||Astronomy Laboratory Exercises in a Remote World
||531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
||Vogt, N. P.; Rector, T.
||We present a set of resources for astronomical lab work geared
primarily toward college non-science majors. Eight two-week exercises cover a
range of solar system, stellar, and extragalactic topics through hands-on
physical experiments and analysis of images and spectra. Additional spectral
analysis tools provide a framework for longer-term studies and those by
science majors, with continuum- and line-fitting options for stellar,
galactic, and quasar spectra. All activities can be conducted with students
and instructors working remotely and asynchronously.
Each lab exercise is supported by a self-contained chapter, a video tutorial
showcasing materials construction and usage for experiments and major
scientific themes, platform-independent HTML5 apps providing direct access to
astronomical data without software packages or installation requirements,
interactive report templates, an instructor supplement with learning
objectives and teaching tips, and supporting information on scientific
keywords and relevant mathematical materials.
We discuss the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic usage of our materials for
We present representative materials and discuss materials usage by
instructors, including pilot programs at the high school level and via home
schooling, from across the globe. We suggest pragmatic adaptations for
pandemic usage, including constraints due to limitations on students resources
and mobility. We describe our collaboration process, including asynchronous
instructor workshops and a pilot program to develop exercise variants to match
specific needs from instructors (e.g., minimal-math projects).