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Thread: Astronomy Class on BAUT, perhaps???

  1. #61
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    The body of the message may need to spell out what each class would entail a little more. We might want to start coming up with a very high level overview of what each class might cover.

  2. #62
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    That would be nice and would help attract more interest in the class. However, who will do it and does it need to be done for all four classes at this time? We might want to wait a bit for this. IMO, antoniseb needs more of our heavy hitters to step up to the plate and offer assistance if we are to write a textbook from scratch. This will especially true if the higher level courses are desired.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  3. #63
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    In terms of structure, does anyone have experience with Moodle? If so, I think that would be close to ideal, for this project - it can easily incorporate just about every suggestion made so far in this thread.

    If we were to choose that as the learning management system (LMS), I see the burden as falling to two places, principally: on Fraser (or the administrator), and on those who would be the instructors (largely because they would need to get up to speed with how Moodle works).

    If we aimed at a certificate course (of some kind), then there'd be an additional burden ... on whoever runs to ground the certificate requirements (and implements them; not trivial I suspect).

    For myself, I'm conflicted; I love the idea, and would love to be an instructor I have lots of ideas (though only some would be good ones), both on content and structure. However, the thought of the amount of time required scares me, so I've held off even posting to this thread ...

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    does anyone have experience with Moodle?
    This is the first I've seen of it, but it looks worth exploring.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    For myself, I'm conflicted; I love the idea, and would love to be an instructor I have lots of ideas (though only some would be good ones), both on content and structure. However, the thought of the amount of time required scares me, so I've held off even posting to this thread ...
    I think this is the greatest risk of this entire undertaking. When it comes to projects like this, I highly recommend taking tiny steps. Layer content on like an onion improving things as you go.

    Is there one specific topic, that could give people the most value? Maybe just do a mini course on that. Afterwards, judge the effort, people's enthusiasm, and then rinse repeat.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Maybe just do a mini course.
    I was imagining each textbook chapter as a mini-course. Originally, I visualized it as a thread per course, starting with a post linking to a web-page, and a set of homework assignments. The thread was open for Q&A and help on specific homework questions.

    This is much trimmed down from what an actual web-based training effort is. I do those professionally, and don't have the time it would take to do it here.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  7. #67
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    Could possibly set up something like "an Introduction to Astronomy" course for the dual purpose of getting those of us on here with little or no astronomy background up to speed, and testing out the process nessesary for future classes. Wouldn't have to be too big or complicated, just something to try out a format(s).

  8. #68
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    It seems the goal is still to build a course, essentially, from scratch. Obviously, the work load is now the big issue. What ways can this get accomplished?

    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb
    I was imagining each textbook chapter as a mini-course. Originally, I visualized it as a thread per course, starting with a post linking to a web-page, and a set of homework assignments. The thread was open for Q&A and help on specific homework questions.
    That sounds logical. Would a dedicated and locked thread work for each chapter in lieu of a separate web page? Other chapter threads could serve for discussion purposes.

    Perhaps it is just my excitement about this class that makes me ask if we could not elicit students to write much of the text themselves, where two or more instructors will edit and augment their work for any given chapter? Other students and instructors could be working on subsequent chapters at the same time.

    Using the ideas from others above, suppose you had 20 subtopics in a chapter. If the instructors posted all 20 then students, could select the ones they wanted and the instructors could assign them. Any subtopic without a volunteer(s) would be given to an instructor or given to class "consultants" [ ]. I am confident there will be several highly qualified participants that will pitch-in with this effort but are, due to work loads, not able to commit to being an instructor. [Added: Hopefully, two students would work together on a couple of subtopics to help minimize editing by an instructor, as well as, improve on the content itself.]

    This plan, or another of your choice, could be implemented and the material reviewed to see how well the plan is working. I would assume the first chapter would need completed and the second chapter at least half completed before setting the offical class start date. If there are hiccups or unfair burdens on individuals in the plan, then we simply revise and postpone the [announcement of the] official class start.

