General Astronomy (PHYS*2600)

Code and section: PHYS*2600*DE

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Orbax


Course Details

Calendar Description

An introduction to astronomy, this course covers the solar system, the sun, stellar and galactic structure.

Credit Weight: 0.50

Pre-Requisite(s): IPS*1500 or (1 of PHYS*1010, PHYS*1070, PHYS*1080, PHYS*1130, PHYS*1300), (1 of MATH*1030, MATH*1080, MATH*1160, MATH*1200)

Co-Requisite(s): None

Restriction(s): None

Method of Delivery: Online 

Final Exam

Date: Saturday, December 11
Time: 7:00-9:00 pm

Note: Please read the important information about exam timing in the Assessment Description section under Final Exam in this Outline.
Location: Online via the Quizzes tool in CourseLink.

Instructional Support



Learning Resources 

Required Textbook

Title: Universe
Author(s): Roger Freedman, Robert Geller, and William J. Kaufman
Edition / Year: 11th Edition, 2019
Publisher: W. H. Freeman and Co.

ISBN: 9781319039448 – print textbook only
ISBN: 9781319424466 – “Loose-Leaf Version for Universe + Achieve (1-term access)
ISBN: 9781319378530 – Achieve (1-term access)

Two packages listed above include “Achieve” – a digital learning platform administered by the Publisher. The platform provides E-book access to the course text. Additional learning resources are also provided within the Achieve platform, which are NOT required for the course, but may be beneficial to your learning. Visit their website to complete a check that ensures your computer meets the Achieve system requirements

Note:  Do not confuse with textbook, “Discovering the Universe”, by the same publisher.

The textbook is mandatory and will be used extensively throughout the course.  Consider it your primary resource for the course!
You may purchase required and optional course materials along with alternate formats if available at the Guelph Campus Co-op Bookstore or the University of Guelph Bookstore. Please note that DE textbooks are located in the Distance Education section of the University of Guelph Bookstore.

Course Website

CourseLink (powered by D2L’s Brightspace) is the course website and will act as your classroom. It is recommended that you log in to your course website every day to check for announcements, access course materials, and review the weekly schedule and assignment requirements. 


For this course, you may be required to access course reserve materials through the University of Guelph McLaughlin Library. To access these items, select Ares on the navbar in CourseLink. Note that you will need your Central Login ID and password in order to access items on reserve.

For further instructions on accessing reserve resources, visit How to Get Course Reserve Materials

If at any point during the course you have difficulty accessing reserve materials, please contact the e-Learning Operations and Reserve Services staff at:
Tel: 519-824-4120 ext. 53621
Location: McLaughlin Library, First Floor, University of Guelph

Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

PHYS*2600, General Astronomy, is designed to present a survey of the current state of the subject of Astronomy, especially from the Astrophysical point-of-view. The subject is one of vast scope, ranging from the very small (nuclear processes, atomic excitation spectra) to the very large (the properties of stars, the structure of galaxies and cosmology), with much in between.

There will be many new ideas and concepts which require close reading of the textbook and the acquisition of an extensive new vocabulary. As well, the properties of astronomical objects and the state of the universe cannot be comprehended without the use of numbers, and there will be many opportunities to gain technical insight into the subject. The course requires no expertise in advanced university-level mathematics, such as calculus, but will require a level of numeracy – the ability to perform unit conversions, manipulate simple equations, and interpret graphical data.

Astronomy, unique among the physical sciences, does not perform experiments on its object of study, but can only observe. Also, and almost as unique, it relies on the accumulation of observations conducted over long periods of time. A snapshot observation of the universe will yield a lot of information, but a series of them taken over many persons' lifetimes yields so much more.

It is, therefore, difficult to perform meaningful measurements in the short time span of a one-semester course, but we will try to do a few simple exercises which will give interesting results and show how astronomers do their work.

We hope that you will find this survey of the universe both enjoyable and informative, providing an appreciation of your surroundings that will continue throughout your life.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe and discuss the construction of the solar system and how its internal motions are the result of simple laws.
  2. Explain the similarities and differences in the structure of the planets and their satellites and some of the things this tells us about the origin of the solar system.
  3. Distinguish the constitution of stars, their distances, energy source and evolution.
  4. Describe how stars are aggregated into galaxies and how the distribution of galaxies and other entities lead to a cosmological view of the nature and evolution of the universe as a whole.

Teaching and Learning Activities

Course Structure

  • Unit 01: Keeping Time with the Earth, Moon, and Sun
  • Unit 02: Motion of the Planets
  • Unit 03: The Earth, Moon, and Terrestrial Planets
  • Unit 04: The Jovian Planets
  • Unit 05: Minor Constituents & Origin of Solar System; Extra-solar Planets
  • Unit 06: Light and Spectra
  • Unit 07: The Sun
  • Unit 08: The Properties of the Stars
  • Unit 09: The Birth and Evolution of Stars
  • Unit 10: Globular Clusters, Variable Stars, and the Death of Stars
  • Unit 11: Galaxies
  • Unit 12: Cosmology

What to Expect for Each Unit

Each unit is comprised of readings from the text in addition to the online materials. In each online unit you will find self-reflection questions at the beginning and end of the unit. These questions allow you to consider your general knowledge relating to the unit’s topics and then reflect again at the end of the unit on how some of your responses may have changed. “What Do You Think?” questions use a numbering system that starts with a ‘W’ and the numbering and questions are the same at the beginning of the unit and the end, so that you can compare your responses question-by-question.

Each unit also has one or more sets of self-test questions for you to review what you’ve learned as you progress through the unit. The self-test questions using a numbering system of ‘ST’ before each question and are sequential throughout the unit.  This is done so that if you want to discuss a particular question with your peers or instructor, it’s easy to identify the question being referred to within the unit.

Each unit also has a number of videos and/or animations as well as images (many of which are also in your text) to help guide your learning.


It is strongly recommended that you follow the course schedule provided below. The schedule outlines what you should be working on each week of the course and lists the important due dates for the assessments. By following the schedule, you will be better prepared to complete the assessments and succeed in this course.

Unit 01: Keeping Time with the Earth, Moon and Sun
Week 1 - Thursday, September 9 to Sunday, September 19


  • Unit 01 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Getting the Basics
        Chapter 1: 1-5 to 1-7 and Box 1-1
    - Positional Astronomy
        Chapter 2: 2-2 to 2-6 and Box 2-1
    - Keeping Time
        Chapter 2: 2-7 to 2-8 and Box 2-2
    - The Earth-Moon system
        Chapter 3: 3-1 to 3-2
    - Eclipses
        Chapter 3: 3-3 to 3-5


  • Familiarize yourself with the course website by reviewing the Start Here section of the course.
  • Review the Outline and Assessments sections on the course website to learn about course expectations, assessments, and due dates.
  • Confirm your access to the course reserve materials by selecting Ares on the navbar.
  • Introduce yourself in the Introductions Discussion
  • Unit 01 Quiz (ungraded)
    Opens: Thursday, September 9 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, September 26 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 02: Motion of the Planets
Week 2 - Monday, September 20 to Sunday, September 26


  • Unit 02 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Greek Astronomers and the Geocentric Model
        Chapter 3: 3-6
        Chapter 4: 4-1 
    - A Heliocentric Explanation of Planetary Motion
        4-2 to 4-3, Box 4-1
    - Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion
        4-4 and Box 4-2
    - Galileo’s Discoveries
    - Newton’s Description of Gravity
        4-6 to 4-8 and Box 4-4 


  • Unit 02 Quiz
    Opens: Thursday, September 9 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, September 26 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Begin work on Practical Exercise 1
    Due: Wednesday, October 6 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 03: The Earth, Moon and Terrestrial Planets
Week 3 – Monday, September 27 to Sunday, October 3


