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ASTRON 100 - Astronomy Survey of Universe - Teresa Ciardi

Course:Astronomy Survey of Universe
Professor:Teresa Ciardi
  • Online
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Me (center) with students on either side

I look forward to getting to know you as we explore the universe together. You will be amazed at how easy some science concepts are to understand, and equally amazed at how complex science can be. Over the semester, you may go through a variety of emotions as you interact with the content, your peers, and me. Know that I am here for you, to help you with resources, to help you succeed. This course is a safe space, inclusive, respectful, and appreciative of all.

I value hard work; hard work can lead to greater success than inherent talent, so do the work and be persistent (do not give up) and I know you will be able to do well in my class. Having a growth mindset, knowing that everything you do will grow your skills and abilities, will take you far. You can do this!

As your instructor, I will do everything I can to give you all the support and resources you may need to be ok and to do well in my course.

Course Description

We will interpret astronomy images, investigate astronomy phenomena, and visualize our universe and all that it contains (we will look at images!). During the course, we will practice applying and communicating science to each other through discussions, learn how to use and interpret some equations, and grow our ability to explain the science we witness on Earth and in space. We will practice mastering the content together, helping each other, with me as your coach. Everything we do in this course will be done in a collaborative community setting that will grow everyone’s observation skills, analysis skills, and critical thinking skills.

Online courses will require that you regularly spend time practicing with the content in canvas. You will interact with your classmates and me through canvas and you will need to set aside time each week to "be in class" which means time that you will be reading and practicing with the content that is in canvas. Pretend that you have a regularly scheduled class time and stick to it. 

Fully in-person courses will provide time for us to practice with the content together in a classroom. We will meet each week in a classroom for lecture (to practice together). This time together will be spent explaining the content and working on the practice together, collaboratively with your classmates. 

What to Expect in this Course

Canvas provides you with opportunity to interact with me and other class members and to learn from each other, as we practice calculations and apply an objective description to what we observe in the sky. Let’s talk to each other!

In-person provides you with opportunity to interact with me and other class members face-to-face and to learn from each other, as we practice calculations and apply an objective description to what we observe in the sky. Let’s talk to each other!

Are we going to have scheduled lectures?

In-Person: We will practice with the power point content together during scheduled class times, and you will have opportunity to interact with your classmates and me during our scheduled class periods. We will be working together in a safe space environment where questions are encouraged and appreciated. It is expected that student teams will work together on in-class practice and teach each other.

Online: We will not see each other but we will interact regularly. You will practice with the power point content each week, and you will have opportunity to interact with your classmates and me. I encourage you to form homework teams, to work together and learn from each other as you complete assignments for the course.

How will we use Zoom?

Zoom may be used for some office hours. I have “Safe Space” certification and my spaces are safe spaces where all are welcome and valued. Please visit me and ask questions or share thoughts and ideas. I am here for you. 

How will the course be organized?

The course will be organized into modules in canvas. Each content page within a module will include a power point presentations of science concepts, a homework assignment, and associated lab investigations. Individual pages within a module may also contain visual resources to help you master the content and may include links to current science articles or videos to promote your curiosity. The last item in each module is a content check page which includes what to expect and review prior to completing the content check which will check your mastery of all content within the module.

There are 2 Projects that will be due at mid and end of term. These will be included in the canvas calendar and assignments but will not be included in the modules.

How will we submit our assignments?

All assignments will be submitted in canvas. You will have the option of typing your answers directly into a canvas text box or you may upload word documents or pdf files. For some assignments, it may be easiest to submit documents to me using a free app on your phone, like AdobeScan or CamScan or any other app you may already have (iPhone has their own) that can compile multiple images into a single document.

What do I need for the course?

There are no required materials like textbooks or lab manuals, that you need to buy for this course. Yay!

  • Computer:  You will need regular access to a reliable computer and internet connection.
  • COC Email:  You need to check your student email frequently for announcements from canvas.
  • Software: You will need an internet browser (Chrome works best with Canvas) and Microsoft word would be useful (you can download the Microsoft Office Suite for FREE with your COC student account).

Types of Assessments

Your grade will be comprised of several different types of assessments (assignments). Hard work and content mastery are valued equally. About half (55%) of your grade will be from completed work and about half (45%) of your grade will be from content checks. Lowest scores will be dropped.


Content Checks (45% of total grade)

A variety of questions will check that you have practiced and mastered the content.

Homework (20% of total grade)

Homework assignment grades are based mostly on completion, so try everything!

Discussion Boards/In-Class Activities (10% of total grade)

Online: Topics in the discussion boards provide an opportunity for you to interact with each other, teach each other, and confirm each other’s responses. If the course is fully in-person there will not be any discussion board posts. 

In-Person: Occasional in-class activities will take the place of Discussion Boards. In-class activities will provide an opportunity for hands-on learning. 

Current Event Research Project (10% of total grade)

I want you to find a relatively current astronomy event or mission that interests you and summarize it in your own words. Your goal will be to think about what the resource or news item has reported and re-state the information in your own words in a scientific presentation.

Solar Observations Project (15% of total grade)

I want you to notice how our skies change. Use a camera (like your phone camera) to document the apparent position of our Sun at sunset (or sunrise) relative to the horizon and maintain an observation log with multiple types of data including degrees of azimuth, weather, and visual appearance of the sunset or sunrise. You get to be a scientist and analyze your complete set of observations and accumulated data at end of the project.

Textbook Information

There are no required materials like textbooks or lab manuals, that you need to buy for this course. Yay!

Access to the internet is needed and a computer will work better than your phone. All course information and content is free and available in our canvas course; you will not need a separate textbook or lab manual.

In this class, we’ll be doing some cool calculations that require a scientific calculator. You may use a free online one if you do not own a one :-)

Optional Resource (free OER textbook): Astronomy OpenStax Textbook

Other Relevant Course Information

What do YOU succeed in this class?

  • Come to class (even if it is online – you need to be present)! Choose to participate, so you are informed and have opportunity to acquire skills and tools to do your best work
  • Collaborate with others in the class so that you may learn from each other, work on homework together, listen to each other, and teach each other
  • Ask me questions, don’t be afraid to be wrong about something, I am here for you (my class is a safe space, inclusive of all, and respectful conversation is wanted)
  • Practice your homework (don’t just do it to get it done but rather use it to practice with the concepts) and attempt everything even if you feel unsure, the point is to practice because that is how we learn
  • Plan! Make a schoolwork and study schedule for yourself that allows time to think about the concepts, try the assignments, and have time to ask me questions and work with others before the due date

What should I do next?

As soon as you have access to the course in canvas, find the course syllabus and write down any questions you may have so we may talk about them on the first day. Look through the canvas course and explore what is there.

I welcome you to email me with any questions you have. You may reach me through canvas (this is best) or at I look forward to meeting you very soon!

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 10/09/2023 Sub#: 256