    [Added: Assuming a dozen chapters, that would equate to about 300 to 400 pages for a textbook, which seems about right.]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Could possibly set up something like "an Introduction to Astronomy" course for the dual purpose of getting those of us on here with little or no astronomy background up to speed, and testing out the process nessesary for future classes. Wouldn't have to be too big or complicated, just something to try out a format(s).
    This is what I thought at first and once everyone has basic understanding we could move if there was enough interest.
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    I think this is the greatest risk of this entire undertaking. When it comes to projects like this, I highly recommend taking tiny steps. Layer content on like an onion improving things as you go.

    Is there one specific topic, that could give people the most value? Maybe just do a mini course on that. Afterwards, judge the effort, people's enthusiasm, and then rinse repeat.
    I like this idea of a mini-course as a test. Maybe we could pick a topic for it. Maybe something that has been discussed around here, like the nuclear physics of the sun, or the structures of the planets in the solar system (rocky bodies, gas giants, etc.)?
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  11. #71
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    Wow, this is a really fascinating idea! I can't read this thread in detail right now, but I will, and think on this some too. I'll do whatever I can to help.

  12. #72
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    Great to hear it, BA. All experienced teachers are sure needed to help formulate a fruitful plan, especially if we greatly contribute to the Wiki Books program.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  13. #73
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    An instructor has to know what the students know and what they need to know. I have taken a couple courses on how to set up a curriculum. Heck , I've I had to make up a whole year of lesson plans when we received a new software program this year.

    What need are we trying to fill? Who is the target audience? What outcomes are we seeking? What are the course objectives? Will the homework include lab (actually going outside and looking or text based?) What skills must be learned before instruction begins?
    Are there going to be any prerequisites? Will there be criterion tests? An instructor needs tests and much as the student to see if the instruction is working!

    An introductory "tryout" course is an excellent idea. That would help the instructor and students decide if the course is worthy of the time and effort that will be involved. That will also help decide what changes need to be implemented so that the course works better.

  14. #74
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    All good points, Tinna.

    I suspect at this point we are still throwing things on the table to see what looks good. We don't have a large team of instructors ready to write textbooks to accommodate all the student desires for a great class. We also don't have a handle on how many students are interested nor at what level class they want. As my friend Dave says, "if we had some ham, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some eggs". So there is a little bit of a Catch 22 here, but not enough to stall the initial wavefront.

    It should be apparent that we do have at least some students enthusiastic about taking a class; likely enough in number to make up at least one freshman or sophomore college level class without much promotion.

    My hope is the potential benefits of using BAUT - with its communication functionality and remarkably educated membership, not to mention some of its colorfully entertaining contributors - will be recognized and mentioned here in this thread.

    I would love to see some lofty goals presented, too. Fraser introduced a big one with working toward building the Wiki Books Astronomy textbook. I like that idea. Whatever they may be, if we define our eventual goals then we can layout a plan and see who will commit to the task and who will serve as backup to their work. Perhaps this effort could be tested by preparing one or two chapters in advance of announcing any official class start date to see what happens, or the mini-course idea might be a better alternative.

    Dreamer that I am, here is what this student wants....
    I want to take numerous serious courses in Astronomy.
    I want the course to be filled with the latest images, illustrations and animations.
    I want the courses to be on the internet for convenience and time flexibility as I don't have the time to take them in college (night or day) (I'm paying for two of our kids that are enrolled now!).
    [Guess the next one] Money is a problem, so a free class, or ~ $100 is the limit.
    I want to reach a level that would allow me credit on as many hours as possible should I elect to go after a degree in astronomy (even though, with a degree, I would not likely work professionally, but might serve in some assistance capacity).
    Therefore, I want a prominent university to allow me to take advance placement tests, knowing most of my hours from my prior degree will apply to the other course requirements.
    I want to complete a course here that I can be proud of surviving. [Though a less rigorous course would be admirable, too.]
    I want a cool looking BAUT certificate for completing each rigorous course; the tougher the course, the better the certificate (sheep still have skin, right? )
    I wanta take my knowledge and go to the ATM forum and present ideas where I know what I'm talking about (in lieu of just presenting ideas that clearly reveal otherwise. )
    I wanta know why a pure Doppler model isn't offered to explain expansion, why light seems stubborn with entropy, why we can't increase surface brightness, where models are strong and where they might be weak, how our solar system formed, and the merits to claims of scientific concordance. I wanta know what's out there, how big it is, and what the future holds. I want to boldly go beyond having to quote Star Trek lines. I want to be a part of a collective effort that produces something significant and grander than anything done here before. [Oh, and I wanta know the color of the sun. .]

