Information on lecturing in class and handling a lab session, as well as , other important instructions for adjuncts.
Read this carefully, your employment with us may depend on your understanding what is required of you.
Relatively new General info
Syllabi: Typical for all astronomy classes is found along with this document. If you choose to create your own syllabi please submit it to me for approval. thanks
ALL "LECTURE" INSTRUCTORS SHOULD ESTABLISH A CLASS ON MASTERING ASTRONOMY(MA). Please do this even if you are not going to use the online Homework and Exam capability with a roll book (I do highly recommend doing this). Once you establish a class then your students, all of which will have access instructions with their textbook, can use the excellent tutorial material for their assignments. Contact me about establishing a teachers account on MA. There you set up your course(s) and students join it and can do your homework and /or quiz work you assign. (This is a powerful educational tool to "drill and practice" students to perform much better on class exams, as well as, in general master the subject.
In order to try to make more students successfully complete astronomy, please guide them to the observatory website which contains info on the course, extra credit observing etc. You can tell them to go directly via CSI "quick links" but best is set up a home page on Mastering Astronomy which contains links to the various pages of the observatory. Please see an example here for guidelines on doing this. Don't forget to point out the Observatory Schedule link. The first day notes handed out in the laboratory to all students points out the following other helpful resources found in the Navigator on the left of the main web page, so please show them how to get to theseand give them a quick preview. STUDENT RESOURCES (CHAPTER REVIEW ETC), STUDENT REQUIRED OBSERVING~ AND ~EXTRA-CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES, as well as STUDENT LABORATORY SOFTWARE. Of course, all these are also in the MA homepage announcements! SEE my example for you to use. ie: Suggested Homepage for Mastering Astronomy
The Observing POLICY: The observatory has successfully been open once or twice per month. The observatory schedule will be posted on the supernova website and distributed to you. It would be very helpful if instructors participated in at least one observing night, or solar observing if it takes place, to lend assistants. Students would benefit by us being able to offer more than one observing session a month. Make the observation policy (which is also state on the web) just two observings (and of course anything more Extra Credit!)
The Observatory Website had links to observing and additional help material. How to study astronomy ,write a term paper and other links also in the resource section. I suggest you inform your students about all these study aids! In fact, the new first day notes in the laboratory spell it out. You should have received these first day notes.
PREPARING POWER POINT LECTURES and NEW COMPUTERS: PERMANENT PROJECTORS are SET UP IN THE LECTURE ROOMS OF 4N as well as the laboratories and other class rooms assigned to Astonomy. For example power points please contact me (Irv Robbins). You should have recieved at least the powerpoints that come with the book either by me or download them at the book
OBSERVING, Term Paper and two MUSEUM trips: Except for requiring two observings all of the latter are extra credit. I remind you that the back of the laboratory manual (and the latest versions are online see example MA homepage) contains observing report forms and details for two possible trips to the Museum of Natural History and what is expected for a term paper. I suggest you give no more than 8-10 points (very generous) on a students final average via extra credit.
THE OBSERVING Forms and MUSEUM TRIPS ARE ALL ONLINE AT THE WEBSITE AND CAN BE PRINTED BY THE STUDENT. See the first day lab notes also
Student evaluations VERY IMPORTANT: THE ANONYMOUS STUDENT EVALUATIONS ARE IN HELEN'S OFFICE AND I RECOMMEND THAT YOU LOOK AT THE COMMENTS MADE ON THESE FORMS TO HELP GET A SENSE IF ANY PROBLEMS NEED ADDRESSING. THE DEPARTMENT AND MYSELF DO LOOK AT THESE AND GIVE THEM SOME WEIGHT IN OUR DELIBERATIONS ON YOUR EMPLOYMENT AND WHO TEACHES WHAT!. Helen announces regularly via mail when she gets the previous semesters result in. (These are not the numerical evaluations you get in the mail but the actual forms filled in by your students in the previous semester with comments).
ALL THE RULES YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CSI ASTRONOMY and were afraid to ask!
If you have been assigned 6 or more hours as an adjunct you must tell Helen when you will be in for 1 additional hour for professional advising (office hour won in last contract that you will get paid for).
1. Grade inflation
A new thought on Grade inflation. One does not have to GIVE ALL A'S AND B'S since we should BE FAIR TO THOSE STUDENTS WHO WORK HARD FOR YOUR COURSE. On the other hand since we are educating non-science students and this may be their only encounter with a real science course I think for the good of science we should be merciful in the final analysis. IF A STUDENT IS SIGNIFICANTLY FAILING THEN I RECOMMEND ENCOURAGING THEM TO DROP and come back when they can do the work. "A" and "F" grades should be reserved only for the truly deserving!
