Purpose: Discussion sections are a way to make large lecture classes more accessible by providing students with an opportunity to investigate, discuss, and explore concepts presented in class in ways not possible in large lecture halls. During discussion sections, we will expand on and review the material presented in lecture with demonstrations, group discussions, and group activities. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the present (and past) homework.
Attendance: Attendance is a crucial part to succeeding in any class. While attendance will not be taken in discussion section, I encourage everyone to attend discussion section every week. Astronomy 100, like other introductory courses, covers a large amount of material in a relatively short time. Most of the material introduced in astronomy 100 will probably not be familiar to you. Attending discussion section will go a long way towards mastering this material.
If you must be absent from discussion section, please ask someone else in the class what you have missed. If you can't attend the discussion section you registered for because of scheduling conflicts and are planning on attending another discussion section, please let me know.
Participation: I will be doing various individual, small group, and large group activities in discussion section. The active participation of every student is both valued and necessary. If you have a specific topic you would like discussed, please email me ahead of time and I will try to accommodate you. Students are encouraged to look at the homework before their discussion section and come with questions related to the homework.
Website: The class website is a resource for students in the class. It contains the syllabus, homeworks, links to articles of interest, study resources, and frequently asked questions. If you have a question, check the webpage first; it may already be answered for you. Suggestions for website content are welcome.
Contacting me: The best way to contact me with questions about course procedures, appointments, etc. is through email. I will try to answer your emails within 1 business day. If I do not respond in 2 business days, please resend the email. Email is not a good way for me to answer questions about course content or homework. (It is very difficult to draw pictures and write formulas with just text.) If you have a question about any of the class content or homework assignments (other than quick questions about due dates, typos, etc.), please come visit me during my office hours. If you are unable to make it to one of my office hours, please email me and we can arrange another time to meet.
Discussion sections are for your benefit, so if you have any suggestions for making them even more useful to you, let me know.