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The course was pretty easy. If you don't fall asleep during the lecture, then it's pretty much a guaranteed A. The concepts are basic physics (force, acceleration, velocity) and the stuff about astronomy is really easy to understand. The midterm and finals consist of short answer and true/false. If you're looking for an easy GE, definitely take this class. The homework counts as 30% of the grade which is just an excellent grade booster (hint: if you don't get the homework or want to make sure you get 100% on it, go to her office hours. She basically does the homework for it). The book isn't necessary though, she puts all her PowerPoint lectures online.
Shapley made this class great. She is passionate about the subject and very concerned about the students. She is extremely helpful during office hours and explains all of the concepts very clearly. The lectures are a little long but it isn't too hard to stay awake, the homework is ridiculously easy, and the midterm/final are simple if you follow the study guides. This is a great class to take if you are looking for an easy GE or if you just think black holes are awesome.
Though she knows the material extremely well and goes into extensive lectures that are extremely fascinating, she speaks in a monotonous voice, is not exciting, rushes through material expecting students to know it right as they see it, and doesn't make her tests easy at all.
Professor Shapley is super nice and her responses to email questions are very helpful/thorough.
Her lectures present the material very clearly. I got an A in the class, but I read every page in the textbook...so I'm not sure how well you'll do if you don't read lol. Definitely go to her review sessions for the exams because there are some questions on the exams that she'll mention during the reviews. You'll end up saving yourself from missing two or three questions. You don't really have to do all that well on the exams...as long as you're about 10-ish% above the average lol. I only got B's on the second midterm and the final.
The labs are pretty easy, but fast paced. Usually the TAs are nice, so I recommend just asking them if your answers are right for any of the answers you're unsure of. As long as you show that you put some thought into your answer, they'll explain the right answer to you if you're wrong.
Overall, an interesting class and a good GE with a nice professor.
Oh man, I have so many great things to say about Dr. Shapley. She is so kind, helpful, and intelligent. She actually went to Cal Tech for her Ph.D. in astrophysics and has made some contributions to the field of astronomy, so it's pretty cool to have the opportunity to take a class with her. Her class is set up in a way where if you do the study guides she provides for each exam (and final) and understand the material on it, you can't get anything lower than a B. If you do that and study her lecture slides, which are accessible online via CCLE, it's hard not to get an A! I will definitely be taking a class with her again if possible.
An overall ok GE class. The professor is approachable but monotonous. All the lecture powerpoints are available online, which made it easy to slack off during lecture; I ended up referring to the textbook a lot for clarification.
20% Lab assignments: the labs were pretty long and tedious; my TA was nitpicky and I rarely got perfect scores. But the TAs usually give you hints/clarifications, so ask a lot of questions during the lab.
10% Homework assignments: easy online quizzes, open book and you get two tries.
20% First midterm exam, 20% Second midterm exam, 30% Cumulative final exam: All multiple choice, so a lot of questions are facts that you either know or don't; study specific numbers/stats and calculation questions because they make up most of the exam. The study guides were pretty helpful and she went over most of the questions during her review sessions.
There's also a ~2% extra credit where you go to Griffith Observatory. The final grade was curved but not by much because most of the class did do pretty well.
Ok so first of all Mrs. Shapley is a really nice lady. She answers emails super quickly and is always friendly. That being said, the class is not as easy as people make it out to be. I pretty much read the entire book and only managed an A-. The first midterm is pretty easy, but the second midterm and the final were definitely not. The first four labs were easy, but the last four labs were graded very harshly. Weekly quizzes were easy and you get two tries. The lectures were probably the worst part of the class; they were super boring and its very hard to follow lectures even though there are slides. A lot of people ditched class as a result. There is a curve, and she specifically said that the curve will only help people. Even though there is a curve, I don't think that it is that significant. Hope this review helps.
Weekly quizzes (10%)
Midterm 1 (20%) - average 80%
Midterm 2 (20%) - average 75%
Final (30%) - average 70%
Astro 3 is a great science GE to take. While there are probably easier ones out there, this class is definitely manageable, engaging and interesting. Professor Shapley is actually extremely accomplished- she's made an impact on the science community- and she is very kind, approachable, and helpful. She definitely wants the students who put in effort to get a good grade. She provides study guides for both midterms and the final, and if you study these you should be good (I got an 85 on both midterms and an 86 on the final).
Only real complaint I have is the 2 hour lab- they were relatively easy, but extremely tedious, and some of the TAs were not helpful at all and would grade the labs hard.
Definitely do the extra credit- Griffith Observatory is awesome, and it's easy to spend an afternoon there, and it's a 1.5% grade boost. Overall, definitely a class worth taking.
Professor Shapley was a fine professor, Astro 3 is a good class to take if you want to your GE reqs done. When I picked this class I thought It would be a breeze, since I already knew stuff about astronomy. However the course demands you to know more than just the basic stuff you probably know about astronomy. The class is basically Shapley doing her lectures which are posted online. While she tries her best to make them engaging they are usually boring and you will probably look at your phone checking to see how much time is left. That is why by the time week 2 or 3 come along many people in the class no longer show up to lecture. The class is broken up grade wise like this:
Homework Quizzes: 10%
Midterms(2) 20% each
Cumulative Final exam: 30%
The homework quizzes are easy and if you paid attention to lecture or are competent in using google you should ace all of them especially given that you have two tries. Labs are probably the worst thing about this class probably because of the length (2 hours) and the TA I had. My TA was the head TA, Mathew Yu and while he was nice, he proved to be harsh and sometimes a unfair grader. He will quickly rush over topics that sometimes may have been briefly mentioned or not talked about in lecture. While he would explain questions and lead you to the right answer, and would check answers on your lab he would still give me and others lower than expected grades. I remember that I got a answer ran by him and told him word for word and he told me and my lab partners it was good. When i got my lab back two weeks later he did not give me credit on that question which was worth several points. I was outraged because how can you deduct points when say it’s correct. This was not an isolated case because I noticed other questions that were told were correct were marked down throughout my labs. Overall in total I ended up with 83% in my labs but I believe it would be higher had my TA had be fairer. The midterms were easy as I got A’s in both exams. The review session she offers are good, and I strongly suggest you attend them, as it would save you from getting 1-2 questions wrong. The final was a little tougher than expected because it was filled with a lot of calculation questions unlike the midterms and was after the week that saw the scurball Fire cancel my last class of the course. Shapley is nice that she offers, a 1.5% extra credit bonus if you go to Griffith Observatory and write a short report on it. at the end there is a curve which will only help you, and I thank it for boosting my grade.
Overall Shapley is good profesor and Astro 3 is good class to take for a science GE. I felt that I had expanded my knowledge of astronomy, espically the newer developments. Just note to be in top of things, and don’t think the tests will be a joke. Beware of the labs and in my opinion avoid the head TA. If you work hard enough and do the extra credit you should be able to get a A- or better.