Cosmology for Undergraduate Majors in Physics
At the moment (winter quarter 2017) I am teaching PHY 156 Introduction to Cosmology. I am developing a free online textbook for the course that anyone can access here. It's called "A Cosmology Workbook" with its pedagogical structure modeled after Thomas Moore's "A General Relativity Workbook" that I enjoyed using last year in PHY 155 General Relativity. Exercises are integrated into the text, that students are to do while reading the chapter. I require them to have attempted all exercises before the class in which we discuss that content. In class they present their solutions. They are actively engaged in learning and I get to see where they need help. After class they get more practice by doing the homework problems at the end of the day's chapter.
The textbook is a work in progress. I will be attempting to stay ahead of the students as the quarter moves along.
In our first class I let them know of some of the goals I have for them:
1) You will feel a sense of wonder about certain aspects of the cosmos (and of physics)
2) You will alter your conception of space and time
3) You will be able to articulate what the big bang is and the empirical basis for it
4) You will be strengthened broadly as a physicist
5) You will improve your employment prospects and eventual level of career satisfaction
I emphasized that these were goals and not all of them were guaranteed outcomes, that (2) would be done without the use of any drugs, and that (5) was reasonable based on the many interactions I have had with our alumni and what they point to as valuable about their educations.