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Introduction to Astronomy

Ronen Plesser Duke University @Coursera
Class Start: TBA
Duration: 15 weeks
Approximate Workload: 6-8 hours/week
Certificate: Yes
Level: intermediate
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An introduction to astronomy through a broad survey of what we know about the universe and how we know it.

Reviews
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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2014-03-07
I just finished this so-called class (got a grade of 100% of homework assignments) and now I regret I spent so much time on this kind of "teachings". For professional this teacher made awful lot of factual mistakes. There was course correction section, where some of it was revealed - every week he did dozens of serious factual mistakes (that's not even mentioning how much logical mistakes he did). The main problem of this class is lack of logic: most of the time you will struggle trying to understand what he means, how it relates to the subject, why the hell is it... It is amusing how there's forum thread where they now say how great this course was and how much they understood from it, while writing every week on forums, that they can't understand sh*t and can't do homework questions after they viewed his video lectures :-) I guess they "understand" everything now from this course! :-D That's hypocrisy in action. You will "learn" classical mechanics only in 1 week (week # 2 of this course), you will "learn" modern physics only in 1 week (week # 3 of this course), you will "learn" relativity only in 1 week (week # 8 of this course)... You get an idea. I even remember there was some guy on the forum, who after "learning" some "classical and modern physics" from this course wrote, that there's only 100 grams in 1 kilogram :-) That's ludicrous indeed. Most of them wouldn't be able to do even freshman physics. Was hoping to learn so many new exciting things, but totally disappointed now.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2012-12-18
Sorry cannot like this class. The lectures are good to watch, and the Professor is enthusiastic about his subject, but the homeworks have little in common with the videos you've just watched. I was spending 20 hours on the homework alone. The homework is unproductive time and you really learn little from it. At week 4/5 I decided to walk away, because I'd frankly had enough. I have strong College Physics, College Maths, Alegbra etc... I even have Intro Astronomy and Stars & Galaxies (6 credits), and hold a Bachelors degree - science major. However the homework questions are set to trip you up. This is not a good learning experience. If you dare to comment on the course, you will be shouted down by others and told that astronomy is now physics and that somehow looking at stars and planets is just playing with toys. Well that's ludicrous, and shows the inexperience of some of the other students. Week two was the worst, when he rattled through first year Physics in about 2 hours. That approach doesn't work. It would be a revision but nothing more. Rather than just test you on Newton and Kepler the homework questions were very advanced, and set to trick you. Well no thanks. This course had so much promise, but didn't deliver.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2014-05-09
Great class! Started out by describing the principles of navigation/locating astronomical features, then went into describing the solar system. Before long, we were deep into astronomical physics and my concept of matter and the universe had changed.
This class is very math-centered, but requires no more than basic algebra. Expect to be 'drinking from a firehose', and expect to have your notions of space, time, and matter irreversibly altered!

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2014-01-28
Disappointed by the same reasons as 3 previous reviewers here. Wouldn't recommend this class or this teacher, especially to someone new in astronomy or physics.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2014-01-16
Dissapointed, bought software on recommendation of course, then never required to use it, course suggestion is 8-12 hours a week, takes an average

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2014-01-13
awesome knowledge, interesting video lectures and hard/challenging homework

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2013-12-23
I have a poor experience with this course. The instructor was difficult to listen and understand. The instructor did not seem to be aware of his speech pattern which made the course difficult to learn. I have to agree with previous reviewer, the homework has nothing to do with lectures and seems to be there to discourage students. The worst part is, I feel I could complete this course with little trouble, except I was not given the tools to complete the work. I have a science degree and I am very interested in the subject. I am very disappointed in this course.

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Anonymous (Singapore, Singapore) , 2013-02-12
This class was very challenging and not for everyone, but the professor was one of the most enthusiastic lecturers that I ever experienced (live or online). I went to Duke as an undergraduate many years ago, and I felt that the quality of the Coursera class was comparable to those that I took while in college. The professor's online interaction, ample help from the TA and other students, and a flexible quiz structure helped me to succeed in this class. If you are interested in astrophysics you will learn a lot from this course.

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