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December 3-5

Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement

ASP2020: A Virtual Conference

ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
Preliminary Schedule

Click here for the Schedule-at-a-Glance
Online Asynchronous ASTR 110 Proven Methods - A Case Study
Online teaching presents challenges; short summer terms are even more challenging online! My multi-year experience translates well to the current pandemic times with proven adaptable methods for a variety of levels. My ASTR 110 philosophy is to expose the Universe's beauty and wonder rather than factoids. Scientific methods are shown by telling the human story with topics that place historical figures as real people collaborating to discover clues in understanding as new evidence, observations and theories are assembled. A non-rigorous, less-mathematical survey is the goal, which removes many traditional stress factors and helps mitigate the new online stress factors. Yet students retain a surprising amount of astronomical knowledge.
The online portal Laulima (Sakai) is our virtual classroom centralizing student contact, resources sharing and a private dropbox for assignments. OpenStax Astronomy textbook is used with short ppt lecture topics uploaded to encapsulate and extend the text. Video/interactive astronomy lab links are congregated there. Asynchronous course allows student time-management and serves globally distributed students. Deadlines are used to pace the students.
Exams are a special challenge. In lieu of testing centers, students submit a short paper on topics of their choice. Topics are pre-approved to ensure correct scope and depth. References are required with citation, figures and images encouraged. The style is NOT a research paper, but rather a popular science magazine article with the goal of explaining the topic to a friend with no prior knowledge. This hones their skills to introduce the topic and place it in context with the bigger picture, and keep it non-technical but scientifically accurate without a plethora of jargon. To monitor reading, the Class Discussion section has students post one item per chapter that is new and one that was the most interesting. Others in the class then post reactions, mimicking in-class discussion.
Conference Strand: Online K-16 Teaching & Learning