Richard Harwood's Courses

Descriptive Astronomy 101

Descriptive Astronomy 101
Student Comments

Impact craters on the Moon
(Image courtesy of NASA)

Below are some of the student evaluation comments for the Descriptive Astronomy 101 course. These comments and evaluations are collected by the instructor at the end of the semester. Comments are reproduced in their entirety as written by the student and are in no particular order. Opinions, views or grammatical errors are those of the student and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the instructor or Black Hawk College.

Most Recent Comments

Pay attention and study for the tests

Your first test is the worst.

This class is well worth taking. Be prepared to take notes and be sure to show up to every lecture. There is a lot of information to cover, but it is all worth the experience! Professor Harwood is very straight forward on what he expects from you on exams, and is willing to discuss discrepancies.

Be sure to study

Really good teacher, explains questions thoroughly, always willing to help, cares that you learn, be willing to take good notes and study them well.

Listen during class, participate in discussions, and take good notes!!! All the material that is on the exams is completely covered during lecture. Just make sure you listen!!

This class is hard, but only if you make it that way. By studying heavily, one will pass with flying colors.

You can't breeze through the course. After every class, make flashcards of the notes you just took. Keep all the cards for the entirety of the course, study them periodically, you lazy fool, and you will be golden. If you wont be a bad student, you wont have bad grades. If you lag behind- good luck.

When Harwood went over these in class the first day, many of the student had a lot of negative things to say so of course it made me second guess taking this course. However, this class has been anything but negative. I quite enjoyed the topics, he explained things well, and the lab were not bad at all. I think his approach to teaching this course is great. Some advice to future students would be study for these exams, they are difficult, but receiving an A on these exams are not unattainable, as I have gotten A's on all but one so far. Fill out the study guides and read over these, quiz yourself over them, and you will do just fine.

Make sure to take this course seriously because it is HARD! Fill out the study guides and study like you never have before. Exams are where the big points are in this course so make sure you are well prepared!

Past Comments

Make sure you go to class and lab everyday. printing the notes and study guide before hand can really help you get a better grade and stay on top of things

DO NOT TAKE THIS PROFESSOR. HE IS GOD AWFUL. YOU WILL NOT LEARN AND WILL DO POORLY ON TESTS. This professor is okay with a 70% class average but his classes do far worse. This is my first time ever getting a C and I transferred from a major university where I had already been accepted in my program and had a cumulative 3.8. JUST DONT DO THIS CLASS WITH THIS PROFESSOR.

study and take notes, as well as participate in class discussion.

A challenging course, but interesting nonetheless.  Prepare for a lot of math.


"Everyone says it too much as advice for any class, but we aren't kidding when we say study. Tests I studied for and tests I didn't had a noticeable difference in grades. Like several letter grades difference. So seriously trust me on this."

STUDY A LOT!!!! Make sure to print off the study guides and overviews, they will help a lot to perpare for tests.  Teacher is great but there is a lot of information to study. Make sure your not taking a full course load when taking this class. Enjoy


The class itself is truly an interesting and fascinating experience. It is certainly by far one of the coolest classes I've ever taken. Just two pieces of advice: Go to class regularly and use the bloody study guides to your advantage. They follow word for word to the exams. Otherwise, let Professor Harwood lead the way as your outer space guide.

if anyone decides to take this course, it is very important that you stay with the materials you have learned. Make sure you study a lot, and find a study partner or group it definitely would help if you cant stay focused when studying alone. Overall i enjoyed this class, it kept me interested and its really cool material to learn! i would recommend anyone to take this class, if they study!

Be aware of long tests. I didn't do too well on the tests, but I did exceptionally well on the lab practices. So if you think your not going to pass because of the tests you can always make it up on the lab practices by studying them with those 2 extra hours you have between class and lab.

Professor Harwood's Descriptive Astronomy course is really fun and interesting, even for a non-science major like myself that has little or no prior knowledge of the subject. However, it is a very information-heavy course that requires a lot of out-of-class studying. Every test is jam-packed with facts and processes, and you have to memorize most, if not all, that he throws at you each period. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but is very rewarding in the end. Plus, the lab's are engaging and enjoyable - they definitely help you to better understand the lecture material or a specific process of the planets.

My advice: print out the lecture material and study guides posted on his website. I used them to study for every test, and they cover everything that is covered in class. It's a lot easier to study from a sheet of heavily marked-up paper than by flipping in between 10+ pages of notes all the time.

