Assignment #3: Peer Professors

Note to Professors: 

This Assignment uses Chapter #6: of the Open Stax Astronomy Textbook:

Rather than assigning the review questions, or thought questions (Exercises on Page 228-232) at the end of the chapter, students will prepare for a review by creating their own tutorial videos that address the review exercises, or reviewing the videos that their peers have created.

This assignment is special because the tutorials are a renewable resource that can be used to teach students in future semesters. A suitability for sharing criteria is added to the rubric so that assignments that meet a competent standard will be used as a teaching aide for students in future semesters.  Excellent tutorials will be shared in the OER commons to potentially teach students throughout the globe.

Peer Professor

For Chapter 6 Astronomical Instruments in your Open Stax Astronomy textbook, you will have the opportunity to wear the hat of a professor to teach your favorite topic to your peers.  There is no better way to learn something than to cultivate the ability to teach it to someone else.  However, this is more than a learning exercise for you, you also have the opportunity to benefit your classmates by explaining your topic in a clear and concise manner, and providing a more in depth study of a topic of interest than what is provided in the text.

This assignment is giving you an opportunity to contribute to the body of astronomy knowledge that exists.  Your tutorial video will be used in future Astronomy Courses to benefit other students who may also expand on the work that you are presenting.  Exemplary work will be added to the OER commons for Astronomy courses so the tutorial that you create could possibly benefit Astronomy students across the globe.  This assignment is to be completed individually!


Your video or audio tutorial is designed to teach a simple topic.  As such, your video or audio lecture should be six minutes or less in length.  The format needs to be something that can easily be shared with students.  It is highly recommended that you put up your audio or video file using YouTube or some type of cloud account (One Drive, Dropbox, or Google Drive).  You can then link to this file in the Blackboard Course site.

Grading Criteria

You are being appointed professor for a topic in this course :).  With so much at stake, we are sure that you want to do a great job, so we will outline some grading criteria below.

While the tutorials will be created by each of you as individual students, the purpose of the tutorials is to assist your peers in learning and deeper understanding of a topic.  Since your audience is your peers, they will assist in grading the tutorial assignment by assigning a grade according to how well your tutorial has helped them to learn the topic.

As you approach your topic, it is expected that you will go beyond the information that is presented in the text.  Your classmates are also reading the same astronomy text as you, so presenting the same material will not help them, or deepen their understanding.  You will need to broaden the information presented in your text to bring in outside research that you can cite to make the topic easier to understand, or more appealing to your peers, or provide an interesting perspective that the text did not consider.

Your grade on this assignment will be calculated by the average of grades given by two of your peers and my evaluation of the assignment as your instructor.  The three scores (two from your peers and one from your instructor) will be averaged together to determine your grade.  Below is the Rubric that will be used to grade the assignment.

Peer Professor Grading Rubric


Component (100 points total) Excellent – Full Credit Competent – Partial  Credit Incomplete
Effort (20 points) All requirements of the tutorial were met on schedule. The tutorial strongly reflects the effort and creativity of the student. Most of the requirements of the tutorial were met on schedule. The film reflects the medium effort of the student. Few of the requirements of the project were met on schedule. The tutorial reflects the minimal effort of the student.
Subject Knowledge (30 points) The tutorial demonstrated knowledge of the course content (astronomy). The tutorial also demonstrated evidence of extensive research effort and a depth of thinking about the topic. The tutorial demonstrated incomplete knowledge of the course content (astronomy). The tutorial also demonstrated evidence of a limited research effort and/or depth of thinking about the topic. The tutorial did not demonstrate knowledge of the course content (astronomy), evidence of the research effort, or depth of thinking about the topic.
Supporting Material (20 points) All relevant information was obtained, script was provided and information sources were valid. Sufficient information was obtained, script was provided and information sources were mostly valid. Insufficient information was obtained and/or sources lack validity.
Content and Creativity (20 points) The tutorial was well organized and clear.

Words, images and/or figures enhanced and clarified presentation of ideas. Tutorial was imaginative and effective in conveying ideas to the audience.

