Chat times for 2012/2013
Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy
FAQs — Frequently Asked Questions
You should have completed a junior high school level course in physical science that covers the concepts of matter, energy, gravity, basic chemical and nuclear reactions, and light, and if possible, the composition of the solar system (although you may have picked up enough from media coverage of space exploration and Hubble Telescope events). We cover all of these topics in detail, and students have an easier time if they have been exposed to the basic concepts before starting my course. [The Scholars Online Natural Science course is an adequate prerequisite for the Astronomy course.]
You should have completed a first year algebra course, know some geometry, and if possible, have taken or be taking trigonometry.
You should understand how to read a graph and a table of numerical data.
This is hard to answer without knowing how fast you read. For each chat meeting, you will need to prepare
You may also opt to take do labs, which will involve another 2-3 hours per week of your time, depending on what equipment you need to build or collect.
So each week, you should plan to spend 1.5 hours in class, 4-6 hours in preparation, and 1 hour in testing, or a total of 8 hours a week. A normal high school course requires a minimum of 4 hours of class time and 4 hours of homework. This course is somewhat less intense than a normal high school chemistry or physics course, so it requires somewhat less effort on your part.
My examinations tend to be very thorough, since I am interested in assessing what you have actually learned and understand. The tests are written as though you were a college student (because that is the level of the material we cover), and so are more challenging that a high school science test would be. Because of this, I tend to actually grade rather easily: passing for the course is 50% or better on each of the fall and spring semester finals.
I send verbal evaluations at the end of each semester that describe your performance on quizzes, homework, class participation, and the final examination. A short summary of this report is included in your formal transcript "comments" section.
Because some government agencies, accrediting institutions, and scholarship committees require more standardized grades, I also issue a numerical score for your work, which is normalized so that it fits the grading scale used by most high schools in evaluating passing, above average, and exceptional work at the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior levels. Unless required, I do not issue a letter grade; the numerical grade is more precise. Your transcript will include instructions on translating a numerical grade to a letter grade.
As there is no current SAT or AP examination in astronomy, the best way to establish your credentials (besides your formal numerical grade in this course) is to keep a detailed copy of your lab work and your semester reports for review, if required by a scholarship committee or the science faculty of a college.
Yes, I do write letters of recommendation for students on occasion. However, I cannot write such a letter on the basis of a few months' work. I require that you finish a complete year of instruction with me first, so that I have a basis for making an evaluation that reflects your true strengths and weaknesses. If this is your first Scholars Online class and your senior year, I will not be able to write your letter. Please see my policy on letters of recommendation for further information.
© 2012,2013 This course is offered through Scholars Online, a non-profit organization supporting classical Christian education through Internet-based courses. Permission to copy course content (lessons and labs) for personal study is granted to students currently or formerly enrolled in the course through Scholars Online. Reproduction for any other purpose, without the express written consent of the author, is prohibited.