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Paper: Promoting Access, Retention, and Interest in Astronomy Higher Education: Developing the STEM Professionals of Tomorrow in New Mexico
Volume: 443, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach
Page: 486
Authors: Vogt, N. P.; Muise, A. S.; Cook, S.; Voges, E.
Abstract: Economic stability and success are becoming increasingly tied to the successful acquisition of basic academic skills, with the emergence of a computer- and data-oriented society. The recent doubling of the statewide requirement for laboratory science courses at the college level in New Mexico thus represents both an opportunity to further aid in the development of math and science skills in our general population and an added barrier to degree completion. Couple this to a geographically dispersed population of non-traditional students, with workforce and family responsibilities that compete directly for time with academics, and we have a compelling need for alternate methods of teaching science in New Mexico. We present a set of NASA- and NSF-sponsored resources under development to aid in teaching astronomy as a laboratory science at the college level, with usage results for a pilot group of students. Primary components include a self-review database of 10,000+ questions, an instructor review interface, a set of laboratory exercises suitable for students working alone at a distance, and interviews with diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) individuals to help combat stereotype threat. We discuss learning strategies often employed by students without substantial scientific training and ways to incorporate these strategies into a conceptual framework based on the scientific method and basic techniques for data analysis. Interested science educators may request guest user status to access our self-review database and explore the possibility of using the database for a class or cohort of students at their own institutions.
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