Introduction to Astronomy – PHSC 121

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/12/2020

Course Description

An overview of the principles of astronomy as related to the Solar System for non-science majors. An optional weekly lab will be offered coincident with this course.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This course provides an introduction to the science of astronomy and the vastness of creation beyond our planet’s atmosphere. The course will include discussion of the planets and their environments, including the crucial issues which make human life impossible on each. Some emphasis will be placed on the special environmental conditions and balances extant on Earth which make it unique in its support of human life. PHSC 121 is an approved general education science course for non-technical (science, math, and engineering) majors.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize and apply fundamental concepts of astronomy.
  2. Describe the basic mechanics and make-up of the Solar System and its constituents.
  3. Recognize order in nature and consistency and operation of natural laws related to astronomy.
  4. Identify how a basic understanding of astronomy relates to everyday life.
  5. Identify the relationship between general and special revelation as it relates to creation.

General Education Foundational Skill Learning Outcomes

Social and Scientific Inquiry: The ability to employ established methods of exploring the social and natural sciences in order to understand the human experience of various social structures and the natural world.

SSI 1: Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of science on the world in which we live.

SSI 2: Demonstrate a biblical understanding of humankind’s role in scientific inquiry and discovery.

SSI 3: Apply solutions for a social and/or scientific question experienced in nature or society.

Course Assignment

Textbook and website resource readings, DVD, and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student
will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 250 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 1 classmate’s thread. Each reply must be at least 125 words (MLO: A, B, C, D, E; FSLO: SSI 1, 2, 3).

Short-Response Questions (5)

For each Short-Response Question, the student will submit a written response to the provided prompt. Each response must be 125–200 words. Each response requires careful thought and planning in order to provide an adequate answer without any extraneous details (MLO: A, B, C, D, E; FSLO: SSI 1, 2, 3).

Homework (16)

The student will complete various online exercises in Cengage’s MindTap. These homework assignments will reinforce the content of the course textbook readings. The student will have up to 2 attempts on each question in order to earn points toward the total (MLO: A, B, C; FSLO: SSI 1, 3)

Quizzes (8)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned module/week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, and contain 30 multiple-choice and true/false questions. There is a penalty of one point per minute for exceeding the 1-hour time limit. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E; FSLO: SSI 1, 2, 3).