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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
Robotic Telescope Labs for Survey-Level Undergraduates
Skynet is a growing collection of approximately two dozen robotic telescopes, currently ranging in size from 14 to 40 inches, and spanning four continents and five countries. The PROMPT telescopes, located at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, two sites in Australia, and two sites in Canada, and administered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, constitute the core of Skynet. However, our software is compatible with most commercially available telescope hardware, and consequently other institutions have been putting their telescopes on Skynet as well. We have also integrated the 20m-diameter radio telescope at Green Bank Observatory into Skynet.

For the past decade, we have been developing "Our Place In Space!" -- a robotic telescope-based lab curriculum for survey-level undergraduate students that makes use of our Skynet telescopes distributed around the world. Introduction of these labs at UNC-Chapel Hill led to >100% enrollment increases in our introductory astronomy courses, and to >300% increases in our number of astro-track majors and minors. The curriculum has now been adopted by ~2 dozen institutions, and we have just received $1.85M from NSF's IUSE program to expand it nationwide, with funding for participating instructors. The curriculum works equally well online as in person.

In this workshop, I will give everyone access to Skynet. You will learn how to observe with Skynet, and how to use our new, fully online image analysis service, Afterglow Access, the development of which has been funded by a large NSF STEM+C award. (Afterglow Access will also serve blind and visually impaired students.) You will also learn how to create and manage student accounts.

Lastly, you will learn about the "Our Place In Space!" curriculum, and how to involve your institution in our recent NSF IUSE award.

For more information about this curriculum:
Conference Strand: Online K-16 Teaching & Learning