Planets, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe



Before we begin our semester of study together, it is important that you review all the material on all these pages, as it will not only prepare you to be successful in this course, but will also help you prepare for the "Course Information" quiz at the end of the orientation. You must get a score of at least 90% on that quiz to gain access to the assignment dropboxes for this course...and the answers are all contained in this orientation!

Have you looked at our syllabus?

This course orientation will complement and expand on the information provided on our syllabus. Be sure to review that document, too...carefully! A link to the syllabus is located in the main menu.

What will we learn about in the Course Orientation?

  • the structure of ASTRO 801
  • what assignments are required in this course
  • an overview of Canvas, Penn State's course management system
  • technical requirements for ASTRO 801
  • how to succeed in this course
  • where to get course assistance if you need it

What is due for the Course Orientation?

You should complete the Course Orientation during the first week of class. (See the Calendar in Canvas for specific due dates.)

As you work your way through these online materials for the Course Orientation, you will encounter additional reading assignments and hands-on exercises and activities. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for the Course Orientation. For assignment details, refer to the orientation page noted.

(You may want to print this page to serve as a checklist as you go along.)

Orientation Activities
Activity Location Submitted for Grading?
Read through this course orientation and Syllabus Course Orientation and Syllabus No
Set up Required Notification Settings Course Communications and Required Notification Settings page No
Introduce yourself and meet the rest of the class! Canvas Yes - this activity will count toward your overall class discussion grade.
Complete the "Initial Course Survey" Canvas Yes - this survey contains questions about you and your expectations for this course. Participating in this survey will count toward your overall class discussion grade.
Take the Course Information Quiz Canvas Yes - the quiz is designed to test your knowledge of the course and the information covered in this lesson. You must get a score of 90% or better on this quiz to unlock the drop boxes for the course. You may retake the quiz as many times as you need


Please post questions you have about course content or structure in the General Questions and Discussion Board, the first and top link in our in Canvas Home website.  For questions that are of a more personal nature, please email me individually through Canvas email.

Keep reading!

On the following pages, you will find important information about the course structure, requirements, scheduling, and technical requirements and assistance...all of which you'll need to know in order to pass the course. Remember, you are also responsible for the information located on our course syllabus (see the Resources menu).