2. Crib sheets:
"A one to three page crib sheet can be permitted on all lecture exams is ok with me.
Laboratory mid-term and final should be open-book!"
3. Check out the new student help online use the first day notes as a guide.
If you cannot make it to a class please call Helen (982 2825) and we will try to have your class covered.
5. Teaching Style(Lecture classes)?
Please make an attempt to cover the majority of a syllabus and do not waste class time on too much material not related to the course (some stories and anecdotes of course can be very appropriate and additional material related to the topic is fine).
Please teach to the ability of the majority of our students so as not to discourage them in the course. Donot teach only to the smartest students or the least prepared students. Yes, sometimes it seems that way but you are required to have a great deal of patience! Do not take your frustrations out on students. The latter is unacceptable and if you create a hostel work environment that is grounds for dismissal (even for tenured faculty). Please give them extra help in the laboratory and do not make yourself unapproachable!
Please enforce the Observing Session Requirement (OSR) policy in the lecture classes this term since one thing that makes us unique is having an observatory . The views of the Moon or planets as required can be a strong motivational tool.
1. SKY AND TELESCOPE is available monthly in the laboratory and should be given to all students. Giving extra-credit to a student who writes a summary of a major article is one way of using the magazine effectively. Let me know if you have other idea’s on this.
3. The observatory homepage (ALL SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM HERE SEE BELOW) is now installed and accessible in the laboratory. Again let me know if you develop idea's on how to use this astronomical gateway for laboratory work. The address is supernova7.apsc.csi.cuny.edu PLEASE let me know of problems!
6. General items you may need (Most items, Helen, the chairperson’s secretary can get you but please contact me if you need help)
A. RECENT Course Outlines for Astronomy 100,101,102,103 for your use, as well as, for overall general information are kept in the file cabinet in 1N-225. 101 and 103 are of course in the laboratory manual. Some suggested outlines are on the website in the same place as these notes (namely use "Prof Irving Robbins" link.
B. A copy of the laboratory Manual for laboratory teachers
Current Versions will be ready at the start of the term. These have the outlines in them (see below)
C. The Text bookS for Astronomy CAN BE OBTAINED FROM HELEN if you did not receive it.
D. Sample examinations. I have these and would be glad to provide copies for both the lecture and laboratory classes.
E: A note on Safety:
WARN Female students not to go unescorted to observing sessions for safety sake. Stress dressing warm for all ..they do not know how?? Remind students to see additional safety tips in observing session guide in the laboratory manual.
EVENING SESSION: WARN female students not to go to their cars unescorted late at night!
Laboratory Guidelines (additional)
2. LABORATORY SOFTWARE is also available from http://www.gettysburg.edu/academics/physics/clea/CLEAhome.html
OR You can reach this site via our observatory site under "Student and Instructors Laboratory Resources" submenu.
3. The laboratory Outline is in the Manual sold at the bookstore. We have a Solar System Manual and a Stellar & Galactic Manual for Ast 101 and Ast 103 respectively. Both are available in the Bookstore. Lecture teachers should alert students to pick these up immediately.
4. Scan-Tron forms...remind students to pick these up for the Midterm and Final exam(see below)
5. The first laboratory exercises will be available for you and will be be printed up for distribution AS PART OF A FIRST DAY PACKAGE I PREPARE. In addition this insures that there is something to do the first day since students most likely will not have the manual's on the starting day. Do not dismiss your class the first day.
6. Please show students during the exercises that require calculations, how to use the windows scientific calculator. Turn the computer on and a menu command accesses windows. The calculator is in the Astronomy group under windows and is easily 'clicked' on.
7. More Detailed laboratory instructions on each exercise for the teacher and the technician are in APPENDIX of the printed manuals THE LATEST COPY IS ON THIS WEB SITE ABOVE THIS LIST!
IN GENERAL TECHNICIANS ARE PART OF THE INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF AND SOME OF THEM KNOW THE LABS VERY WELL AND WE EXPECT THEM TO ASSIST THE TEACHER IF DESIRED IN ANSWERING BASIC QUESTION FOR THE STUDENTS ( IF THEY DON'T KNOW THEY SHOULD REFER THEM TO THE TEACHER).
IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR TECHNICIAN PLEASE ME KNOW ABOUT THIS. THANKS
8. Students pay laboratory fees and a number of items called the Astronomy Kits are given to the students to keep. For examples, star finder, earth maps etc. Please see the laboratory manual instructions on this point.
8. Grading Policy. The laboratory Outline calls for a midterm and a final. Enforce this please. Typically 50 question ..many of them "hands-on" to separate out the doers from the spectators. Please contact me for example exams.
