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Boston Workshop

Boston Workshop

Saturday and Sunday, May 31 - June 1, 2014
8:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Westin Copley Place, St. George Rooms C and D
10 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

CAE’s Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science Instructors

Presented by Ed Prather (CAE, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona), Rica French (MiraCosta Community College), and Paul Robinson (Westchester Community College) in conjunction with the 224th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Are you a current or future instructor teaching Astronomy or Space Science? Would you like your classroom to actively engage your students in discourse about the big ideas of your class; how evidence is used to understand the universe; and the role of science in society? We invite you to come to our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshop. Spend time with your colleagues becoming an effective implementer of active-learning instructional strategies. Learn how to transform your classroom into a vibrant learning environment that will:

1. increase students’ conceptual understandings
2. improve their abilities to think critically, interpret graphs, and reason about quantitative data
3. motivate them to actively engage in their learning
4. improve their self-efficacy

By participating, you’ll become part of a nationwide community of practice, along with over 4000 past workshop participants and other educators of Astronomy and Space Science. Our CAE community of practice is dedicated to helping each other, in a supportive online environment, through advice, recommendations, and conversation about effective implementation strategies, effective pedagogical resources, science education research, public policy, specific classroom resources, and more. Our Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshops will provide you with the experiences you need to create effective and productive active-learning classroom environments. We will model best practices in implementing many different classroom-tested instructional strategies. But most importantly, you and your workshop colleagues will gain first-hand experience implementing these proven strategies yourselves. During our many microteaching events, you’ll have the opportunity to role-play the parts of student and instructor. You’ll assess and critique each other’s implementation in real-time, as part of a supportive learning community. You’ll have the opportunity to face and conquer your fears of unfamiliar teaching in collaboration with kind and gentle friends and mentors before you try them by yourself in front of your students.

Tier I Workshop topics will include:

  • Creating inclusive classroom environments
  • Strategies to improve retention & diversity of STEM majors & grads
  • Collaborative group learning
  • Interactive lectures, demonstrations, and videos
  • Effective uses of writing
  • Think-Pair-Share (Peer Instruction, Clicker Questions)
  • Lecture-Tutorials
  • Ranking Tasks
  • Assessment strategies (including homework, grading, and exams)

This workshop is sponsored by JPL's NASA Exoplanet Exploration (EXEP) Program and AUI/NRAO, and will feature several new activities designed to effectively bring exoplanets and radio astronomy into your classroom.

We at CAE are continually evolving our workshops based on the needs and recommendations of our workshop participants. If it’s been a while since you participated in one of our Teaching Excellence Workshops, we encourage you to participate again, as they have likely changed. Also, we encourage you to join your local CAE Regional Teaching Exchange.

You do not need to be a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), nor be attending this AAS meeting, to register for the workshop; however, we strongly encourage you to do both! The AAS now offers an Education Affiliate Membership, which is only $87.

You will need to register with the AAS for this workshop so that you can pay the registration fee:

Workshop Organizer:
Gina Brissenden:


View Registrant List

View Location Map (using MapQuest)


We encourage all participants to use the AAS meeting Travel and Lodging page, which contains very useful information on ground transportation, as well as airline discount codes.

Hotel Information

We encourage all participants to stay at the hotels designated for this the AAS meeting.

Site Manager:   Gina Brissenden
Webmaster:   Cornell Lewis