ASP2021: A Virtual Conference
3:10 PM - 4:00 PM: Concurrent Session 4C: 3:10 pm PST (6:10 pm EST) - Oral Presentations
Climate Change Across the Solar System: A First-Year Seminar Course
Conference Strand: Addressing Climate/Environmental Science & Preserving Dark Skies
Nancy Chanover, New Mexico State University
Abstract of Session/Presentation: In the Fall 2018 semester New Mexico State University (NMSU) began offering several pilot first-year seminar courses designed to give new freshmen the opportunity to learn from experienced faculty in small, seminar-type courses that introduced students to discipline-based approaches to the big issues we face as a society. These pilot courses had to be based on current general education courses, and although they were required to lead to the same learning outcomes as a current general education class, they were also encouraged to focus on big issues that cross disciplinary lines. To that end I developed and taught a first-year seminar (FYS) class entitled "Climate Change Across the Solar System," which was offered as a special freshmen-only section of our broadly popular 100-level Astronomy general education course entitled "The Planets." The FYS course was taught using a team-based learning paradigm and incorporated several topics not covered in "The Planets," including enhanced units on weather, climate, planetary evolution, the process of science, teamwork, metacognition, and strategies for academic success. The effectiveness of the class was evaluated using several metrics of student success including learning gains, persistence and retention, and student feedback. This presentation will discuss the adaptation of an existing astronomy course to a FYS-style course, the incorporation of the issue of climate change into an introductory course about planets, and course outcomes.