    That’s all I want for Christmas.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I like this idea of a mini-course as a test. Maybe we could pick a topic for it. Maybe something that has been discussed around here, like the nuclear physics of the sun, or the structures of the planets in the solar system (rocky bodies, gas giants, etc.)?
    this type of course would give me a good idea of how much time I have to devote to such a study. my job takes me out of town for several days at a time during the week and only at one place other than at home will I have internet access.(a hotel that offers two computers for guest use.)

  16. #76
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    Bah! I'm excited about this thing. I love to learn (and if you've read any of my posts, you know i've got a lot of room for improvement hehe). But there's only been like one post every couple of days recently. Don't let this die out! I'm willing to lend any help i can and it looks like we got plenty that feel the same way. So now I think we need to get the leaders together and start devising a good plan. I still back the idea of a smaller test course, and i'm still gonna give my vote to basic astronomy 'caus...well, i really need the foundation anyway, hope this thing materializes. go BAUT!

  17. #77
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    It won't die. It needs more consideration by folks like the BA, Fraser, and other teachers. This could be a small paradigm moment and could prove to be quite effective because of the somewhat unique circumstances inherent here.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  18. #78
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    Here is another website that is an online based astronomy course. It will give us an idea on how to set up our own system.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelfazin View Post
    Here is another website that is an online based astronomy course. It will give us an idea on how to set up our own system.
    It is nice to see that someone has done something like this. However, it is as basic as it gets as per his own intention...

    ...this course wasn't meant to be a complete study of the field of astronomy, merely an overview, and a chance to pick up some new information. If it whets your appetite for learning, then it has accomplished its goal.
    Some of the statements in his one page chapters are questionable, but I think he does accomplish his stated goal. [I don't want to be too critical since I am a certificate recipient. Take the quiz to see simplicity.]
    Last edited by George; 2006-Nov-24 at 10:12 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    It won't die. It needs more consideration by folks like the BA, Fraser, and other teachers. This could be a small paradigm moment and could prove to be quite effective because of the somewhat unique circumstances inherent here.
    Please please don't hold up on account of me or Phil. Honestly, neither of us have the bandwidth to lead this effort. We can provide you with whatever support you need, and I'm happy to be someone to bounce ideas off of.

    But please don't hold up your efforts because you're waiting for us to approve of anything.

    <approved>Some BAUT-based (or non-BAUT-based) astronomy course of some scale, organized by forum members, with volunteer teachers, and some kind of text book, or other material. </approved>

    You have our blessing, proceed. Just let me know how I can help.

    In my experience, somebody just has to do something. Then people can see that something and improve, nitpick, or reorganize. Eventually momentum will build, and it'll seem like the idea was inevitable.

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    It is nice to see someone has done something like this. However, it is as basic as it gets as per his own intention...


    Some of the statements in his one page chapters are questionable, but I think he does accomplish his stated goal. [I don't want to be too critical since I am a certificate recipient. Take the quiz to see simplicity.]
    Agreed on the simplicity. I felt that he has a fairly decent lesson plan, but I was thinking that, strictly as a "test" course, we could use his website (or something similar) to see if the classroom idea works.

  22. #82
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    That is understandable, Fraser. Sometimes one must grind the gears to complete a paradigm shift. So where are we???

    The key issue in my mind is how can we generate a great textbook here. [There is still the backup plan: finding and buying a written textbook for the class.]

    We need more discussion on ideas, IMO. What ways can our own quality textbook be created...