If you take this course, be prepared and willing to study outside of class to really take full advantage of the material. The instructor is knowledgeable with course material and is always willing to help students when class related issues arise. Study guides and lecture material is all on the instructor's website, which makes it very easy to follow along with lecture, review any missed lecture and study for exams. Learning about celestial bodies, geologic and atmospheric processes and the effects that can ensue from such things is an awesome experience and allows the student to be more aware of the human race's natural surroundings that is the cosmos.

Very interesting.  TITTIES!!!

I have to write something here to turn in the survey, apparently.

I went into this class thinking it was going to be easy, and it has been my hardest class so far. The only other comparable class i have taken is calculus one. In order to get a decent grade in this class, you have to study the material. Also, before taking this class, previous knowledge of other earth sciences and physics would help. If you are looking to transfer to a university, this class is a good preparation course.

I would make sure not to miss class, but if you need to miss, make sure to stay in contact with Professor Harwood and do your part to stay on track with the course. I would make sure to ask questions and take good notes as well as use the tutoring center as much as you need to get the understanding of the material so the lab practicals will not be so hard as well as the exams......LAST THING IS TO STUDY...STUDY....STUDY!!!!!! I really enjoyed the class except certain labs but the overall experience was awesome and I am finishing the course more confident in what I can do because I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!!! Good luck and God bless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Study for each and every test and practical. There is no possible way of passing the tests without studying unless you somehow have a large prior knowledge of the solar system upon registering for this class.

This class is right for you if you are willing to take notes, and work hard on labs. Be prepared for the Lab Practicals they more diificult than the regular tests you take over class notes. Also, take notes everyday, and show up everyday. If you can't be there everyday make sure you get the notes. Because the tests are the notes. Study, Study, Study!! Good Luck!

STUDY, STUDY, STUDY! If you know the material from the study guides and the labs, you will do well on the exams and practicals.

Pay attention in class, take notes and study your material and you'll be fine. Don't be lazy.

This course is not an easy grade, nor will students get to spend any time looking at constellations through telescopes. This is a very serious course with an extremely high density of information to remember, and the tests can be unforgiving and surprisingly demanding in terms of the level of detail the student is expected to recall.

For those who are interested in a challenge and genuinely want to know more about the universe, the course is well worth the effort and will impart a large amount of insight into how our universe works. All other students: beware.

Harwood gives you what you need to exceed in this course. If you have questions, please ask them! This guy knows what he's talking about. If you study, you'll do well. The exams were easier than the lab practicals. Really make sure you know what you're doing during lab otherwise you'll have a tough time during lab practicals, like I did. There are no assignments in this class, so if you don't study and do well on exams and lab practicals, you'll fail miserably. I learned quite a lot in this course and was never bored. I would recommend this class to anyone, whether they need this class to graduate or not.

ARE YOU A BIG DOG OR LITTLE DOG....WOOOF WOOF MOTHER TRUCKER.I have been to a repeatable 4 year schools, and taken my share of classes from BHC and 300 levels as well. Alot of people will bitch and moan about this class, but truth is if YOU plan on going to a 4 year school or get into the sciences at all, this class is a wake up. Not only is it fairly tough, but the teacher will help to make sure you understand all material you don't get. It's the perfect class at BHC for anybody with any major, that wants to take academia seriously. The reason being, it will help non science majors become somewhat science-literate,and teach them to work hard, and prepare science majors for a world of hurt by study, that there going to be in for.

This class isn't super easy, but it's fair.  Pay attention to the lecture and do the study guides and you'll do fine.  Harwood's pretty awesome and likes aliens and stuff.  #harwood4life

As long as you come to class and take all the notes you're fine

Keep an open mind and pay attention in class.  You will learn alot.  I had alot of fun and learned very much.  It also made me very interested in learning other science classes.

Well just take notes when he does lectures, make sure if he is talking about something that goes through a process learn it!! it will be on the test

While the name of the course is Descriptive Astronomy, do not get the idea that it is all about stars. While the course was still very much fun, the instructor is a GEOLOGIST. So he tends to focus on the actual make-up of the planets and such. Really nice guy, funny in a geeky (but good!) way. My advice: STUDY, STUDY, STUDY! All the information and tools you need are given to you, you just need to use them!

Take lots of notes. Read the reading materials and do all the study guides. it will pay off in the long run. Ask lots of questions and pay close attention. Dont play on your cell phone during the class hour. You will miss alot.

Study hard for the tests and do the best you can to make it to every lab.

