings;
2. A Chat Room forum which you can use for non-class interactions with classmates (be sure to honor the Student Code of Conduct in this, and every, forum!);
3. Electronic access to the course syllabus which will be used in this class (see the syllabus in the Course Materials forum);
4. Electronic venues for Learning Team meetings and team paper drafts to use as each team deems best (I will assign a specific Learning Team forum for each team’s use during our first on-campus workshop meeting). Learning Team meetings should be documented here regardless of the mode students chose to actually meet; and
5. A personalized electronic drop-box – Individual Forum - for completed assignments. Students will not be able to see or access any private forum except the one created for him or her individually. Feedback will also be provided through this forum.

There are no online attendance or participation requirements during this course. All attendance and participation activity will occur only during our on-campus workshop meetings. The forums exist to enhance our ability to communicate throughout the course.

If you have any questions about the class forums, please let me know during our on-campus class time or by posting your question(s) in the Main forum.

Preparation

Students are expected to do the required weekly learning in an independent manner. All assignments, including readings, are to be completed before submissions are due.

Faculty Participation and Feedback


Just as we expect students to fulfill the requirements, as set out in this syllabus, there are a number of duties that University of Phoenix faculty are committed to performing in the courses that they facilitate. As a facilitator in this course, I will:

·         Provide you with clear instructions regarding what is expected of you in this course

·         Facilitate a 4-hour workshop each week of this course

·         Provide you with weekly written feedback on your assignments and in-class participation within six days via OLS forum

o   This feedback will note areas needing improvement and will suggest areas upon which you should focus

o   Feedback will be posted to your Individual forum

o   After I send feedback each week, I will post a notification in the Main forum

·         Provided for you a gradebook with your cumulative grade via OLS forum by each workshop

·         Post final grades within six days after the last workshop

Technical Support

Technical Support is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 1-877-832-4867, or use the e-mail support form.


Answers to the most common issues are found in the Knowledge Base by clicking Help, found at the top of every student Web site.

 

Policies

For class policies, please see the “Policies” link on the left side of the Materials page for the course on eCampus. Faculty and students/learners will be held responsible for understanding and adhering to all policies contained within that link. University policies are subject to change so please be sure to read them at the beginning of each class as it may have changed since your last class. Policies may be slightly different depending on the modality in which you attend class. If you have recently changed modalities it is important you read the policies governing your current class modality.

 

Learning Teams

University of Phoenix students are expected to work effectively in diverse groups and teams to achieve tasks. They must collaborate and function well in team settings as both leaders and followers. They should respect human diversity and behave in a tolerant manner toward colleagues and peers.

Several of the assignments in this class will be completed in Learning Teams of three to five students. If you experience difficulties working with your team, you are expected to resolve them within the team if possible. However, please feel free to contact me for guidance if you have concerns in this area.

In order to create structure for your Learning Team, you will complete a Learning Team Charter.

Participation in the learning teams will be evaluated based on evaluations to be filled out and turned in throughout the class. You need to be honest with your teammates throughout the course and in completing the evaluations. One of the tasks you may be responsible for in your career is evaluating your subordinates, as such this is a good place to practice constructive criticism and praise.

After each Learning Team project, you will be asked to complete a Peer Evaluation to assess the contributions of each member of your Learning Team (including yourself). I will take these Peer Evaluations into account when assessing individual contributions to the Learning Team projects

Because Learning Team projects are outcome-based, all members of your Learning Team will generally earn the same grade for Learning Team projects. However, I reserve the right to report different grades for different Learning Team members if I see a substantial imbalance in individual contribution.

 

 

Classroom Management Policies


Late Assignments

Assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. on their due date and must be posted on the Online Learning System Forums. I will deduct points for assignments turned in late, at the rate of 10% per day for 4 days. Papers will not be accepted for a grade after 4 days. Papers will not be accepted after the last day of class. Similarly, I reserve the right to refuse to accept any late assignments, if we have not negotiated and mutually agreed upon an alternative submission date in advance of the due date.

 

Required Writing Manuals

All papers submitted are required to be written and cited according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. For information on how to purchase required copies of the University of Phoenix approved publication and reference manuals, please refer to the link titled, ‘Required Writing Manuals’, which can be found on the left hand column of your course web page(s). These writing manuals have distinct features and will be valuable reference tools throughout your academic programs. Electronic programs such as PERLLA and APA are available via their websites.


