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Assessment
Astronomy Concept Inventories: Diagnosing Our Own Instruction Astronomy Concept Inventories: Diagnosing Our Own Instruction
Revisiting our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshops
Assessment drives student learning, and it should drive our instruction (Brissenden et al, 2002). In physics, the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) has been used by instructors for quite some time to assess the... More >>
Classroom Assessment Techniques: Classroom Assessment Techniques:
A Brief Overview
In our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshops, we discuss quite a few classroom assessment techniques that could be used to improve learning in an introductory astronomy course. Following is a brief description of these, and other, techniques. To learn more about assessment,... More >>
High Performance Grading: High Performance Grading:
Reducing Your Time Behind the Red Pen
Many of the questions we receive in our workshops revolve around assessment—more specifically, grading. How is it in a class of 200 we could possible do anything other than give multiple choice tests or ever consider giving writing assignments, even though we may have the... More >>
The Muddiest Point: The Muddiest Point:
Are Our Students on the Same Page as We Are?
In our workshops instructors often express concerns about not knowing the extent to which their students left class understanding the main point, or the Big Idea, of a given day's lecture. This can be coupled with frustrations from students, after test day, along... More >>
The Multiple-Choice Test: The Multiple-Choice Test:
Creating Better Questions
Whether we like it or not, for many of us, there is no escaping the multiple-choice test. When faced with a hundred students, and no grader, it is simply a matter of efficiency. But many of us feel guilty at using this classroom assessment technique, believing that we can... More >>
Building Community
And in other News: And in other News:
CAE Executive Director Elected American Astronomical Society's Education Officer!
Mix One-Part Astronomy Education Research with One-Part General Education Astronomy Course and You Get a Very Potent Science Literacy Transformation Cocktail

If you want to watch his talk on the AAS website, More >>

Building a Community of Practice: Building a Community of Practice:
We Are not Alone!
if you've read the "About Us" page, then you may already know that the NASA Center for Astronomy Education is dedicated to connecting practicing astronomy instructors in order to share ideas, pose questions, and suggest successful practices. We know the importance of being... More >>
Building Our Community: Building Our Community:
Introducing the New AstroLrner@CAE Guest Moderator Program
At the forefront of the NASA Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) is the importance of creating a community of practice amongst all of us who are teaching astronomy to non-science majors—to share our successes, our exasperations, and our expertise with one another... More >>
Colin’s Wallace: “Why I Do What I Do”: Colin’s Wallace: “Why I Do What I Do”:
A Tale of Motivation
I have always been passionate about science. I grew up watching science documentaries from the BBC, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. My favorite toys were always science-themed (dinosaurs, space, etc.). At various points in my childhood, I wanted to be a paleontologist,... More >>
Continuing to Build Our Community through Moderation: Continuing to Build Our Community through Moderation:
Introducing Our New AstroLrner@CAE Guest Moderator
By now I think it's probably not a surprise to our longer-joined members that we at the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) care deeply about community building. What a treat to have colleagues to turn to for help or to have an informed conversation with! For the past year... More >>
Cool CATS, Bright Future: Cool CATS, Bright Future:
How One Physics Education Researcher Landed in Astronomy
In This Month’s Teaching Strategy, we hear from Sébastien Cormier about his education and career path, and how it crossed with CAE and our Collaboration of Astronomy Teaching Scholars (CATS) program. We are very happy to have Sébastien with us as our first postdoc, and we... More >>
Getting Involved Getting Involved
A Personal Account of Becoming a Member of My Community
This Month's Teaching Strategy comes to us by one of our very own CAE community members. Danielle Martino—or Danny, as we know her—first became involved in our community about three years ago when she attended one of Teaching Excellence Workshops. Since then, she has transformed... More >>
Guest Moderation: Guest Moderation:
The Tradition Continues
It's hard to believe our Astrolrner@CAE Guest Moderation Program is entering its third year… Over the past year, Paul Robinson has been doing such a fine job, but it's a volunteer position, and we need to give him a well deserved break. Starting in May, and for the upcoming... More >>
Moderation Continues to Grow by Leaps & Bounds Moderation Continues to Grow by Leaps & Bounds
Tips from Our New Guest Moderator on Moderation
Hello, fellow astronomy educators! I'm Patrick M. Len ("P-dog" to my students), and I am your new Guest Moderator for Astrolrner@CAE. I currently teach physics and astronomy at Cuesta College, a small community college in San Luis Obispo, CA, and have taught physics and... More >>
What Have You Exchanged Lately? What Have You Exchanged Lately?
Building Strength through Numbers
Regional Teaching Exchanges

