ASTR 1010 Sample Syllabus





ASTR 1010, Spring 2012


INSTRUCTOR: William Koch


OFFICE PHONE: (913) 469-8500 Ext. 3725

GOOGLE VOICE PHONE: (913) 735-6247 (Use only in dire emergencies, call or text)

OFFICE HOURS:   I teach full-time at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, so I don’t have an office at Georgia Perimeter College.  My on-campus office hours at JCCC, in case you want to call my office phone, are

  • T 8am – 9am, 12pm – 1pm (central time)
  • R 8am – 9am, 11am – 1pm (central time)
  • MW 5pm – 6pm (central time)

EMAIL: All email to me should be sent through the iCollege system.

  • I insist on using iCollege email for security reasons.  If iCollege is down, and it is urgent, you can email me at  Make sure to send it from your JCCC student email account (not from Yahoo!, Gmail, etc).  Please make sure your subject line contains information about your email (not simply replying to an old irrelevant message).
  • Discussion boards are set up in iCollege for students to post general questions and possible errors.  Please make use of those boards so that others might benefit from any ensuing discussion.  Questions of a personal nature, such as a student’s grades, should be sent by email for privacy.

COURSE TITLE: Astronomy of the Solar System



COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is an introductory course This course presents astronomy from the early ideas of the cosmos to modern observational techniques. The solar system planets, satellites and minor bodies are studied. The origin and evolution of the solar system are studied.

  • This is NOT a self-paced course and some materials will be due or made available at the appropriate time in order to keep the class in sync.  This course is delivered entirely online.
  • All online science courses require an assessment final exam that will be proctored on-campus.

PREREQUISITES: Exit or exemption from Learning Support mathematics and exit or exemption from Learning Support reading or all ESL requirements except ENSL 0091.


REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS: Bundled package available at bookstore, Astronomy Today by Chaisson, Volume 1, 7th edition, published by Pearson Education, ISBN:9780321765499.


  • Access to computer with Internet service (broadband is desirable, but not necessary)
  • To take the departmental final exam, you will need to buy red Scantron forms from the bookstore.  They are packaged with 5 forms per packet.

Web Browsers:

  • Windows users should use eitherFirefox or Internet Explorer 7 (Firefox is HIGHLY recommended).
  • Mac users should useFirefox or Safari.
  • Do not try to use browsers other than these (e.g. Opera or Chrome).

Warning: iCollege may appear to work okay with other browsers, but serious issues may arise during critical times (like during an exam)!  I grade what I get, so make sure you are using the recommended browser.


While online classes offer flexibility in when and where one completes course material, the fact is that they require more time than an on-campus class.  It is a myth that online course are easier and require less time.  Expect to spend as much time doing work for this class each week as you would driving to and from class sitting in class and doing homework in an on-campus class each week.

Students need to be:

  • self-motivated so that assignments are submitted on time.
  • self-sufficient and be able to explore, read and follow written instructions
  • organized so that  due dates aren’t missed and adequate time is spent on assignments.


The FINAL GRADES use the grading system is as stated in the GPC catalog:

above 90


80 – 90


70 – 80


60 – 70


below 60


Grades will be evaluated as follows:

Mastering Astronomy Homework 20%
Homework Discussion Board Postings 10%
3 Unit Exams 60%
Comprehensive Final Exam 10%
Total: 100%


Homework Assignments

Homework is assigned for each chapter and are done in the MasteringAstronomy site.  The homework problems assigned are multiple-choice questions and tutorials.  Since this is an online course, the tutorials help to fill the gap of not having face-to-face classroom lectures.  You must buy access to this if you did not buy the package with access included.

To log in or set up your account, go here.  You will need the Course ID and Course Title get to the course, once logged in.  This information is found in the “Assignments, Resources and Exams folder” on the home page.  This will become visible once you submit your “Agreement to Terms of this Course” and your “No Show” quiz.  You will find these in the Getting Started folder.

Homework Discussion Board Participation

Besides the required Introduction post and the Current Event post, homework discussion boards are set up in the Exam Unit folders.  It is through these boards that I actively teach as students ask questions.

  • Each student is required to ask a semester-total of at least 1 question on one of these boards, though more are encouraged. Students may post as many times on as many boards as he/she likes.
  • Students may also earn full credit by correctly answering another student’s question over concepts or a homework problem.

Further details about these postings are found on the discussion boards

Instructor Participation

I will try to answer posts regarding problems with iCollege or understanding procedures or assignments as soon as possible.  I usually check several times per day, everyday, but I cannot guarantee weekend or holiday responses to come as quickly.  I tend to wait a bit on homework questions to see if another student might respond first.  Explaining and giving hints requires processing one’s own knowledge of the subject, helping with understanding and retention.  Students helping other students is usually a win-win situation.  Junk posted at the last minute just to try to get points (too late to do any good) may not be addressed at all.

