SYLLABUS – AST 2002, Section 0003, Fall 2011
Dr. James Cooney
PS 154
Phone – 407-823-5513
Office Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday 10-11am, Wednesday 10:30-11:30am, or by
The Essential Cosmic Perspective, 6th Edition by Bennett et al.
Exams: 75%
Quizzes/HW: 20%
Clickers: 5%
There will be four exams, of which I will count the three highest
for 25% each. There will be NO make-ups given, which means
that if you miss an exam, it will count as your dropped score.
The HW will be online. Access is briefly discussed below and will
be elaborated on during the first week of class.
We will be making use of the iClicker feedback system every day.
You will receive points both for participation and for correct
answers. There will be three dropped clicker days to account for
any days you might miss due to illness, forgetting your clicker, etc.
1% of extra credit, added to your final grade, may be earned by
visiting UCF’s Robinson Observatory during the semester. They
have open house nights approximately once per week, during
which time you may attend and bring whomever you like. Open
hours for this facility can be found at They have forms
there for you to fill out to earn the extra credit. Additionally, 2%
of extra credit may be earned by reading The Demon-Haunted
World by Carl Sagan and discussing the book with me in my
office. This book is not available in the campus bookstore, but
may be found in local libraries or online. This must be done before
the last day of classes.
90-100% - A
80-90%– B
70-80% – C
55-70 – D
Less than 55% - bad news
Important Dates:
Classes Begin: August 22
Withdrawal Deadline: October 27
Classes End: December 3
Exam 1: September 8
Exam 2: October 6
Exam 3: November 3
Final Exam: December 6, 1pm
iClickers are available in the campus bookstore and other
locations. The same iClicker can be used for any classes which
require them. Both iClicker and iClicker 2 are compatible with our
system. When you first get the iClicker, go to to register it. Use your NID,
including the two leading letters, as you student ID. You MUST
always use only your iClicker. Anyone caught using someone
else’s clicker will immediately receive an F for the course, as will
the owner of that clicker.
We will be using Mastering Astronomy for this course. Access to
this system can be found at Pay attention in
class to find out in more detail how to access the site for our
course. All homework will be done on the site, in the Assignments
section. All of your grades will be accessible on the site, as well as
a wealth of other tools, including course announcements. Course
notes and other documents, such as exam reviews, will be posted
here as well. The course code that you will need is
COONEYF110003. Use your NID for your student ID.
Course Description: Welcome, friends, to the wonderful world of astronomy. Who
hasn’t sat outside on a dark, clear night and wondered at the beauty
of what they beheld? The observational science of astronomy
deals with our attempts to understand what we see and to find our
place in the universe. This course is intended to be of interest to
students of any major and, as so, will be largely qualitative in
nature. That is not to say that there will be no mathematics used,
be will we tend to keep it to a minimum. Please know that I am
very invested in your learning and understand of astronomy, so
please feel free to come and see me if you ever need any help!
Some additional policies:
1. Picture ID will be required at all exams.
2. Don’t cheat. It takes a real jerk to cheat in a class like this because it screws
everyone else who is working hard for their grade. The deterrent should not be
the punishment, but your sense of decency, but should you get caught, I will
immediately fail you for the course and proceed with the University disciplinary
3. Don’t come to me at the end of the semester with a question about a grade on an
exam or quiz. If you think there has been a mistake made, bring it to my attention
4. All details subject to change, so please pay attention to announcements on the
website and in class.
5. All general UCF policies apply. Especially see the Golden Rule,, and the UCF Creed,