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ASTRON-101 - Stellar & Galactic Evolution - Dr. Peregrine McGehee

Course:Stellar & Galactic Evolution
Professor:Dr. Peregrine McGehee
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Photograph of the Milky Way

Welcome to Astronomy 101 - Stellar & Galactic Evolution!

My name is Dr. Peregrine McGehee, and I will be your instructor in this semester’s exploration of the universe. For historical reasons my last name is pronounced “McGee”, and if you want to be formal you can address me as “Dr. McGehee”, or even “Dr. Peregrine” (it’s like the falcon). 

We may not have planned for an online science class, and may prefer being together in a classroom, and I imagine that you may have some anxiety, concerns, and uncertainty about taking a science class online. 

To try to help you all feel more comfortable and prepared for class, and so you hopefully know exactly what to expect, I wanted to get in touch with you early, to explain our plan for the fall. Our canvas shell will be open about 1 week prior to the start of the semester, and your course canvas shell will have many resources available to you and information detailing expectations and our plan for the semester. Astronomy is a beautiful science that is both challenging and fun, and I will be here for you, at every step, to help you succeed.

While I am often on-line, there is no guarantee of an immediate response although I will generally get back to you within a day – except for holidays. So, please plan your work time accordingly and be aware of assignment deadlines! We will use the free OER Astronomy text available online as a starting point which will be supplemented by detailed lecture notes. This class will use a variety of techniques to help you understand the nature of the universe ranging from the Earth we live on to the farthest reaches of space and time.

I will provide readings and videos for you, and expect that there will be discussions and collaborations between students. There will be ample homework assignments and several projects for you to develop your understanding of the subject matter. Homework assignments will always be due at the start of class. If you know in advance that you can not make a class, please e-mail me a copy of your homework before the start of that class. 

For you to succeed in this class you must log in to Canvas daily during the week (M-F), and manage your time accordingly. I recommend that you review each week’s assignments as soon as they are posted so that you have an idea of how much time they may take. There is no need to be surprised close to a deadline. Participation in class discussions will be noted and will form a part of your grade. If you take the time to study and contribute, I think you will find this an engaging journey. There are many fascinating realms to discover!


Course Description

Astronomy 101 is a 3.0 unit CSU, UC transferable course! This is a one semester course that introduces you to the stars and This course will be useful to you if you are on track to earn an Elementary Education Transfer Degree and it fulfills a general education requirement for natural science. We will discuss and practice lecture content together, and projects will provide you with first hand observational evidence for concepts we will explore.

Student Learning Outcomes and Goals:

In this class the main learning outcome is understanding how to create a model of stellar and/or galactic evolution.

The goals for this class are to: 

  • Surveys stellar and galactic astronomy including the properties of atoms, light, stars, galaxies, and the formation and evolution of the universe. 
  • Gain insight into the scientists, equipment, and techniques that make our understanding of the universe possible. 
  • Identify objects within our universe and in the night sky. 
  • Practice the scientific method
  • Understand news stories about astronomy and be able to explain them to others 

What to Expect in this Course

Are we going to have scheduled lectures?

Since we are handling the entire course in Distance Education mode (for everyone’s safety), I will host a live class via Zoom during the regularly scheduled class periods, during which we will review and discuss the course presentations [as Google Slides].

How will we use Zoom?

Thankfully for us, Zoom is completely integrated within Canvas and so you will access our class meetings through your Canvas course shell. There is a link on the left-hand side of your screen, in canvas, that says ConferZOOM and you will access our live meetings through that link. There will be a much more detailed explanation of this for you in our Intro Module in Canvas, closer to the start of our Fall 2021 class.

How will the course be organized?

The course will be organized into modules in Canvas.  Each module will include Google Slides based presentation of content, reading in the OER Textbook, a homework assignment, a discussion board topic, and may include other resources to help you master the content.

Tests, Projects, and Extra Credit will be added to the canvas calendar as we approach due dates for these tasks, they will not be included in the modules.

How will we submit our assignments?

All assignments will be submitted in canvas.You may submit text files, word documents, pdf files, or JPEG images. For some assignments, it may be easiest to submit documents to me using a free app on your phone, AdobeScan or CamScan or any other app you may already have (iPhone has their own). Make sure you follow the directions for free versions! 

Do I need any special materials because we are online?

  • You will need regular access to a reliable computer with stable, high-speed internet connection
  • Access and familiarity with Canvas (for technical support using Canvas, visit the Canvas Tech Support page for students
  • Access to your canyons student email address (check frequently!)
  • You will need the following software on your computer:  Internet browser (Chrome works best with Canvas), and Microsoft Word  (you can download the Microsoft Office Suite for FREE as part of your my.canyons email account)

Types of Assessments

Your grade will be comprised of several different elements.

  • 3 of 4 Tests, each of which will cover different content:  35% of the grade in total
  • The Final Exam: 11% of grade
  • Homework: 25% of grade
  • Discussion Boards:  18% of grade
  • Astronomy Research Paper:  11% of grade

Textbook Information

The text book is free online.

Other Relevant Course Information

What do I need to do to be successful in this class?

You are going to be personally responsible for keeping up with the work load, which may feel very different than your traditional Fall/Spring semester experiences. It is extremely important that you keep up with all of your work, and attend all class meetings.

  • Come to class!  Participate and collaborate with others during our live Zoom class so that you may learn from each other
  • Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to be wrong about something
  • Plan time each day to complete work and study for this class
  • Pay attention to Announcements in canvas, that is how I will communicate important information to everyone in the class 

What should I do next?

As soon as I open our canvas shell, I will send an email to you.  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 with the goal of simply exploring what is there.

At any point please email me with any questions you have at I look forward to meeting you all 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: 06/01/2021 Sub#: 137