If you are seeing a lot of annoying markings on this web page (empty boxes, or black diamonds containing question marks), please go to the “view” menu of your browser, select “character/text encoding,” and then chose “Western (Windows)” and this page miraculously will look nice and neat. If you do not have “Western (Windows)” as an option, any other “Western” setting will be much better than the default “Unicode” (although I recommend switching back to “Unicode” after leaving this page-- since leaving it at a “Western” setting supposedly weakens the security of your browser).
If you ever tried to send me messages to firstname.lastname@example.org, I am unlikely to have read them. That address tends to fill with spam, and it freezes up when it gets overfull. If you have any questions about this course, please e-mail me at email@example.com instead. Although, I do sometimes find important messages from my students in my spam folder for that address too, so it’s not perfect either. #sigh# Lately, I have been attempting to use a new account ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) exclusively for communicating with students, but I admit that I only check that one every few days (and even less often over the summer).
I do not require students to check in when they register, so please don’t send me e-mail unless you have a question that needs answering.
The textbook for the course will be the 8th edition of “The Essential Cosmic Perspective” (not the full length version that lacks the word “essential” in the title, and not any of the editions of the same name), by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit. It is expected to available in a cheaper loose leaf binder version as well as regular paperback, and it is cheapest and most efficient to purchase an electronic copy. (If the 8th edition is not released on time for the start of the semester, then I will revert to using the older 6th edition instead. I will not use the current 7th edition.)
I will hold optional but highly recommended orientations in Rosenberg Library Room 414 at these times:
Wednesday, January 18th, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, and
Saturday, January 21st, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM
(you may choose either one of these times to attend)
Simply joining the class without any orientation is okay, but a majority of students do experience problems or suffer confusion (especially regarding the course structure and expectations) that an in-person orientation would reduce. Indeed, every semester has at least a couple of students who, as a consequence of skipping the orientation, miss some very significant part or aspect of the class. These students usually drop when finally, months later, they realize their mistake. Most of what I say at the orientation will be repeated in online text-based announcements, but it’s much more effective to hear it from me personally.
As soon as the new semester starts, you may begin the course on your own, regardless of whether you plan to attend one of the optional orientations. You will be emailed instructions how to login to CCSF’s new Canvas system. If you have not received these instructions by Tuesday, January 17th, you most likely are not checking the account that CCSF has on file as your email address. Unless you have set it up otherwise, the default is the “mail.ccsf.edu” address assigned to you by the college, so please be sure to check that for messages. I also often will use your CCSF email address for sending important announcements to the class, and for communicating with individual students.
If you are waitlisted:
If the class already has started and you want to add it late: Until 2014, this class always started off absolutely full and with a very long official wait list. But since CCSF continues to suffer from lower enrollment, plenty of openings are sure to appear during the add/drop period. Please wait until after January 18th to email me at one of my preferred email addresses (see above), and I can let you know your prospects. Given how many no-shows and drops normally occur right off the bat, I will be surprised if I cannot find room for everyone who is willing to wait patiently for space to open. My only concern-- and, after two weeks, this becomes a very big concern-- is that you’d be getting a late start to fast-paced course.
I look forward to meeting everyone-- either on line or in person-- as this course takes off!
Claia (rhymes with "hi ya!") Bryja (pronouncing the “y” like a long-I the same as the “ai” diphthong in my first name, and pronouncing the "j" in the usual English way)
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Here is a link to a great resource of other links to anything and everything you can think of about astronomy. I encourage you to browse.
AstroPlace (unfortunately, this seems to be defunct, so I will need to replace this link with something comparable sometime soon)
Finally, here’s my favorite webpage of all: