ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
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Teaching Astro 101 Online
A brief overview of the challenges and opportunities of teaching Astro 101 online is presented. The pandemic has forced instructors online, many for the first time, and restructuring an existing course is daunting. The central challenges are to use active learning methods and maintain student engagement in the disembodied environment. Astronomy is better situated than other subjects because of the many educational tools and resources available online, and thanks to the well-networked instructor community. Flipping the class, with video lectures viewed before class asynchronously, frees up class time for discussion and group work. Examples are given of labs and other virtual activities, ways to facilitate student observing. Excellent online textbooks and assessment tools are available, along with videos to cover tips and tricks for the online classroom, and ways to combat cheating and plagiarism. Particular attention needs to be paid to accessibility and diversity issues, and finding ways to motivate students who struggle in the online environment.
Conference Strand: Online K-16 Teaching & Learning