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CATS: Collaboration of Astronomy Teaching Scholars header image
Projects
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As our name implies, the Collaboration of Astronomy Teaching Scholars, is just that—a collaboration. Listed below are descriptions of all of the various projects we’re working on, and the primary point of contact for each. If you’re interested in becoming involved in any of these projects please visit our Getting Involved page!


Assessing Student Learning & the Effect of Instruction

We have concluded a study assessing the teaching & learning of light and spectroscopy in Astro 101 classrooms around the nation using the Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory (LSCI). This study investigates the degree to which interactive instruction helps increase student learning. We have also begun to analyze this large data set across 13 different demographic characteristics to see their effect on student performance. In addition, we are analyzing the performance of students in particular content domains within the LSCI to better understand which questions provide the most explanatory power.

People currently involved with this project:
Edward Prather
Alex Rudolph
Gina Brissenden
Wayne Schlingman
David Consiglio
Vicente Gonzaga


Contact: Alex Rudolph   Affiliation: California State Polytechnic University
Phone: 909.717.1851   Email: alrudolph@csupomona.edu

Assessing Students Attitudes, Beliefs & Literacy Related to Science & Astronomy

We have begun a mixed methods study that uses longitudinal and interview data to inform our understanding of student’s beliefs and attitudes about the role of science within our society and their understanding of the nature of science within the context of astronomy. The results of this work will be used to inform the development of a multiple-choice pre-/post-assessment instrument designed to determine how different instructional environments change students' beliefs and attitudes as a result of an introductory astronomy course.

People currently involved with this project:
Benjamin Mendelsohn
Edward Prather
Sebastien Cormier
Doug Duncan
Gina Brissenden
Daniel Loranz
Julia Kregenow
Travis Rector
Jordan Riddick
Chris Impey
Matthew Price
Leilani Arthurs
Jessie Antonellis
Elizabeth Johnson
Courtney King
Sanlyn Buxner
Hannah Sugarman


Contact: Edward Prather   Affiliation: Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Phone: 520.621.6530   Email: eprather@as.arizona.edu

Teaching with Technology in the Classroom

The CATS program is developing and assessing novel teaching and learning techniques that utilize the power and flexibility of computer driven instructional technologies. In particular this collaboration is currently evaluating and expanding ClassAction, the Nebraska Applets project (NAAP), Astronomica, and the use of clickers and ABCD voting cards in the classroom. This work is expanding into the development of new and innovative homework strategies that make use of emerging technologies and social networking.

People currently involved with this project:
Kevin Lee
Edward Prather
Chris Impey
Pamela Gay
Rica French
Danny Martino
David Hudgins
Chris Seidell


Contact: Colin Wallace   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.8490   Email: colin.wallace@colorado.edu

Contact: Gina Brissenden   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.9480   Email: gbrissenden@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Edward Prather   Affiliation: Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Phone: 520.621.6530   Email: eprather@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Sébastien Cormier   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.4499   Email: scormier@email.arizona.edu

Contact: Kevin Lee   Affiliation: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Phone: 402.472.3686   Email: KLEE6@unl.edu

Contact: Seth Hornstein   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.5631   Email: seth.hornstein@colorado.edu

Contact: Alex Rudolph   Affiliation: California State Polytechnic University
Phone: 909.717.1851   Email: alrudolph@csupomona.edu

Solar System Concept Inventory (SSCI) & Solar System Lecture-Tutorials Project

Field-testing and revision of the preliminary version of the Solar System Concept Inventory (SSCI) is underway to better understand student learning related to major topics included in a one-semester solar system course. Results from this preliminary investigation will lead to development of a new suite of Lecture-Tutorials on topics related to teaching about the solar system.

People currently involved in this project:
Seth Hornstein
Edward Prather
Michael LoPresto
Steve Desch
Tom English
John Keller
Doug Duncan


Contact: Colin Wallace   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.8490   Email: colin.wallace@colorado.edu

Contact: Gina Brissenden   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.9480   Email: gbrissenden@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Edward Prather   Affiliation: Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Phone: 520.621.6530   Email: eprather@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Sébastien Cormier   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.4499   Email: scormier@email.arizona.edu

Contact: Seth Hornstein   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.5631   Email: seth.hornstein@colorado.edu

Contact: Alex Rudolph   Affiliation: California State Polytechnic University
Phone: 909.717.1851   Email: alrudolph@csupomona.edu

National Archive for Astro 101 Think-Pair-Share Questions

We are developing a national archive of vetted Think-Pair-Share questions correlated with the topics most commonly taught in Astro 101, and hierarchically sorted based on their conceptual and cognitive difficulty. Vetting and sorting will be done through the creation of a ranking rubric and national field-testing.

