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AST 301 · Introduction to Astronomy    1   2   3   4   5  

The topics and dates of the exams (tentative--any changes will be announced heavily in class and at the class website) are listed below. There will be no comprehensive final. 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. There is an excellent multiple choice interactive self-testing part of the text web site ( that I urge you to use, since the exam questions will be of that form, and some will be taken from this source. (Click on Astronomy Today 5/e, then Study Guide for each chapter.) I will suggest which questions to try on review sheets before each exam.

inspecting mirror In case of medical or other non-academic emergencies or situations, contact me as early as possible--it may 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 within one or two days of the time of the exam. Often you should be able to get your exam grades on the same day (or evening) as you take the exam.

Homework: There is homework in this class, but it won't be turned in. Instead the homework consists of a subset of the questions at the end of each chapter and especially on the interactive multiple choice self-testing part of the text web site. The purposes of the homework are to give you a way of testing your understanding of the material, to provide a guide to the most important concepts, and to force you to keep up with the material. Although the homework will not be turned in or graded, you will find that your exam grades suffer significantly if you do not attempt to work through these assignments, especially since I will include some of them on each exam.

Final grades: 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. Final percentages will not be "rounded up." For example, if you end up with a 77.8, you will receive a C. There is no possibility of "extra credit" in any case because of the class size--I would have to offer the same opportunity to all students.

Departmental policies: Please download and read the "Memo to Undergraduate Astronomy Students regarding Astronomy Courses" found here if you did not receive it in class.

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. Cutoffs will not be lowered to accommodate your individual score. Scores at the end of the semester are not rounded up, so, for example, a 77.7 will get you a C.

Special Requests
If you have any special request of any sort (excluding those not allowed, like lowering the grade cutoff), please put the request in writing, preferably by email, or call me on the phone. Please state clearly and explicitly your request and why it is reasonable. Include a phone number so that I can contact you about your request. Obviously (I hope) this procedure does not apply to minor requests such as "Could you write a little larger on the board?," etc. Any suggestions for improvement of the class as we proceed will be greatly appreciated--an email is usually the easiest way.

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25 August 2006
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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