  • Unit 03 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Planet Earth
        Chapter 9: 9-1 to 9-6
    - Our Moon
        Chapter 10: 10-1, 10-3 to 10-5, Box 10-1
    - Mercury, Venus, & Mars
        Chapter 11


  • Unit 03 Quiz
    Opens: Thursday, September 9 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, October 3 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Continue work on Practical Exercise 1
    Due: Wednesday, October 6 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 04: The Jovian Planets
Week 4 – Monday, October 4 to Sunday, October 10


  • Unit 04 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Structure and Composition of the Jovian Planets
        Chapter 12
        Chapter 14: 14-1 to 14-8
    - The Atmospheres of the Planets
        Chapter 9: 9-5, 9-6
        Chapter 10: 10-1
        Chapter 11: 11-6, 11-7
        Chapter 12: 12-3 to 12-5
        Chapter 14: 14-2 and 14-3
    - Planetary Rings
        Chapter 12:  12-8 to 12-10
        Chapter 14:  14-6 and 14-7


  • Unit 04 Quiz
    Opens: Thursday, September 9 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, October 10 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Submit Practical Exercise 1
    Due: Wednesday, October 6 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 05: Minor Constituents, Origin of Solar System and Extra-Solar Planets
Week 5 – Monday, October 11 to Sunday, October 17


  • Unit 05 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Satellites
        Chapter 13
        Chapter 14: 14-7 and 14-8
        Chapter 11: 11-9
    - Minor Planets
        Chapter 14: 14-9 to 14-10
        Chapter 15: 15-1 to 15-4
    - Asteroids, Comets and Meteors
        Chapter 15: 15-5 to 15-8
    - The Origin of our Solar System
        Chapter 8


  • Unit 05 Quiz
    Opens: Thursday, September 9 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, October 17 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Begin work on Practical Exercise 2
    Due: Wednesday, November 3 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 06: Light and Spectra
Week 6 – Monday, October 18 to Sunday, October 24


  • Unit 06 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - The Particle-Wave Nature of Light
        Chapter 5: 5-1, 5-2, 5-5, Box 5-3
    - The Temperature of the Source
        Chapter 5: 5-3, 5-4, Box 5-1, 5-2 
    - The Composition of the Source
        Chapter 5: 5-6 to 5-8, Box 5-4, Box 5-5
    - The Motion of the Source
        Chapter 5: 5-9, Box 5-6


  • Unit 06 Quiz
    Opens: Monday, October 11 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, October 24 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Midterm 1
    Opens: Wednesday, October 20 at 12:00 am ET
    Closes: Wednesday, October 20 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Continue work on Practical Exercise 2
    Due: Wednesday, November 3 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 07: The Sun
Week 7 – Monday, October 25 to Sunday, October 31


  • Unit 07 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - The Mass of the Sun
    - Thermonuclear Fusion
        Chapter 16: 16-1 
    - Energy Transport in the Sun
        Chapter 16: 16-2, 16-3
    - The Solar Neutrino Problem
        Chapter 16: 16-4
    - The Sun’s Atmosphere
        Chapter 16: 16-5 to 16-10


  • Unit 07 Quiz
    Opens: Monday, October 11 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, October 31 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Continue work on Practical Exercise 2
    Due: Wednesday, November 3 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 08: The Properties of the Stars
Week 8 – Monday, November 1 to Sunday, November 7


  • Unit 08 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Distance and Motion of Stars
        Chapter 17: 17-1
    - Proper Motion of Stars
        Chapter 17:  Box 17-1
    - The Apparent Brightness of Stars
        Chapter 17: 17-2, 17-3, Box 17-2 and Box 17-3
    - The Surface Temperature of Stars
        Chapter 17: 17-4
    - Spectral Classification
        Chapter 17: 17-5
    - The Size of Stars
        Chapter 17:  17-6 and Box 17-4
    - The Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) Diagram
        Chapter 17: 17-7, 17-8
    - The Mass of Stars
        Chapter 17: 17-9 to 17-11


