|AST 309L · Search for Extraterrestrial Life
The exams will probably consist entirely of
multiple choice questions, depending on class size. I will try to prepare you for the nature of the exam questions by occasionally
giving sample questions during lectures, by trying to point out the types of information that I expect you to understand or remember,
and giving examples on review sheets.
In case of medical or other non-academic emergencies or situations, contact me as early as possible - it will usually be possible for you
to take an exam a day or so early or late in these cases (but not for academic reasons).
We will try to get exam grades available to you through the UT e-Gradebook system (at
https://utdirect.utexas.edu/diia/egb/) within one or two days of the time
of the exam.
Final grades are assigned on the basis of A=87-100, B=78-86.9, C=67-77.9, D=55-66.9, F<55.
Homework: 5% of your grade will be based on two homework assignments consisting of a long paragraph, written in your
own words, each summarizing information found on the internet dealing with any topic covered in class or in the readings (one of
particular interest to you), but covering a point, detail, or aspect of that topic NOT covered in class or readings. In other words, this
assignment should add something new to the course and also will demonstrate that you are aware of what information is already contained
in lectures or readings. This means that you cannot research a topic that we will be covering later in class (since you will have no way of
knowing whether your selection of material adds something new).
The material turned in must include the link or links used to find the information and should NOT use any web
search engine OR use any newspaper-level article (for reasons to be explained in class). These paragraphs will be "handed in" electronically
by email to the instructor. A list of useful web sites and more details and examples will be handed out separately. Each of these assignments
will simply be graded "credit" (2.5% added to your final grade) or "no credit" and returned to you via email within a few days; in the latter case
("no credit") an explanation will be given, and you can try again. Notice that these homeworks are worth about half a letter grade for your
final grade. And they are relatively easy to do.
The deadlines for these are: Nov. 3 (about a week after the 3rd exam) and Nov. 24 (about a week after the 4th exam).
Please notice that this means that you cannot do these assignments on any of the topics covered for the fifth exam (see below), for reasons I'll
explain in class. I urge you to turn these in as early as possible.
Under no conditions except dire emergencies will a late assignment be accepted.
Just under the cutoff?
If at the end of the semester you are just under the cutoff for a grade (by, say, one, or two, or 0.3, percentage points), whether
you are just under a D, say, or an A, do not call Prof. Scalo asking him to lower the cutoff--this is unfair to all concerned. Cut-offs
will not be lowered to accommodate your individual score.