Well, this class wasn't exactly what I expected it to be. There was a little bit more math than I thought there would be. I reccommend doing the study guides and make flash cards out of the questions;that helped me a lot on the 2nd and 3rd test and I wished I would have done that on the 1st test. I would have definitely done better.This course is a lot of work, even though there aren't many assignments to do outside of class, there is a lot of studying involved. Overall, just make sure to ask questions if you are confused about anything.

STUDDYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! This is a great class and all the information is there for you to know.... you just have to study it. Start studying early. Don't wait until a few days before the test because there is to much information to learn in that short period of time. So my best and only advice is to STUDY!!!!! (and pay attention and obviously attend class everyday).

It is a very interesting course but not one that you can just sit around and expect to get an A in. Make sure you pay attention in class and do all the labs.


I liked all of the online things that were available to us

Teacher is thorough

The teacher is passionate about the subject, really kind, and fun. This is a good class to take but be warned: YOU WILL NOT FLY THROUGH THIS CLASS. It takes some serious studing but it is real good class to take, I think you will enjoy it.

I really enjoyed this course! Forewarning, there is a lot of work and a lot of materials involved in it but you will learn quite a bit! If you attend class everyday and you actually want to learn about Astronomy, then you will like this class. Definitely take notes and do the provided study guides and you will do fine in this course. Professor Harwood is an excellent teacher and actually knows what he is talking about. He is a geologist by trade and studied volcanism so there is a lot about those but it is nicely incorporated into the course and not just randomly thrown in. Also, this course is NOT about the stars. It is about planets, moons, asteroids, etc. Good luck!!

Astronomy is a great course and it was really interesting. Professor Harwood is very enthusiastic about the material. However, this class requires a lot of studying to do well, and there are no assignments so the grade in the class is basically based on how well you do on the tests.

It was a really fun course. Out of all of the courses I had this semester, my Decriptive Astronomy course was by far one of my favorites. It helped alot that the instructor actually had most of the notes already typed out for the students to use so we could concentrate on what he was saying or if we had to miss class, we didn't have to miss a GIGANTIC chunk of notes. His rule is that if you miss an exam, that you will miss all the class periods until you make up that test. It tripped me up in the beggining, but I got everything all straightened out. This is a great course that I had a lot of fun in, but in my opinion the labs were a little hard to understand some days.


Over all this is a good course. If you enjoy science and the planets and all that jazz, Take it. It does require alot of studying/understanding of material but it is very informational and not too boring. GOODLUCK!

go to class

I really enjoyed this class, and I feel like I learned a lot. It definitely was not easy, but I think you get out of it what you put into it. The instructor is very helpful and knowledgeable. I had trouble understanding some of the reading material because of the high vocabulary at first; however, I found that getting books at my local library that are for adolescents really helped. I suggest that you take notes and study for the tests. I also suggest making friends with someone in the class, because you are going to want to get the notes from someone if you have to miss class for some reason.

Tough class, a lot of information in a short period of time. Multiple choice tests, sometimes all four answers seem correct even after studying the material. If you love science you will love this class, otherwise, stay clear. By the way, I'm getting a low B somehow.

I loved this class but, this isn't a class where you can just sit around not paying attention, and expect to pass. My advice: TAKE NOTES!! and if you really want to pass the class with a decent grade: STUDY YOUR NOTES!!! Good Luck!!!

First of all, I enjoyed this class. But let me make it perfectly clear that this is not what you were expecting when you chose astronomy. He is not kidding when he says he will deliver a "heavy dose" of geology. I strongly reccomend you print the powerpoints offline and always bring them to class, and do the studyguides. If you know the studyguides and don't miss lab days, you will ace this course.

I would definetely recommend this class to anyone who has a slight interest in our solar system. It is not an easy course, but it offers a lot of information. It is leaned a bit toward the geology side (the instructor is a geologist by trade) but it remains relevant to the course. Study hard, attend class on a regular basis (both physically and mentally), and take good notes and you will enjoy yourself for a semester. This was a class I looked forward to coming to. If you are ready for an edge of your seat thrill ride through space, time and worlds of all kinds, take this class. This course is kind of interesting but there is WAY to much information on each test.There is a lot to study and pretty much have to be in class every day.

To your advantage, read the online material when it is posted! That will help you prepare for the tests!