Center for Writing Excellence

Look for the “Center for Writing Excellence” on your course web page or under the “LIBRARY” tab at the top of the page. There are a variety of services offered to help students improve their writing skills. It is suggested that students utilize Plagiarism Checker as well as WritePoint before submitting their assignments. Tutor Review is also available for students. Please contact your Academic Counselor if you need further information.

 

Week One

 

Introduction to the Science of Astronomy

 

·         Describe the universe from Earth’s perspective.

·         Describe the development of the science of astronomy.

·         Explain the physical laws that govern the universe.

 

Course Assignments

 

1.     Readings  Due Jan 21st

 

·         Read Ch. 1–4 of the text.

·         Review this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings.

 

2.     Individual Assignment: History of Astronomy Outline  Due Jan 21st

 

·         Complete the History of Astronomy Outline found in Week One on the student Web site.

 

3.     Learning Team Instructions

 

·         Resource: Learning Team Toolkit

·         Complete the Learning Team Charter.

 

4.     Discussion Questions    Due Jan 24th

 

·         When looking at the night sky, you can see the light of different stars. If one star looks brighter than another, is it necessarily brighter? Explain.

 

·         Astronomical discoveries are imperative to science. How are they significant to our personal lives? Explain.

 

·         Astrology is the study that believes and attempts to interpret the powers of heavenly bodies on human affairs. Why do you think astrology is so popular around the world, although it has failed all scientific tests of validity?

 

·         Einstein discovered that energy and mass are equivalent. What is one technological development that has emerged from this knowledge and is the human race better or worse off with it?

 

·         Why do you think astronomy was important to people in ancient times? How do those beliefs affect us today?

 


Week Two

 

The Solar System

 

·         Describe the celestial bodies in our solar system.

·         Explain how solar systems form.

 

Course Assignments

 

1.     Readings Due Jan 28th

 

·         Read Ch. 8–10 & 12–13 of the text.

·         Review this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings.

 

2.     Learning Team Instructions 

 

·         Review the objectives from Week Two and discuss additional insights and questions that may have arisen.

 

3.     Learning Team Assignment: Solar System Presentation Due Jan 28th

 

·         Prepare a presentation. Include the following:

 

o    Explain the formation of the solar system.

o    A cross-section of Earth with descriptions of its’ geology and atmosphere

o    Images and descriptions of the other terrestrial planets’ geology and atmosphere

o    Describe other kinds of objects (asteroids, comets, etc.) found in the Solar System.

o    Describe the universe from Earth’s perspective.

 

·         Utilize at least two outside resources.

·         Submit an 8- to 10-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation.

 

o    For Local Campus students, these are oral presentations accompanied by Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations.

o    For Online and Directed Study students, these are Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations with notes.

 

4.     Discussion Questions Due Jan 31st

 

·         Describe one observation that has led to our modern theory of solar system formation. 

 

·         What celestial body you believe Pluto to be? Explain your answer.

 

·         How will geological processes affect the evidence of our civilization for future archaeologies or alien visitors in the future? How should the landscape around where you live change over the next billion years.

 

·         If the asteroid impact 65 million years ago had not occurred, how do you think our planet would be different?

 

·         What do you believe other solar systems to be like in our universe?


Week Three

 

Stars

 

  • Explain how astronomers interpret the interactions between light and matter.
  • Explain the nature of the Sun.
  • Explain the properties of stars.
  • Summarize the lifecycles of stars.

 

Course Assignments

 

1.     Readings Due Feb 4th

 

·         Read Ch. 5 & 14–18 of the text.

·         Review this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings.

 

2.     Individual Assignment: Science of Stars Paper Due Feb 4th

 

·         Prepare a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper in which you discuss the science of sunlight and stars. Include the following elements:

o    Explain how astronomers determine composition, temperature, speed, and rotation rate of distant objects.

o    Explain the properties of stars in the H-R diagram located in Ch. 15, “What is a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram?” of The Cosmic Perspective.

o    Summarize the complete lifecycle of the Sun.

o    Determine where the Sun is in its lifecycle.

 

·         Utilize at least two outside sources.

·         Format your paper according to APA standards.

 

3.     Discussion Questions Due Feb 7th

 

·         How has solar research been important in our lives?

·         How would a better understanding of the Sun help us understand the threat created by greenhouse gas emissions?

·         Could life exist in a molecular cloud? Explain.

·         Do you think it is likely that the human race will continue to exist until the Sun begins to expand into a red giant? Explain why or why not.

·         Provide an example of popular culture’s use of the term black hole. Why do you think a mysterious idea as that of a black hole has captured the public imagination?

