Astro 28 - Policies and Grading

The detailed schedule of where we'll be at what time clearly depends on the individual Astro 28 course. However, these general rules and how grades are assigned applies to all Astro 28 classes...

* Refunds: While it is possible to get a refund for your camping fee if you drop the class before it begins and you let me know, it is a big hassle, requiring purchase orders, cutting checks and having the college send out those checks. All this takes time, and it also costs Cabrillo about $40 to cut a check and send it out, I'm told. Also, I have to pay for all camping expenses - food, camping reservations, etc - out of my own pocket, and often have to reserve camping spaces ahead of time, only later to be reimbursed by the college from the camping fees you pay, using receipts I submit. If it is too late to try and find another student to replace you (for example, the beginning of the week of the trip), it is difficult to replace you. Please make sure you really want to take the class before paying your fees and getting signed up. Those who drop the class before the pre-trip session will be mailed a refund of their camping fee.

You're also responsible for dropping the class if that's your choice. Remember that there is a deadline for a "W" which well before the actual end of class, and with a class this compressed, you can expect to get a "NP" (no pass) if you forget to drop the class. Instructors do not have the option or ability to give a "W" after the college-imposed deadline, which is 70% of the way through the class.

* Transportation: You are expected to get yourself to class. The college does not have 28-person vans or school buses. Your camping fee is only about $15 - so you're getting an amazing deal (3 meals and 2 nights of camping), and remember you'd pay ~$200-$400 for a similar commercial outing. Just as the college is not responsible for transporting you from home to Cabrillo campus, the college is not responsible for getting you to off-campus course locations. I do provide time and a forum for you to get together with fellow students so you can arrange carpools during the pre-trip meeting. I may not be able to scramble at the last minute to try and get you a ride if your carpool arrangement does not pan out. That's between you and your carpool mates. I can send you a list of the contact info for other students if necessary but after that, it's up to you to get yourself to the "outdoor classroom".

* Physical Condition: You're expected to be in reasonable physical condition. While we camp at drive-in campgrounds in all cases, we do some hiking during the day to explore planetary science / geology sites. This includes trail walking and sometimes off-trail walking as well. A few miles is typical, and a few hundred feet of elevation change or less. What one would call a mild hike. Weather is unpredictable but one thing is sure - the trip will "go" regardless of the weather! Be prepared for hot sun, cold rain, and everything in between. If its possible, we may re-route the trip to a new location if some unique weather or other situation requires it. If you have a disability, be sure to talk to me before you sign up so I can advise you on what accomodations are possible and what are not. While Cabrillo sticks to the American's with Disabilities laws, that can mean in some cases that you do alternative work if you are physically unable to accompany us on hikes. Alas - it does not mean that you get an army of personal porters.

* Children: Only registered students can be on Cabrillo College field trips. we don't cater family camping adventures, but courses. Please leave your children at home.

* Drugs: No alchohol or drugs are permitted on Cabrillo field classes. While most can drink responsibly, I'm not going to try and make such judgments and possibly get into trouble. Don't even ask about "responsible recreational drug use" (!) . You're here to focus and enjoyably engage your minds - not drug them into a smokey haze. Anyone caught with drugs (pot, etc.) is subject to getting an immediate "F" course grade - so just don't do it!

* Realism: You're expected to be a self-responsible student - meaning, you realize that I can't be everywhere at once motivating you to participate, and that the relaxed atmosphere does not mean that I will be catering a soup-to-nuts vacation experience for you. Remain flexible, if you're not with me, keep one eye in my direction to be aware of any changes of plans due to the unforseen. We'll be out in the wilds and the schedules I hand out are guidelines, not carved in stone with atomic clocks.

You will be camping. No motel rooms! I provide group meals for those who want them- Saturday breakfast and dinner, and Sunday breakfast. This is part of your camping fee. Bring your own lunches and snacks and whatever is required for you to be able to be comfortable in any weather. I have a camper's checklist to help you.


Course Grading

75% of your grade will be based on the take-home final exam. You'll have a week to complete it. You may use the suggested text, other library books, and the internet to help you find answers. You MUST write all answers in your own words. I dock points from both students when I see they have virtually identical essays. I also check for plagarism - copying from the internet or from the notes I hand out during the course. I want to see that you have found, read, digested, and put into your own words the answers to the questions I give.

25% of your grade will be based on your active participation in all sessions. This includes the pre-trip meeting in 705 and the planetarium, and lectures, hikes which include lectures, and the telescope sessions and any work which I ask of you during these sessions. Being late to sessions does not earn full credit. Be on time. Ask thoughtful questions, demonstrate curiosity. Stay up at the telescopes until we close up. I have to confess, I'm increasingly impatient with certain students who think just showing up for a weekend of camping and a mediocre effort on the exam entitles them to an "A". This is not the case. Few students earn "A" grades. "A" means "outstanding", not "Adequate". "A" means demonstrated competence at mastering all the material at a college level. This is a 1-unit course. Normally, a student earns 1-unit in a lab course which meets 3hrs per week for an entire semester. Imagine the work that such lab students do, and translate that into the work you must do in this class to earn a good grade. I've had students who turn in uninspired work and are then outraged they did not receive an "A". It's so unnecessary. If you aren't prepared to pay attention, master my lectures, do independent work on the exam, and do thorough research in preparing, you are welcome to put on your exam "please give me a Pass/No Pass". You must make that decision when you prepare your exam. You can't tell me "Give me either an A or give me a P/NP". That cheapens the meaning of a grade. Here's the grading scale.

A: 85% and above
B: 75-85%
C: 65-75% and Pass = 65% and above
D: 52-65%
F: less than 52%

Students with Learning Disabilities Students with learning disabilities needing accommodations should contact the instructor ASAP. As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodations are provided to insure equal opportunity for students with verified disabilities. If you need assistance with an accommodation, please contact Disabled Student services, Room 810, 479-6379, or Learning Skills Program Room 1073, 479-6220.

Student Learner Outcomes for Astro 28K:
1. Apply scientific method to identifying and classifying the structural components of a comet.
2. Deduce the general planetary processes at work in the California mountains by direct observation, and compare to those on the other planets.
3. Classify the structural components of the Milky Way Galaxy as visible in the Fall sky by direct observation and relate to our location within the Galaxy