    1) Get a team of instructors commited. [However, people here, including me, think being commited and imprisonment are synonomus.]

    2) Grow a team of instructors. [Bait the hook and chum the waters. a) Recommend an outline along with section titles, and fine tune it on the forum (perhaps a dedicated forum). b) Make new threads for each section title where the OP is updated from material from subsequent posts. c) compile into a chapter d) invite the big fish to feast on the fodder until a quality work is complete and the big fish are satisfied enough to keep swimming with the boat.]

    3) Freelance for all. [As above, but just let the chips fall where they may until each chapter is complete.]

    There are probably other ways including the use of Mudder, but one way or another, I think it is likely we can accomplish the task. I've little doubt, though the poll has not be taken, that enough students will want to join the class to help make the effort worthwhile. Also, making it fruitful for Wiki Books is an added incentive to do a good work.

    Let's kick ideas around so we can soon stir others interest by offering a tentative plan.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelfazin View Post
    Agreed on the simplicity. I felt that he has a fairly decent lesson plan, but I was thinking that, strictly as a "test" course, we could use his website (or something similar) to see if the classroom idea works.
    My guess is that we will want to do a full 101 Astronomy course (or a 201 course) which will do more than mention Kepler and ellipses but would state and explain his three laws. His course could be done in one afternoon.

    However, it should be an excellent place to send newbies who might be a little intimidated with a more comprehensive course. Once they have their appetites whet, then they can take the BAUT course.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    My guess is that we will want to do a full 101 Astronomy course (or a 201 course) which will do more than mention Kepler and ellipses but would state and explain his three laws. His course could be done in one afternoon.

    However, it should be an excellent place to send newbies who might be a little intimidated with a more comprehensive course. Once they have their appetites whet, then they can take the BAUT course.
    Isn't that basically what we wanted in an exploratory course, something that was short and to the point?

  25. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelfazin View Post
    Isn't that basically what we wanted in an exploratory course, something that was short and to the point?
    My expectation is much higher than something so remedial as that introductory only course. As per its intent, it only whets the appetite. However, if a poll reveals that is all people want initially, I won't complain...initially.

    My hope was to see more teachers show more initiative, though some have offered support. antoniseb shouldn't have to be the lone ranger as the only instructor, especially if we are serious about producing something significant.

    At this point, maybe we should layout a chapter outline and see how many folks will offer to do a section. I would not be shocked to see a bountiful response, though I do tend to be overly optimistic.

    Any other ideas out there??? antoniseb, what say thee? You still game?
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  26. #86
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    Another web site with a more in-depth approach to astronomy is Nick Strobel's Astronomy Notes.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  27. #87
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    I had seen a course on astronomy on the web, it was a certificate course, available at two levels, and it was throughly detailed. But it's owner closed his website, and now its gone. I downloaded it, but sharing it would be copyright violation, I guess.

    But his lesson plan for the certificate level was impressive...

    5 lectures on "Astronomy without a telescope": The celestial sphere, Earth-moon system and eclipses, The orbits of the planets (and some history) , Kepler's Laws, and more on the celestial sphere.
    2 lectures on light.
    7 lectures on the solar system.
    9 lectures on Stars. Covering everything from temperature to stellar evolution.

    After that there was a module on observational astronomy.

    I wish I could share this course, it's terrific, if a bit high level (no math, though). Maybe I'll see if I have the author's address and ask him if I can.

  28. #88
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    Finding an existing quality course might be very helpful since we haven't established enough interest in writing one.

    Prior web courses may have had little attention due to the lack of community. BAUT has enough folks here to allow them an opportunity to engage in a course program, as well as, offers other features including support at amazing levels of assistance.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  29. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Except for the two Australian on-line programs, there is no on-line degree program that I know of either.
    The types of degrees are quite limited, but Western Governors University has fully accredited online degree programs.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    The types of degrees are quite limited, but Western Governors University has fully accredited online degree programs.
    Does it have a degree plan in astronomy? I've yet to find one that does, though there are many universities which offer degree programs in business and other popular colleges.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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