Educational Research in an Introductory Astronomy Course
The lecture is a common method used in college instruction, but many teachers are questioning its effectiveness. For this study, two successive spring semester sections of introductory astronomy for non-science majors were studied. The spring 1999 semester was the instructor’s first attempt to incorporate innovative instructional techniques to include “hands-on, minds-on” instruction within the lecture setting. The educational research involved classroom observations, personal interviews, and pre-instruction/post-instruction administration of the Texas Attitude Survey and the Astronomy Diagnostic Test. During the spring 2000 semester, the instructor modified instruction to respond to student concerns from the previous semester. Student scores for the second course showed significant improvement in astronomy content and the institutional course survey, but not in student self-efficacy.