Most people who know about CAE first think of the Teaching Excellence workshops held at national conferences. The workshops introduce the research-validated curricula & assessment materials developed by CAE and the CATS collaborators... More >>

Curriculum
A New Online Astronomy Resource for General Education and the General Public: A New Online Astronomy Resource for General Education and the General Public: On August 6, 1991, British physicist Tim Berners-Lee created the first publicly available website on the Internet, starting a wildfire that still burns strongly 20 years later. Like the stock market, the World Wide Web has had its fair share of booms and crashes, but over... More >>
Improving Student Engagement at Public Lectures: Improving Student Engagement at Public Lectures:
Assigning a Writing Task
In previous research we found that many faculty state that their top three instructional goals include wanting students to have a life-long interest in astronomy and science (More >>
You Don't Have to Do it from Scratch: You Don't Have to Do it from Scratch:
How to Use Conventional PowerPointTM Lecture Slides in a Learner-Centered Class
Today, many college and university textbook publishing companies provide faculty who adopt their textbooks ready-to-go PowerPointTM lecture slides aligned with their textbooks. Faculty working closely with publishing companies devote considerable time, effort, and resources... More >>
Goals
Goals and Objectives Goals and Objectives

What is the single most important thing you can do to improve your ASTRO 101 course? Take the time to write down the overarching goals for your course. A well-known adage from trainers in physical fitness and advisors... More >>

What What "Makes the Grade"?
Bridging the Gap Between Instructor and Student Expectations
How many times during a semester do we answer questions about grades? "Why didn't I get full credit for the homework?" "How can I get an A in this class?" "What grade do I currently have?" And maybe most frustrating, "I try really hard, why doesn't that count toward my grade?"... More >>
Implementation
CAE Methods & Materials: CAE Methods & Materials:
A "Newbie" Instructor's Perspective
This Month's Teaching Strategy comes to us from Joe Kabbes (Harper Community College). We met Joe at our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshop in St. Louis last summer. Joe was gearing up to teaching Astro 101 for the first time, and thought he might pick something up he could... More >>
Clicker Best Practices Clicker Best Practices

Here are some points on the best strategies and uses of clickers recommended by Dr. Javed Iqbal, who has been instrumental in spreading the use of clickers at the University of British Columbia and other universities across... More >>

Everyone Says Lecturing Doesn't Work. Everyone Says Lecturing Doesn't Work.
Does That Mean I Should Never Do It?
Given the substantial research showing that lecturing is highly ineffective in promoting deep learning, why should anyone who purports to talk about better teaching even discuss lecturing at all? In fact, if you attend professional development workshops for faculty or read... More >>
Lecture-Tutorials: A How-To Guide Lecture-Tutorials: A How-To Guide
In This Month's Teaching Strategy, we are highlighting our expanded Lecture-Tutorials How-To Guide with a more comprehensive set of guidelines originally published a few years back. We know we have so many new members of our CAE community of practice that may not have seen... More >>
Revisiting Think-Pair-Share: Revisiting Think-Pair-Share:
An Expanded "How-To" Guide
After attending the Austin CAE Teaching Excellence Workshop in January, Amy Forestell, UT Austin graduate student, decided to take a look at the Think-Pair-Share Teaching Strategy on our CAE website ("Think-Pair-Share: A ‘How-To' Guide" by Prather, Slater, & Brissenden; April... More >>
Professional Development
Cool Reading to Help You Cool Reading to Help You
Have a Warm Winter While Preparing for Spring
In our Teaching Excellence Workshops, we mention many articles and books worth reading—or, as we like to tell our students, articles and books "worth knowing"—related to teaching and learning astronomy. We published our first Summer Reading List in 2005, revised it for Summer... More >>
Cosmos in the Classroom 2010: Cosmos in the Classroom 2010:
An Invitation to Rethink How You Teach
Join the Meeting this August!