This class was about what I expected from a science course, it moves pretty fast so you have to keep up and try not to miss any class. The professor really does care about the subject and knows a lot about it. He might not be the most energetic and lively, but he is a great source of information. The class just takes hard work and dedication. And, of course, an interest in Astronomy is helpful too.

Be prepared to be completely lost in lecture, you'll find yourself wondering in thoughts you forgot you had. First half of the class is good and interesting but the second half really boring. So have Fun with that!!

The course taught was Astronomy, our professor had last minute notice on that he was teaching the course this semester, considering that it was very well taught. Alot of visuals and alot of note taking. I suggest printing them off line and filling them in (much easier). You won't use your book for anything so just rely on notes. Don't miss class if you don't plan on getting the notes you missed. Fast paced and alot of information but overall interesting. You will have to study your butt off to achieve a B on the test though. Be prepared to work!! Teacher is definetly smart on the subject.

Make sure to study your notes and pay attention the first time around. Review what you learn often so by the time of the test you don't have to cram for it. Shake & Bake!

A really interesting class, but you need to study a lot and get 100% on all the labs to really be able to pass, if your not good with tests. The majority of your grade comes from the exams and would only take the class if you have a strong interest in Astronomy and like to study a lot or have a good memory. Harwood makes the class more interesting and less boring. Gives honest views of the material. Although its for non-science majors, you still need some background on the subject material. The book is of NO HELP, except a lab or two.

I really loved this class. If you like taking notes by PowerPoint this is a class for you. Professor Harwood is a great and passionate teacher. I hope you take and enjoy this class.

There is a lot of information to remember in this class. If you take good notes you should do alright. We never used the book for anything though.

do not buy the book. use the notes and the study guides on the internet.

"Do not buy the book for this course, it will in no way help you in the class. If you can, avoid taking this class. It is NOT astronomy. It IS Planetary geology. If you only need a general education requirement for science and you have no interest in all the scientific theories available of how the planets camme to evolve and what they are made of, DO NOT take this class. The Professor does not curve grades and does not mind when the class average on exams is below passing. The professor is kind and willing to answer questions! Warning: This class involves alot of details. Future Students: Have a great semester!"

"I don't think that I have ever learned so much information in one course as I have in this one, but when it comes to test time, it can sometimes feel overwhelming with all of the presented information. All in all, definitely a good class to take for you lab science."

"This class can be boring at times. You have to wok for your grade in this classe. The stufy guides on line really help you perpair for the test.This class is not an easy A."

"This course does have a lot of information to get across. But if you do all the study guides and take notes you should be fine. Don't be overwhelmed. You don't need your book for anything. Mr. Harwood is a great teacher and loves what he does and wants students to succeed! I have learned so much!"

"This class was a great class if you are really interseted in astronomy. If you are not it may be a hard class and will not enjoy learning about this stuff. I would have to say that he is kind of a hard tester but looking back alot of it we should have known, and the tests don't seem that hard as long as you go to classes and go over the study guides! I enjoyed this class very much!"

"take notes, come to class, and review all notes because it is all there. you just need to make sure you study all of it."

"DO NOT TAKE DESCRIPTIVE ASTRONOMY 101 EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT TAKE A CLASS WITH RICHARD HARWOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The expectations of the teacher are ridiculous! There is way too much information to remember, let alone the fact that it is a boring class about boring things. Once in a while, there is an interesting bit of information, but not nearly often enough. I would advise against ever taking this class for it is the worst class I have ever taken, and I HATE MATH! I would rather take a math class than endure this ever again. Pleas pass this information on to whomever you can."

"For needing a requirement in a Physical Science, Astronomy 101 with Richard Harwood is the way to go, powerpoint presentations are accurate with his lecture and easy to follow."

"i didnt like when we looked at slides of the planets unless it explained a process. having the notes and study guides was a beneifit to me."

"Professor Harwood is a very dedicated instructor to both the classroom objectives as well as to the students. His organization and presentation is very conducive to the learning experience. He provides valuable study tools such as study guide questions. If you know the questions on the study guide, you are bound to be successful on the exams. Exams and lab practicals are also not time sensitive to a 50 minute period. If it takes you three hours to complete your exam, you are allotted the needed time. This took away a lot of my test anxiety because I could focus on the questions being asked and not the clock. Although I have found many of the professors at BHC to be dedicated to their students, Professor Harwood always put "his needs" second. The student's needs always come first. All of the above elements made my learning experience very positive. I would never be reluctant to take another course from Professor Harwood. Actually, I would alter my schedule in order to have him as an instructor in another earth science class."