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Paper: A Free Open-Access Astronomy Homework and Virtual Lab System
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 83
Authors: Tan, J.; Sheffield, A.; Grcevich, J.
Abstract: Many low-income and economically disadvantaged students struggle to pay for textbook and materials for their classes, making the cost for these a barrier to their education. While textbook companies provide pay-to-use homework and simulation modules to aid in assessments and learning, free and open packages (under the model of Open Educational Resources or OER) are harder to find. This session will introduce such an open and free package. We will demonstrate a fully OER virtual astronomy laboratory and assessment option developed using the “MyOpenMath” platform. This innovative platform is completely free for use and development and allows astronomy instructors to share libraries of questions, randomize questions and answers, and provide for a wide range of quantitative-based question types including but not limited to numeral values with tolerances and units, scientific notation, and plotting. Assessments can be automatically graded and through native Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) modules can, in principle, be integrated directly into an institution's preferred LMS. Alternatively, can be used as a free LMS in its own right. We will demonstrate the capabilities of this versatile and powerful platform showing how we integrated it with various OER virtual laboratories including the University of Colorado's PhET interactive simulations and Columbia University's Center for New Media Teaching and Learning Astro simulations. The current astronomy assessment library on MyOpenMath includes more than 1000 questions available for immediate use including many of the multiple choice test bank developed by Andrew Fraknoi to accompany the OpenStax Astronomy text. Additionally, the Astronomy Virtual Laboratory template will be introduced, and an opportunity for participants to explore the capabilities of the platform will be the feature of the interactive session.
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