Redesigning Introductory Astronomy for Majors (Jan 16)

Alice Olmstead
Tuesday, January 16
12:00 noon
INSCC 110 (Auditorium)
Light lunch served at 11:30 in the INSCC Lobby


Abstract: In this talk, I will describe a multi-year, collaborative course redesign effort that I co-led in the Astronomy department at the University of Maryland, College Park. I worked with a tenured faculty member, a senior lecturer, and several undergraduate and graduate Teaching/Learning Assistants to redesign a 2-semester introductory course sequence for Astronomy majors. In the talk, I will primarily focus on the pedagogical approach we took to overhauling the 2nd semester lab curriculum, and present a logical argument for how this curriculum can support students in learning skills relevant for STEM professionals. I will also describe how we leveraged local resources to pursue the redesign, and consider how we assessed our success relative to three main goals: (1) improving the lab curriculum, (2) supporting equitable student outcomes in the full course sequence, and (3) increasing instructors’ awareness of and proficiency with active learning strategies.