Some suggested combinations prep 10 to 20%, Graded Lab exercises 25 to 35% Mid term & Final at least 50%
9. Open book test is recommended for the laboratory midterm and final.
NOTE: A TAKE HOME FINAL IS INAPPROPRIATE for a laboratory course.
10. The general practice in our introductory laboratories is to give a short introduction(15 TO 20 MINUTES IN MOST CASES) to each exercise. WHENEVER YOU ARE DOING A SOFTWARE DEPENDENT EXERCISE IT IS SUGGESTED YOU DEMONSTRATE THE SOFTWARE AS PART OF YOUR PRESENTATION. This will give the students a "heads-up" on what is coming and they will understand their goals a lot easier and even might enjoy the exercise.! The technicians are part of the instructional staff and if you want have them assist you in helping students understand setups, software, etc while the laboratory session is on.
DO NOT SPEND THE ENTIRE OR MOST OF THE PERIOD LECTURING IN THE LABORATORY or NOT LECTURE AT ALL, LEAVING THE STUDENTS TO FIGURE THINGS OUT TOTALLY ON THEIR OWN.. THESE ARE INAPPROPRIATE FOR A LABORATORY SESSION. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POLICY. PLEASE CONTACT ME! BOTH APPROACHES CAN LEAD TO A VERY NEGATIVE EDUCATIONAL SITUATION, SINCE THE STUDENTS WILL BECOME EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED WITHOUT HELP OR ENOUGH TIME TO DO MOST OF THE LABORATORY EXERCISES (A LOT OF EXERCISES HAVE TO BE FINISHED AT HOME, ONCE ALL DATA AND NECESSARY INFORMATION HAS BEEN OBTAINED).
For your first time teaching an exercise, I suggest you come in early or on another date and go over the material ie do the exercise. Hence you will be an expert and your introduction to the exercise will be more meaningful and helpful to the students since you can guide them through the important stumbling blocks. Do not try to work out an exercise with the class this will take too long. Please be prepared! Using the projector system is an excellent way to introduce the students to the simulation exercises. In general, guiding them to how to collect data and do an exercise is what should be done in the introduction to the exercise. Remember, each exercise has a preparation assignment and in theory, the student learns (those that do it, remember D and F are grades reserved for those who do not) most of the ideas behind the work to be done, they just need to know, how to do it.
11. In any experiment involving possible safety problems, the instructor should carefully go over safety precautions with the class.
For example, please show students how not to get electric shocks, or be careful with handling optical and spectral benches to avoid hitting their fellow students!
12 In using the computer you will need a lab computer login ID and you should get a college email address which you can link to any other.
13. Students should either work alone or in groups of two. There should never be more than two in a group since this will automatically mean "spectator" students who will not do well on exams since they are just copying data. Tell students they have to take the midterm and final exams and are responsible when they work with a partner. This is especially true of the computer exercises.
14. I FURTHER remind you to be sure to do your Student/ Faculty observations...They are required for re-appointment ,etc considerations.
15. If their are problems please feel free to talk to me. After 40+ years of teaching, I think I have heard about everything that can possible go wrong. I hope you do not find me unapproachable.
16. Please read the laboratory manual carefully when you prepare your introductory lessons and if you find errors or have any new ideas please let me know.
17 . A copy of your grade book should be left with chairperson's secretary at the end of the semester.
18.For students who are absent from a laboratory session in general suggest to them to attend another class and everyone should be open to the possibility that a student might try to do a "make-up" lab in your class. On the other hand I am having a supplemental laboratory exercise manual printed and and copies will be available in the prep room. Look it over when you get a chance and possibly suggest some of these exercises for a make-up.
19.A grade model I used for laboratory which seems to give a "just" grade is
grade average = 50% (midterm +final) + 35% graded exercises+15% preparation assignments - excess absences etc The lab formula is suggested in the lab books.
IMPORTANT NOTE to New Adjunct Faculty
Before the semester begins it is necessary to report to the personnel office -1A204 to prove citizenship (2 forms of ID) or show your work authorization if you are not a citizen. Call Helen Marshak the chairperson's secretary if you need more information. 718- 982 - 2825
MAIL BOX, ROOM ASSIGNMENT AND SCANTRON ROOM
You are being given a mail box in 1N -225, please check it regularly for possible important communications. All adjuncts are assigned a room. Check with the chairperson's secretary for the room and keys'
SCANTRON FORMS can be graded with the scantron graders placed in THE ADJUNCT room 1n-222. Some bent forms get stuck in the machines and have to be hand graded. Advise students not to "CHEW" on the forms.
If you have any general problems or specific questions feel free to call me.
I hope you have an enjoyable and productive term.
Irving K. Robbins
PS I do apologize if I repeated concepts, the document has been growing over the years.