Encouraging student participation in large Astronomy courses

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Introductory astronomy is one of the most widely taught classes in the country1 and the majority of the students who take these classes are non-science majors. Because this demographic of students makes up the majority of astronomy enrollments, it is especially important as instructors that we do our best to make sure these students don't finish this course thinking that they can't do science, that only experts can understand scientific concepts, or that science is just an elaborate belief system. Ideally, at least some classroom time would be spent having the students use skills they already possess to explore concepts about astronomy. Realistically, we understand the time constraints and pressures felt by the average college instructor and the incredible amount of time and energy that can be required to rework a course.




Willoughby, Shannon D. “Encouraging Student Participation in Large Astronomy Courses.” Phys. Teach. 50, no. 3 (2012): 146. doi:10.1119/1.3685109.
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