|Be sure to follow the instructions below and you will get more out of the course.|
From Gary Larson. See http://www.mathematik.uni-marburg.de/~hampel/larson/larson.html
How to ace this course:
1. Come to class The lectures will help you master the material. In addition, we will occasionally have you do in-class exercises, and you will not get credit for them if you do not come and do them
2. Take notes: you can print out a note outline for the four course sections from the syllabus. Bring it to class and fill in as much of the outline there as you can - fill in the rest from the notes while you study.
3. Study the lecture notes. They include sets of questions that you should be able to answer - if you select the wrong answer, you will be linked back to the part of the notes you should study.
4. Review your written notes, any in-class and other exercises, and the questions within the lecture notes to help prepare for exams. In particular, we have collected review questions into a single file for each exam, to give you better practice! (see the syllabus for the links)
5. Relax and have a good time. Astronomy is interesting, and the course will give you a chance to sample it and enjoy it! In fact, the notes have a lot of additional material we hope you will sample.
1. Do the course work independently, and to the best of your ability - that way you will learn more.
2. You can work with other students when you have explicit permission from the instructor; of course, studying with them is fine and will help you learn the material as well as make new friends.
3. You must bring picture ID or you will not be allowed to turn in your exam. All cell phones and similar electronic devices must be off. Come on time; no one will be admitted to take an exam after the first person has finished and left the lecture hall.
4. We do not give makeup exams, except for extraordinary reasons. At the time of the final, however, we will let you take an additional (second) exam on material similar to that covered in any one of the previous three exams. If you have missed one of those exams, this system gives you an opportunity to recover. It also allows you to recover if you just did a bad job on one of them; we will give you the higher of the two grades.
5. Assignments not turned in on time will not receive credit (unless prior arrangements have been made).
(cartoon from Gary Larson, The Far Side)
Plan for the course
Exams: The course has three in-class exams (each worth 100 points) and a final (200 points). At the time of the final, you can retake any one of the hourly exams in addition to the final. Your grade will be based on the higher of the two scores for this exam. Because I include the possibility for a repeat or replacement exam automatically, I do not allow you to take other make-up exams unless you have an excellent reason that you missed the official one (e.g., an athlete taking part in an official competition, or a serious illness documented by a note from a doctor).
Homework: There will be four homework assignments. The grade for each will be scaled to 50 points, so the total for homework will be 200 points.
In-Class Exercises: From time to time we will do a small exercise in class to help you understand some of the concepts being discussed. Each in-class exercise will be worth 10 points. There are no make-ups - you have to be in class to do the in-class exercise.
Paper: You will write a paper, due April 18. It is to be on the general topic of global warming. I know you have written on this topic before, but this paper will be a different. You are asked to discuss the scientific basis for our ideas about global warming. I will show you how to distinguish scientific arguments that are probably valid from those that are probably not valid. The body of your paper should be 3 to 4 double spaced pages (12 pt font). However, in the bibliography you will describe in detail the reasons you believe each information source is valid (or invalid). Any conclusions in the paper need to be based on valid sources (you may want to discuss invalid ones along the way, of course). There is no page limit on the bibliography and source analyses. The paper is worth 100 points.
Final Grades: Grades are assigned on an absolute scale, that is 90% - 100% of the possible points is an A, 80% - 90% is a B, 70% - 80% is a C, and 60% - 70% is a D. Part way through the course many students feel they are doing very badly, but the chance to repeat one hourly exam and the paper generally bring the overall score up significantly. Historically, the students who do all the work in the course usually get A or B.