Introduction to Astronomy – PHSC 121

CG • Section • 11/10/2019 to 04/18/2020 • Modified 12/12/2022

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.

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 (CLO: 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 (CLO: 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 (CLO: 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, contain 30 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 1-hour time limit (CLO: A, B, C, D, E; FSLO: SSI 1, 2, 3).