Cosmology for Undergraduate Majors in Physics
About every other year I teach 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 a pedagogical structure modeled after Thomas Moore's "A General Relativity Workbook" that I enjoyed using in 2016 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.
Here are the goals I have for students who take this class:
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 emphasize that these goals and not guaranteed outcomes, that (2) can be done without the use of any drugs, and that (5) is reasonable based on the many interactions I have had with our alumni and what they point to as valuable about their educations.