  • Unit 08 Quiz
    Opens: Monday, October 11 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, November 7 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Submit Practical Exercise 2
    Due: Wednesday, November 3 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 09: The Birth and Evolution of Stars
Week 9 – Monday, November 8 to Sunday, November 14


  • Unit 09 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - The Pre-Main Sequence Phase
        Chapter 18: 18-1 to 18-5, 18-7 and 18-8
    - Star Clusters
        Chapter 18: 18-6
    - The Main Sequence Phase
        Chapter 19: 19-1 and Box 19-2
    - The Post-Main Sequence Phase
        Chapter 19: 19-1 to 19-4
    - Electron Degeneracy
        Chapter 19: 19-3


  • Unit 09 Quiz
    Opens: Monday, October 11 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, November 14 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Begin work on Practical Exercise 3
    Due: Wednesday, November 14 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 10: Globular Clusters, Variable Stars and the Death of Stars
Week 10 – Monday, November 15 to Sunday, November 21


  • Unit 10 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Globular Clusters
        Chapter 19: 19-4 and 19-5
    - Variable Stars
        Chapter 19: 19-6 and 19-7
    - The Death of Moderately Low Mass Stars
        Chapter 20: 20-1 to 20-4
        Chapter 19: 19-7
    - The Production of Heavier Elements and Supernovae
        Chapter 20: 20-5 to 20-10
    - The Death of Intermediate Mass Stars: Neutron Stars
        Chapter 21: 21-1
    - The Death of High Mass Stars: Black Holes
        Chapter 21: 21-2 to 21-11 and Box 21-3


  • Unit 10 Quiz
    Opens: Monday, November 8 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, November 21 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Midterm 2
    Opens: Wednesday, November 17 at 12:00 am ET
    Closes: Wednesday, November 17 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Continue work on Practical Exercise 3
    Due: Wednesday, November 24 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 11: Galaxies
Week 11 – Monday, November 22 to Sunday, November 28


  • Unit 11 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - The Shape of Our Galaxy
        Chapter 22: 22-1 to 22-3
    - The Rotation of Our Galaxy
        Chapter 22: 22-4 and 22-5
    - The Galactic Nucleus
        Chapter 22: 22-6
    - Other Galaxies
        Chapter 23: 23-1 to 23-3, 23-6, 23-7, 23-9 and Box 23-1
    - Galactic Clusters
        Chapter 23: 23-6
    - Dark Matter
        Chapter 23: 23-8
    - The Expansion of the Universe and Hubble’s Law
        Chapter 23: 23-4, 23-5, and Box 23-2


  • Unit 11 Quiz
    Opens: Monday, November 8 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Sunday, November 28 at 11:59 pm ET
  • Submit Practical Exercise 3
    Due: Wednesday, November 24 at 11:59 pm ET

Unit 12: Cosmology
Week 12 – Monday, November 29 to Friday, December 3


  • Unit 12 Content (CourseLink)
  • Textbook:
    - Quasi-stellar Objects (Quasars)
        Chapter 24: 24-1 to 24-5
    - The Cosmological Implications of Hubble’s Law
        Chapter 24: 25-1 to 25-3
    - The Big Bang Hypothesis and the Cosmic Microwave Background
        Chapter 25: 25-4
    - Inflationary Hypothesis
        Chapter 25: 25-5 to 25-8
        Chapter 26: 26-1 to 26-7
    - The Cosmological Constant and the Fate of the Universe
        Chapter 25: 25-6 to 25-8


  • Unit 12 Quiz (ungraded)
    Opens: Monday, November 8 at 12:01 am ET
    Closes: Friday, December 3 11:59 pm ET


The grade determination for this course is indicated in the following table. A brief description of each assessment is provided below. Select Content on the navbar to locate Assessments in the table of contents panel to review further details of each assessment. Due dates can be found under the Schedule heading of this outline.

