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Introduction to ___ vs Survey of ____

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A couple of months ago, someone posted something about calling a class a Survey.  That's been stuck in the back of my mind and I'm not sure when it's supposed to be used.


Why I'm asking:


My son is lightly studying astronomy as his elective this year.  A usual astronomy class involves math.  Ours doesn't.   So, I'm not sure what to call it.


Here's what we do:


Great Courses:


Understanding the Universe--this covers all the topics of an astronomy course.  The professor also has a college textbook that correlates to the lectures.  We do NOT use the textbook.

My student answers the questions at the end of each lecture as output for this class.


Our Night Sky--this discusses the things you'll see in the night sky and encourages the listener to go outside and gaze.  No questions are answered at the end of the lecture.





The Stars by H.A. Rey

Death by Black Hole (compilation of lectures by de Grasse)

Rocket Boys (autobiography of a rocket scientist for fun)

A science fiction book at the end of the class. Probably Contact.  This is for fun.



Monthly meetings that include lectures at the local astronomy club--all adults, other than DS, in the club.



10 hands on activities that are educational but fun, like scale models of the solar system, sketches of the moon for a month, etc.

Field trip to the Air and Space Museum in May

Visit to a Planetarium


What we do NOT do:

Math.  No math. If any of the questions at the end of the Great Course involves math, I have him skip those.


No textbook



The purpose of this class is to simply get an overview of what's out there in the universe.  As an elective, it was meant to be a break in the day from harder subjects.  We already do a separate math (geometry) and science (biology) class, so I'm not worried about having this class count as those credits.  This is an elective.  


It takes about 4-5 hours per week to complete this class.




Do I call this class:



"Introduction to Astronomy"

"Survey of Astronomy"


What connotations do each of those titles suggest?

Edited by Garga_
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Do I call this class:



"Introduction to Astronomy"

"Survey of Astronomy"


What connotations do each of those titles suggest?

I would call it astronomy just like my local high schools. An introduction course in college is kind of like a foundation course for those who have no prior knowledge. A survey course tends to go very broad, like a teaser course to see if interest is there. Since college course naming conventions aren't standardized, introduction and survey may have different connotations at different places.
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I would simply call it "astronomy".

What you describe seems perfectly fine for a high school level astronomy course.

Don't overthink.


Our college's Intro to Astronomy course is a general ed course and has to be distinguished from higher level astro/astrophysics courses.
"Survey" means touching on a  variety of topics, without going into depth.

Still, I see no need for either title.

Edited by regentrude
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