 


Week Four

 

The Large Scale Universe

 

·         Describe the structure of the Milky Way galaxy.

·         Describe the foundation of modern cosmology.

·         Explain the Big Bang model.

 

Course Assignments

 

1.     Readings Due Feb 11th

 

·         Read Ch. 19–20 & 23 of the text.

·         Review this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings.

 

2.     Nongraded Activities and Preparation

 

·         Begin reviewing material for the final exam in Week Five.

 

3.     Individual Assignment: From the Large Scale Universe to The Milky Way Paper Due Feb 11th

 

·         Complete the “I have a theory” tutorial found in Week Four on the student Web site. (This tutorial will help in the understanding of scientific theories.)   Turn this in with the paper this week.

·         Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper after completing the tutorial. Include the following:

 

o    Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole. Describe modern cosmology.

o    The Big Bang Theory is a part of cosmology. Explain the Big Bang Theory and provide an example of one experiment scientists performed that supported it.

o    The Milky Way is just one galaxy that resulted from the Big Bang. Describe the structure of the Milky Way.

 

·         Utilize at least two outside sources.

·         Format your paper according to APA standards.

 

4.     Discussion Questions Due Feb 14th

 

·         Does the fact that the entire galaxy was involved in bringing forth life on Earth change your perspective of Earth or life in any way? Explain.

·         Why do you think that earlier scientists believed the universe had no beginning?

·         How did the Big Bang go from being an idea to a theory? Explain.

·         How are the cycles of matter on Earth and in the galaxy similar?

·         What evidence have astronomers found that support the theory that the universe will continue to expand forever?

 


Week Five

 

Life in the Universe

 

·         Explain the emergence and evolution of life on Earth.

  • Assess the possibilities of extraterrestrial life in the universe.

 

Course Assignments

 

1.     Readings Due Feb 18th

 

·         Read Ch. 24 of the text.

·         Review this week’s Electronic Reserve Readings.

 

2.     Individual Assignment: Final Examination At end of class Feb 18th

 

·         Prepare to take a Final Examination.

 

3.     Learning Team Assignment: Astronomy Research and the Search of Extraterrestrial Life Paper

      Due Feb 18th

 

·         Prepare a 1,400- to 1,750-word paper in which you discuss life on Earth and the possibilities of extraterrestrial life in our solar system. Include the following elements:

 

o    Describe the properties of life on Earth.

o    Explain the theories for the genesis of life.

o    Explain the theory of natural selection.

o    Briefly describe the evolution of life over the last 3 billion years.

o    Assess the possibilities of extraterrestrial life in the universe.

o    Discuss humanity’s search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

o    OR  Choose a topic from below (or on the class ‘backup Website’).  You can also pick a topic from ANY branch of astronomy. Just ask me if a given topic is ok before you go to work on it.  You do not need to answer these questions if you go to another topic.

 

·         Utilize at least three outside sources.

·         Format your paper according to APA standards.

 

4.     Discussion Questions Due Feb 21st

 

·         Do you believe that Mars might have harbored life in the past? Explain.

·         In your opinion, is life on Earth unique?

·         Do you believe that other stars have planets with atmospheres that are similar to Earth’s? Explain.

·         What do you believe is intelligence?

·         Do you think humans will ever participate in interstellar flight? Explain.

 

 

 

 

 


Alternate Final Paper Topic Suggestions:


Time Travel 

Is Astrology Real? 

Does the full moon make people loony? Are there more babies or crimes (911 calls) on full moon nights? 

History of the telescope

What do we know about other solar systems?

What will it take to get a human colony on the Moon? or Mars?

Do people want to visit space (i.e. space hotels in orbit or on the Moon, Mars)?

Life on Jupiter's Moon Europa? Saturn's Moon Enceladus?

The astronomy (good or bad)  behind the sci-fi move/TV show "fill in the blank"

The planet of your choice

Is Pluto a planet?

New Planets in the Solar System

Mega-solar storms - what has happened, what could happen? 

Planetariums in history, in the present, and the future?

The Beginning of the Universe - Explorations of the Cosmic Background Radiation - The End of the Universe? 

What is the state of the Unification of the Forces? 

What is Dark Energy? Dark Matter? 

How may the Universe End? 

What are the job prospects in Astronomy? 

What is the economics of astronomy...who pays and how much and for what? 

What is the history of ...the telescope?...space exploration?...space borne observation platforms? 

What alternatives to the Big Bang exist? 

What are Black Holes? What would it be like falling into one?

...or whatever else you like...just pass it by me (the instructor)!