Table 1: Course Assessments

Assessment Item Weight Learning Outcomes
Weekly Quizzes 20% 1, 2, 3, 4
Practical Exercises (3) 20% 1, 4
Midterms (2) 20% 1, 2, 3, 4
Final Exam 40% 1, 2, 3, 4
Total 100%  

Assessment Descriptions

Weekly Quizzes

This course contains 12 online, short answer quizzes, one for of each Unit.  Quizzes 2 – 11 comprise your Weekly Quizzes mark.  Quizzes 1 and 12 are not for marks but follow the same format.

The quizzes usually consist of 10 questions. The questions are mostly multiple-choice and are strictly on the assigned readings of the week in question. They are intended to direct your attention to the important points in the reading and their strict timetable is to keep you from falling behind in the course. Many of these questions will be qualitative in nature; however, there are a number of Units which have a mathematical component to the material, and the quizzes for these Units will contain calculation-based questions which do require some work (be sure to have a calculator handy!).

Supplementary Marks available for Weekly Quizzes

Students may obtain supplementary marks (2% of total grade value) to be used in lieu of a missed/failed Weekly Quiz.  The supplement consists of researching a current discovery or development in astronomy and disseminating it to the class, via the discussion forums in CourseLink.  Upon approval from the Instructor, a grade of 2% will be added to your Weekly Quiz score (student grades may not exceed a 20/20 score in this Assessment Item).  The interested student should email the instructor (perhaps include a news article or paper that they have found on a topic of interest) who will consult on expectations for the Supplement.

Practical Exercises

For the practical exercises, specific tasks will be given to you that typically involve acquiring or analyzing a set of data, which may consist of real astronomical records taken from a database, or simulated values. Often this will rely on the use of applets.
The completion and submission of your report comes in the format of a quiz/questionnaire, which can be found in the Quizzes tool. Initial questions may ask for codes outputted from applets, based on your analysis. Additional questions may ask for brief descriptions of your findings, answers to some calculations, and finally some challenge questions which test your understanding of the material.


There will be two online midterm tests, in weeks 6 and 10. The tests will consist of multiple choice (both qualitative and quantitative), short written-answer and calculation questions.

Final Exam

This course requires you to write an online final exam using the Quizzes tool in CourseLink. The exam will cover material from the entire course and will consist of multiple choice, matching and short answer (including diagram interpretation and simple sketches), and some calculation-based questions. Select Content on the navbar to locate Assessments in the table of contents panel to review further details of the final exam.

University of Guelph degree and associate diploma students must check WebAdvisor for their examination schedule. Open Learning program students must check the Open Learning Program Final Examination Schedule for their examination schedule.

Course Technology Requirements and Technical Support

CourseLink System Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date. (Results will be displayed in a new browser window).

Technical Skills

As part of your online experience, you are expected to use a variety of technology as part of your learning:

  • Manage files and folders on your computer (e.g., save, name, copy, backup, rename, delete, and check properties);
  • Install software, security, and virus protection;
  • Use office applications (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or similar) to create documents;
  • Be comfortable uploading and downloading saved files;
  • Communicate using email (e.g., create, receive, reply, print, send, download, and open attachments);
  • Navigate the CourseLink learning environment and use the essential tools, such as Dropbox, Quizzes, Discussions, and Grades (the instructions for this are given in your course);
  • Access, navigate, and search the Internet using a web browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer); and
  • Perform online research using various search engines (e.g., Google) and library databases.

Technical Support

If you need any assistance with the software tools or the CourseLink website, contact CourseLink Support.