Cosmos in the Classroom, the hands-on symposium on teaching introductory astronomy, will take place this summer from Sunday evening Aug. 1 to Wednesday afternoon Aug. 4, at the University of Colorado in Boulder. As they do every... More >>

Hot Reading to Help You Hot Reading to Help You
Have a Cool Summer While Preparing for Fall
In our Teaching Excellence Workshops, we mention many articles and books worth reading—or, as we like to tell our students, articles and books "worth knowing"—related to teaching and learning astronomy. We published our first Summer Reading List in 2005. We're keeping our... More >>
Learning about Teaching: Learning about Teaching:
An Undergrad's Perspective on CAE's Teaching Excellence Workshops
This Month's Teaching Strategy comes to us from Angie Wolfgang (Cornell Univ.). Angie attended our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshop in St. Louis this summer. Two things that make her perspective so valuable to our community are that Angie is an undergrad and she is a physics... More >>
Revving Up for Fall: Fostering Science Literacy for Our Students Revving Up for Fall: Fostering Science Literacy for Our Students
and Scholarliness in Our Teaching
It's August, and classes are just around the corner. So, before this happens, we'd like you to take just a few minutes (or longer, if you like) to read two Position Statement from the Society for College Science Teachers (SCST). The first is on the More >>
Sizzling Reading to Help You Through the Dog Days of Summer while Preparing for Fall Sizzling Reading to Help You Through the Dog Days of Summer while Preparing for Fall
Our 2009 Updated Reading List
In our Teaching Excellence Workshops, we mention many articles and books worth reading—or, as we like to tell our students, articles and books “worth knowing”—related to teaching and learning astronomy. We published our first Summer Reading List in 2005, revised it... More >>
The Legacy of Moderation Continues: The Legacy of Moderation Continues:
The Astrolrner@CAE Guest Moderator Program
Hi all, I am Amy Forestell from SUNY New Paltz, and I am pleased to be your next Astrolrner@CAE Guest Moderator. I first learned about CAE as a graduate student, when I attended the Cosmos in the Classroom conference in 2007. I am so grateful that there were faculty members... More >>
The Life and Times of a Workshop Junky: The Life and Times of a Workshop Junky:
Why It Pays to Attend More than Once
This Month's Teaching Strategy comes to us from one of our very own NASA Center for Astronomy Education (CAE) community members, Manuel Mon, at Florida Gulf Coast University. Manny and CAE go back together a few years, and we wanted to let him tell his story about being a... More >>
We Keep Growing, and Growing, and Growing: We Keep Growing, and Growing, and Growing:
The Inception of the CAE Great Lakes Regional Teaching Exchange
This Month's Teaching Strategy comes to us from Michael LoPresto at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan. Michael is long-time member of the CAE community, and as you'll read, hosted one our workshops a while back. He'll be talking to us about a part of CAE... More >>
Who’s Our Moderator Now? Who’s Our Moderator Now?
Professional Development through Moderation Continues at CAE
I am Melissa Hayes-Gehrke, senior lecturer in the Astronomy Department at the University of Maryland. I started my teaching career using the traditional lecture-only style, but gradually began to feel like my students weren't really "getting it". After attending a CAE workshop,... More >>

CAE is housed in the Astronomy Dept. at the Univ. of Arizona's Steward Observatory. CAE is funded through the generous contributions of the NASA JPL Exoplanet Exploration Public Engagement Program. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0715517, a CCLI Phase III Grant for the Collaboration of Astronomy Teaching Scholars (CATS). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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