Exams and Final

There are 3 “regular” semester exams.  Check the Class Schedule to see when exams become available and when they are due.  They are generally available for a few days.  Each exam:

  • is multiple-choice
  • needs to be completed in 90 minutes
  • is open-book and open-notes
  • is in the respective unit folder in the “Assignments, Resources and Exams” Folder

Each student must do the exam individually.  Working together will be considered cheating (It is very obvious when this occurs).  Times and IP addresses (unique to each computer) is at the instructor’s fingertips.  Posting or answering exam questions on discussion boards before the time has expired to take the make-up exam will also be considered cheating.

Makeup Exams

Each student may take one and only one make-up exam for any reason (e.g. personal crises, computer crash, forgot about it, grandma died again, I didn’t want to take it, my computer crashed during the test, I did lousy the first try, etc).  Watch for the make-up exam dates on the schedule.

  • Since the student will have had more time to prepare before the exam, he/she will only have 90 minutes to complete it.
  • The make-up exams are available for a limited time (a few days).
  • There is no make-up exam for the Final.
  • The maximum score between the “regular exam” and the make-up will be recorded.
  • Further missed exams will result in a zero.

Extended Time Exams

These exams are for students who have a documented disability that requires extra time to finish the exams.  I need to be contacted by the student or the Office for Students with Disabilities before any student will be able to take these exams.  You will need a password to open these exams.  If you qualify, and you haven’t received your password, email me.

Final Exam

All math and science students are required to take a standardized departmental final exam on campus.  Final Exam Registration Instructions It consists of about 30 mostly conceptual multiple choice questions and students will be given about 30 minutes to take it.  Non-local students can arrange for a proctor at their local college and fill out the appropriate form.  There is no make-up for the Final Exam, so DON’T MISS IT!  You will need to purchase the red Scantron forms mentioned above in the bookstore.


Students’ academic success is the major priority of the College.  Because regular participation enhances the learning process, students are expected to adhere to the attendance policy set forth by the College and individual faculty members.  Differences in content and teaching styles exist among courses, which can impact students’ learning.  Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to attend all classes.  Students are accountable for assignments and material covered during an absence.

Students are allowed one (1) unexcused absences per semester for each class hour and one excused (no unexcused) absence from laboratory. Students MUST “check in” weekly by doing the MasteringPhysics assignments, discussion posts, etc. to be considered “active” in an on-line class.   Inactive students may recieve an “F” in the course.  You are responsible for your attendance.

Withdrawal Policy

I do not withdraw students.  Its the student’s responsibility.  The college will assign a grade of “W” if the student officially withdraws by mid-semester (the last day to receive a “W”). After mid-semester, withdrawal will result in an “F” course grade unless a hardship waiver is granted by the Academic Dean. It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw through the Enrollment and Registration office in the event that becomes necessary. You will not be withdrawn from class at the midpoint if you have attended class a minimum of one time but did not attend the remaining classes and you will receive an F for the course if you do not withdraw at the midpoint of the semester.  Withdrawal from lecture will result in automatic withdrawal from the co-requisite lab class. Check theacademic calendar for relevant dates.


An incomplete grade will be given only when you are prevented from taking the final exam by circumstances beyond your control; e.g., hospitalization, death in the family, or other similar cause.  If such cases occur, you must notify the instructor before the final exam and complete a form that has to be approved by the department head. Since I am not on campus, you will need to ask the department head of science.


As stated in the Georgia Perimeter College Catalog, “Cheating is contrary to the policy of Georgia Perimeter College. Cheating includes any attempt to defraud, deceive, or mislead the instructor in arriving at an honest grade assessment.”  Plagiarism is a form of cheating that involves presenting as one’s own the ideas or work of another. Any student found by the instructor to have engaged in academic misconduct on a graded test, assignment, or project will be assigned a grade of “F” for the course and may be dismissed from the class or recommended to the Student Court for expulsion from the college.

 Americans with Diabilities Act Statement

If you are a student who is disabled as defined under theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and require assistance or support services, please seek assistance through theCenter for Disability Services (CDS). A CDS counselor will coordinate those services. The office for these services is located on Central Campus.

Equal Opportunity Statment

No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age or disability, be excluded from employment or participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by Georgia Perimeter College.

Affirmative Action Statement

Georgia Perimeter College adheres to affirmative action policies designed to promote diversity and equal opportunity for all faculty, staff, and students.

Regents Test

The University System of Georgia requires that all students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs in University System institutions (including Georgia Perimeter College) successfully complete all parts of a competency examination in reading and English composition. This competency examination is commonly called “the Regents’ Test”, and it is free of charge. A student has two attempts to pass this test before accumulating 45 hours of collegiate credit. Please sign up for the Regents’ Test when you enroll in English 1102.Do this in time to have two attempts before accumulating 45 credit hours!