This class was tough.
This course was way too difficult for a non-science major course. The slides contained too much material, often things that we weren't going to be tested on. The study guides for the tests also contained excessive amounts of information. The homework was based very loosely off of the slides and it was hard to figure out the answers for it, yet it counted as a significant part of our grade. Finally, the tests contained a lot of information that was not on the study guides. I went to Professor Chevalier's office hours several times seeking help with both my homework and tests. While he did explain the correct answers to me, he failed to point out the information that was most important and that would help me to do well in the class. Overall, I would not recommend this class to anyone. Even if you like astronomy, the teacher makes it very boring.
Despite the poor curriculum of this course , I did learn a few things over the course of the semester. The topics the course focused on greatly were solar proton events, supernovae, black holes, and gamma ray bursts. I learned about the origin of these astronomical events, what happens during them, and, most importantly, how much of a threat they are to earth. Nevertheless, the topic I found the most interesting was discussed towards the end of the course: aliens. The professor lectured about events and structures that extraterrestrials were supposedly responsible for, such as crop circles and the Egyptian pyramids. He also discussed alien hoaxes and the probability of alien existence. While I am not sure whether Professor Chevalier believes in aliens or not, I liked learning about the different sides of the alien argument.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
If you do decide to take this course, please pay attention during every class. If he states something that is not in the slides, write it down; it may help you with your homework. You should also review your notes and slides after each class. Professor Chevalier provides a great amount of information and it can take a while to fully soak it up and comprehend it. When doing your homework, do not be careless; each question is worth a lot of points. Many of the answers you can find online, but you should still double check them with the slides and/or your textbook (which I did not find very helpful and hardly ever used) and think about each answer before you submit the homework. Finally, start studying for each test as soon as you get the study guide. The tests are not something you can cram for in one night and still get an A. If you are having trouble understanding a concept, go to the professor's office hours. He will explain it to you and answer any questions you may have; however, do not expect him to narrow down the study guide for you or point out the most important information. You will have to study everything on the guide the best that you can!