People currently involved in this project:
Sébastien Cormier
Edward Prather
Gina Brissenden
Seth Hornstein
Kevin Lee
Alex Rudolph
Doug Duncan


Contact: Colin Wallace   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.8490   Email: colin.wallace@colorado.edu

Contact: Gina Brissenden   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.9480   Email: gbrissenden@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Edward Prather   Affiliation: Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Phone: 520.621.6530   Email: eprather@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Sébastien Cormier   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.4499   Email: scormier@email.arizona.edu

Contact: Kevin Lee   Affiliation: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Phone: 402.472.3686   Email: KLEE6@unl.edu

Contact: Seth Hornstein   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.5631   Email: seth.hornstein@colorado.edu

Contact: Alex Rudolph   Affiliation: California State Polytechnic University
Phone: 909.717.1851   Email: alrudolph@csupomona.edu

Research on Students Beliefs and Reasoning Difficulties related to Cosmology

Research is currently underway to investigate the pre-instruction beliefs and reasoning difficulties Astro 101 students have with key topics related to the study of cosmology. Students responses during interviews and to conceptual questions will inform the development and assessment of curriculum designed to help students improve their understanding of core topics in cosmology.

People currently involved in this project:
Colin Wallace
Edward Prather
Gina Brissenden
Doug Duncan


Contact: Colin Wallace   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.8490   Email: colin.wallace@colorado.edu

Thinking About Their Teaching, What Do Instructors Ask Us About?

During CAE Teaching Excellence workshops, we designate an area as our “Wall of Burning Questions.” We encourage workshop participants to put questions on the wall using sticky notes whenever they feel like it. At opportune moment during the workshop we engage in a dialogue with workshop participants about "best practice solutions" to help answer the questions. We are analyzing these questions to uncover the common questions instructors have while thinking about their teaching and learning during the workshops.

People currently working on this project:
Jacqueline Laird
Gina Brissenden
Edward Prather


Contact: Gina Brissenden   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.9480   Email: gbrissenden@as.arizona.edu

Citizen Science

Instructors often ask us about getting their students involved in doing “real” science. We are currently investigating ways to get Astro 101 students (and the public) involved with Citizen Science, as well as assessing gains in their content knowledge and in their attitudes and beliefs toward science due to their involvement.

People currently involved in this project:
Sebastien Cormier
Edward Prather
Jordan Raddick
Gina Brissenden
Pamela Gay


Contact: Sébastien Cormier   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.4499   Email: scormier@email.arizona.edu

Instructional Classroom Video Vignettes

We recently concluded video taping of Ed Prather’s Astro 101 class over the course of one semester. We are in the process of editing together short instructional clips with instructional audio as to the important “take away” message to Astro 101 instructors for each clip. Clip topics include setting classroom climate, implementing Think-Pair-Share, debriefing Lecture-Tutorials, the interactive lecture, and many more. These vignettes will be made available to the Astro 101 instructional community in the future.

People currently involved with this project:
Gina Brissenden
Ed Prather
Jacqueline Laird
Tim Chambers


Contact: Colin Wallace   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.8490   Email: colin.wallace@colorado.edu

Contact: Gina Brissenden   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.9480   Email: gbrissenden@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Edward Prather   Affiliation: Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
Phone: 520.621.6530   Email: eprather@as.arizona.edu

Contact: Sébastien Cormier   Affiliation: University of Arizona
Phone: 520.626.4499   Email: scormier@email.arizona.edu

Contact: Seth Hornstein   Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder
Phone: 303.492.5631   Email: seth.hornstein@colorado.edu

Contact: Alex Rudolph   Affiliation: California State Polytechnic University
Phone: 909.717.1851   Email: alrudolph@csupomona.edu

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