|AST 309L · Search for Extraterrestrial Life
The exams will consist almost 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. Usually, you should be able to get your exam grades on the same day (or evening) as you take 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: The homework in this class will be ungraded except in the sense that references to it will appear on each exam in the form
of an exam question. Usually once per week I will send out class email containing one or more questions relating to the topic you are reading
about and I am lecturing about. You should try to answer these (for yourself, not to me) within a day or two of receipt of the email. Most of these questions will be basic
and fairly easy, and serve the purpose of having you keep up with the reading and lectures (lagging on these is the most common cause of
grade decline in this class); many will involve searching on the www concerning developments too recent to be covered in your text (e.g. the
recent Mars and Titan missions). These questions will be much more difficult to
answer if you wait until just before the exam--it will take you longer to dig up the answers during a time when you should be just studying
for the exam. I will always insert exam questions that directly test whether you know the answers to these questionsthat is how you
will be "graded" on these homework questions.
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. Scores at the end of the semester are not rounded up, so, for example,
a 77.7 will get you a C.
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.