The impact of integrated telescope use on attitudes and conceptual understanding of introductory astronomy students

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


This paper discusses a pilot program using real data from our university telescope in laboratory exercises with our students at the University of St. Thomas. In this paper, I evaluate the effectiveness of these labs and their impact on student attitudes using standardized learning assessments combined with student interviews and surveys. One hundred and sixteen undergraduate students enrolled our fall introductory astronomy course completed our newly developed exercises as a normal part of the laboratory portion of the introductory astronomy course, with comparison groups utilizing "canned" or simulated data. Student attitudes improved in the treatment group more than in the comparison group in both questions of interest: how students feel about science, and whether or not students feel they can do science. In addition, student content knowledge gains are about 10% higher in treatment groups than in comparison groups.




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