ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
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Citizen Science and Student Attitudes Toward Science
"Citizen science" projects like the Zooniverse allow volunteers and professional scientists to work together to advance science. The benefits to science from these projects has been proven, but less attention has been paid to their impact on participants. We developed an assignment requiring students to engage in citizen science and to reflect on that experience. Through pre and post-assignment surveys, we are assessing the impact of this project on two key questions: does participating in citizen science increase a student's positive attitude towards science and does participating in citizen science increase a student's knowledge of the process of science? While originally developed for traditional face to face classes, this assignment translates easily into the online classroom and provides a way for students to participate in authentic scientific experiments while learning at a distance. In this session, we will define "citizen science" and demonstrate how science has been positively impacted by the recent explosion of citizen science through platforms like the Zooniverse. We will discuss how student contributions to citizen science projects align with high-impact educational practices, since citizen science presents a hands-on opportunity for students to participate in real scientific research. During the session, participants will take part in a "mini" demonstration of our assignment and we will share the details of the full citizen science-based assignment that we used with students in introductory astronomy courses. Because citizen science projects span a wide variety of topics, the assignment can easily be modified to integrate into courses covering many subjects. By the end of the session, participants should be able to design, based on our example assignment, a citizen science-based assignment for their courses to help improve student attitudes toward science and increase student knowledge of the process of modern science.
Conference Strand: Online K-16 Teaching & Learning