CourseLink Support

University of Guelph
Day Hall, Room 211
Tel: 519-824-4120 ext. 56939
Toll-Free (CAN/USA): 1-866-275-1478

Walk-In Hours (Eastern Time):

Monday thru Friday: 8:30 am–4:30 pm

Phone/Email Hours (Eastern Time):

Monday thru Friday: 8:30 am–8:30 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm–6:00 pm

Course Specific Standard Statements

Acceptable Use

The University of Guelph has an Acceptable Use Policy, which you are expected to adhere to.

Communicating with Your Instructor

During the course, your instructor will interact with you on various course matters on the course website using the following ways of communication:

  • Announcements: The instructor will use Announcements on the Course Home page to provide you with course reminders and updates. Please check this section frequently for course updates from your instructor.
  • General Astronomy Discussion (Course Content): Use this discussion forum to ask questions of your instructor about content or course-related issues with which you are unfamiliar. Please post general course-related questions to the discussion forum so that all students have an opportunity to review the response. To access this discussion forum, select Discussions from the Tools dropdown menu. 
  • Email: If you have a conflict that prevents you from completing course requirements, or have a question concerning a personal matter, you can send your instructor a private message by email. The instructor will respond to your email within 48 to 72 hours.

Netiquette Expectations

For distance education courses, the course website is considered the classroom and the same protections, expectations, guidelines, and regulations used in face-to-face settings apply, plus other policies and considerations that come into play specifically because these courses are online.

Inappropriate online behaviour will not be tolerated. Examples of inappropriate online behaviour include:

  • Posting inflammatory messages about your instructor or fellow students;
  • Using obscene or offensive language online;
  • Copying or presenting someone else's work as your own;
  • Adapting information from the Internet without using proper citations or references;
  • Buying or selling term papers or assignments;
  • Posting or selling course materials to course notes websites;
  • Having someone else complete your quiz or completing a quiz for/with another student;
  • Stating false claims about lost quiz answers or other assignment submissions;
  • Threatening or harassing a student or instructor online;
  • Discriminating against fellow students, instructors, and/or TAs;
  • Using the course website to promote profit-driven products or services;
  • Attempting to compromise the security or functionality of the learning management system;
  • Sharing your username and password; and 
  • Recording lectures without the permission of the instructor.

Submission of Assignments to Dropbox

Some assignments for this course should be submitted electronically via the online Dropbox tool. When submitting your assignments using the Dropbox tool, do not leave the page until your assignment has successfully uploaded. To verify that your submission was complete, you can view the submission history immediately after the upload to see which files uploaded successfully. The system will also email you a receipt. Save this email receipt as proof of submission.

Be sure to keep a back-up copy of all of your assignments in the event that they are lost in transition. In order to avoid any last-minute computer problems, your instructor strongly recommend you save your assignments to a cloud-based file storage (e.g., Google Docs), or send to your email account, so that should something happen to your computer, the assignment could still be submitted on time or re-submitted.

It is your responsibility to submit your assignments on time as specified on the Schedule. Be sure to check the technical requirements and make sure you have the proper computer, that you have a supported browser, and that you have reliable Internet access. Remember that technical difficulty is not an excuse not to turn in your assignment on time. Don’t wait until the last minute as you may get behind in your work.

If, for some reason, you have a technical difficulty when submitting your assignment electronically, please contact your instructor or CourseLink Support.

Late Policy

Quizzes and assignments are not permitted to be submitted late.

Extensions will be considered for medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances. If you require an extension, discuss this with the instructor as soon as possible and well before the due date. Barring exceptional circumstances, extensions will not be granted once the due date has passed. These rules are not designed to be arbitrary, nor are they inflexible. They are designed to keep you organized, to ensure that all students have the same amount of time to work on assignments, and to help to return marked materials to you in the shortest possible time.

Obtaining Grades and Feedback

Unofficial assessment marks will be available in the Grades tool of the course website. 

Your instructor will have grades posted online within 2 weeks of the submission deadline, if the assignment was submitted on time. Once your assignments are marked you can view your grades on the course website by selecting Grades from the Tools dropdown menu on the navbar. Your course will remain open to you for seven days following the last day of the final exam period.

