Introductory astronomy course at the University of Cape Town: Probing student perspectives

Rajpaul, Vinesh and Allie, Saalih and Blyth, Sarah-Louise (2014) Introductory astronomy course at the University of Cape Town: Probing student perspectives. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 10 (2). ISSN 2469-9896

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.020126

Abstract

We report on research carried out to improve teaching and student engagement in the introductory astronomy course at the University of Cape Town. This course is taken by a diverse range of students, including many from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. We describe the development of an instrument, the Introductory Astronomy Questionnaire (IAQ), which we administered as pre- and posttests to students enrolled in the course. The instrument comprised a small number of questions which probed three areas of interest: student motivation and expectations, astronomy content, and worldview. Amongst our findings were that learning gains were made in several conceptual areas, and that students appeared to develop a more nuanced view of the nature of astronomy. There was some evidence that the course had a positive impact on students’ worldviews, particularly their attitudes towards science. We also identified a promising predictor of course success that could in the future be used to identify students requiring special teaching intervention.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2018 09:45
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 09:45
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/2019

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