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Paper: Lessons from Ten Years of Online Astro 101 Labs at ASU
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 205
Authors: Knierman, K. A.; Ashcraft, T. A.
Abstract: With over 10 years of teaching online astronomy courses including laboratory courses, the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at Arizona State University (ASU) has ample experience vetting existing online labs and creating our own. The solar system-based lecture AST 111 and companion lab course AST 113 have been taught online since ∼2009. In that time, the laboratory course has evolved from using existing publisher content to activities we developed for use in Blackboard/Canvas to a hybrid of both systems. Currently, the online AST 113 lab uses several sources: Cengage Virtual Astronomy Labs, Stellarium, Infiniscope activities, our own Canvas activities, and newly developed labs with the Center for Education through eXploration (ETX). In contrast to some of the previously designed “cookbook”-style lab exercises, the strategy of Infiniscope activities is to provide an experience where the students explore and discover the content for themselves. The Infiniscope project was created by ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and NASA's Science Mission Directorate as part of the NASA Exploration Connection project. As part of this project, online activities on topics such as asteroids and Kuiper Belt objects, eclipses, phases of the Moon, and Kepler's Laws were designed and created for middle school (grades 6–8) and informal education settings. Working with the ETX at ASU, we have been developing interactive labs using an adaptive learning strategy. ETX has recently upgraded the successful Habitable Worlds course at ASU that utilizes the same interactive and adaptive strategies throughout the entire suite of lessons. While we do not yet have an entirely adaptive learning path for our online introductory astronomy courses, we are creating new online labs to replace a number of our “cookbook”-style lab exercises using adaptive learning pathways.
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