University of Guelph degree students can access their final grade by logging into WebAdvisor (using your U of G central ID). Open Learning program students should log in to the OpenEd Student Portal to view their final grade (using the same username and password you have been using for your courses).

Rights and Responsibilities When Learning Online

For distance education (DE) courses, the course website is considered the classroom and the same protections, expectations, guidelines, and regulations used in face-to-face settings apply, plus other policies and considerations that come into play specifically because these courses are online.

For more information on your rights and responsibilities when learning in the online environment, visit Rights and Responsibilities.

University Standard Statements

University of Guelph: Undergraduate Policies

As a student of the University of Guelph, it is important for you to understand your rights and responsibilities and the academic rules and regulations that you must abide by.

If you are a registered University of Guelph Degree Student, consult the Undergraduate Calendar for the rules, regulations, curricula, programs and fees for current and previous academic years.

If you are an Open Learning Program Student, consult the Open Learning Program Calendar for information about University of Guelph administrative policies, procedures and services.

Email Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

When You Cannot Meet Course Requirements

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement due to illness or compassionate reasons, please advise your course instructor in writing, with your name, ID number and email contact.

University of Guelph Degree Students

Consult the Undergraduate Calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration.

Open Learning Program Students

Please refer to the Open Learning Program Calendar for information on regulations and procedures for requesting Academic Consideration.

Drop Date

University of Guelph Degree Students

Students will have until the last day of classes to drop courses without academic penalty. Review the Undergraduate Calendar for regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses.

Open Learning Program Students

Please refer to the Open Learning Program Calendar.

Copies of Assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community's shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment.

University of Guelph Degree Students

Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact Accessibility Services as soon as possible.

For more information, contact Accessibility Services at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208, email Accessibility Services or visit the Accessibility Services website.

Open Learning Program Students

If you are an Open Learning program student who requires academic accommodation, please contact the Academic Assistant to the Director. Please ensure that you contact us before the end of the first week of your course (every semester) in order to avoid any delays in support. Documentation from a health professional is required for all academic accommodations. Please note that all information provided will be held in confidence.

If you require textbooks produced in an alternate format (e.g., DAISY, Braille, large print or eText), please contact the Academic Assistant to the Director at least two months prior to the course start date. If contact is not made within the suggested time frame, support may be delayed. It is recommended that you refer to the course outline before beginning your course in order to determine the required readings.

The provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between OpenEd and the student requesting accommodation. It is recognized that academic accommodations are intended to “level the playing field” for students with disabilities.

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection.

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Copyright Notice

Content within this course is copyright protected. Third party copyrighted materials (such as book chapters and articles) have either been licensed for use in this course, or have been copied under an exception or limitation in Canadian Copyright law.

The fair dealing exemption in Canada's Copyright Act permits students to reproduce short excerpts from copyright-protected materials for purposes such as research, education, private study, criticism and review, with proper attribution. Any other copying, communicating, or distribution of any content provided in this course, except as permitted by law, may be an infringement of copyright if done without proper license or the consent of the copyright owner. Examples of infringing uses of copyrighted works would include uploading materials to a commercial third party web site, or making paper or electronic reproductions of all, or a substantial part, of works such as textbooks for commercial purposes.

Students who upload to CourseLink copyrighted materials such as book chapters, journal articles, or materials taken from the Internet, must ensure that they comply with Canadian Copyright law or with the terms of the University’s electronic resource licenses.

For more information about students’ rights and obligations with respect to copyrighted works, review Fair Dealing Guidance for Students.

Plagiarism Detection Software

Students should be aware that faculty have the right to use software to aid in the detection of plagiarism or copying and to examine students orally on submitted work. For students found guilty of academic misconduct, serious penalties, up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University can be imposed.

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.