The tutorial was mostly well organized and clear. Words, images, and/or figures were chosen reasonably well. Tutorial was effective in conveying ideas but unimaginative. The tutorial lacked overall organization. It was difficult to understand the flow of ideas. Words, images, and/or figures not well chosen. The tutorial failed to capture the interest of the audience.
Suitability for Sharing (10 points) with others outside of the classroom The tutorial successfully meets or exceeds all components and is unique enough to share with astronomy students throughout the world in the OER commons The tutorial successfully meets all components and although it is not unique it is suitable to be used as a teaching tool with students in future semesters. This tutorial does not meet all components and therefore is not suitable to be used as a teaching tool with students for future semesters.


What are the possible topics for my tutorial video?


  • What is a Charged-Coupled Device (CCD) and how is it used in astronomy?
  • Compare the eye photographic film, and CCDs as detectors for light. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  • Why is it difficult to observe at infrared wavelengths? What do astronomers do to address this difficulty?
  • Radio and radar observations are often made with the same antenna, but otherwise they are very different techniques. Compare and contrast radio and radar astronomy in terms of the equipment needed, the methods used, and the kind of results obtained.
  • What was the problem with the Hubble Space Telescope and how was it solved?
  • Describe the techniques radio astronomers use to obtain a resolution comparable to what astronomers working with visible light can achieve.
  • What kind of visible-light and infrared telescopes on the ground are astronomers planning for the future? Why are they building them on the ground and not in space?
  • Describe one visible-light or infrared telescope that astronomers are planning to launch into space in the future

If none of these topics interest you, feel free to select another topic from your review questions or thought questions from pages 228-230.   Or, if you have another topic that you would like to explore related to Chapter 6, please contact me for discussion and approval. 

To ensure that everyone selects a different topic, you will need to sign up for your topic in advance.  First come, first served.

How do I cite my outside research?

You are required to do research outside of the Open Stax Text on the tutorial that you create.  You should cite your sources APA style and include them in a Word Document which is submitted to me in Blackboard in the Assignment drobox.

How can I create the tutorials?

Your tutorial can be an audio podcast, or a video project.  You can use whatever software that you need in order to create the project.  The tools you use can be as simple as audio capture on an iPhone, or as complex as Adobe Premiere.

The easiest way to create video tutorials is Adobe Spark Video:  This tool is available for you to use to create tutorials right within a web browser, or through any mobile device.

Other options include creating a PowerPoint, narrating that PowerPoint and saving the material out as a video.

If you’d like to create your tutorial as audio only, you might consider using soundcloud, and their free hosting option: 

If you have questions about any of these options, please contact me as soon as possible.

What are the deliverables?

You should submit your APA bibliography, the transcript that you used to create your audio or video tutorial and a link to the video or audio project that you create.  Since your work may be included in the OER Commons, please complete the Student Release of Course Materials for Public Availability form on the last two pages of this document, and return a signed copy of the form.


Please complete the student release form

Exemplary work should be shared so that others can benefit from the work that you are producing.

Not only will you create better work than if the potential audience is simply your professor or a few of your peers but you will also be contributing to the body of astronomy knowledge that exists in the field!

If your submitted work meets excellent or competent standards, according to the rubric, I will publish your work so that others may see your excellence!

So that I may share your assignment to the OER Commons, please complete the Student Release of Course Materials for Public Availability form on the last two pages of this document, and return a signed copy of the form.


Download Example Assignment Materials


Download the assignment 

If you like this assignment and want to use it with your classes, download an MS Word Copy of the Assignment here: Peer_Professors_Assignment_Sheet

View an example of the Completed Peer Professor Assignment 

Visit for an Example of an exemplary completed Peer Professor Assignment.

View a Graded Student Assignment Example

If you’d like to view a Graded Example of the student assignment above, download an MS Word Copy of the Assignment here: Example_Assignment Graded


If you would like students to publish their work on the OER commons, you should obtain a signed consent form from your students.  A sample consent form is provided here:

Student Release of Course Materials for Public Availability

Attribution_Student_Consent_Form.fwStudent Release of Course Materials for Public Availability by Open Oregon Educational Resources is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License and is adapted from Release Form for Student-Created Work with CC Licensing by Boyoung Chae for Open Washington, CC-BY 4.0.