Experiential Education on the Edge: SETI Activities for the College Classroom
In a sophomore-level, interdisciplinary honors class, we introduced students to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence through assigned readings, student presentations, classroom discussions, and multiple experiential activities. In this paper, we present four of these novel experiential activities. In the first, students suddenly find themselves trying to make contact with an unknown person who is simultaneously trying to contact them. The second is a course-long role-playing exercise patterned after a “first contact” simulation held annually at the CONTACT: Culture of the Imagination conferences. The third and fourth are parts of a unique final exam where students must respond as a group to two surreal encounters, one being a “2001”-style monolith that shows up, as in the film, entirely without warning or instructions. For the final, we also developed an assessment rubric appropriate for this kind of open-ended test. We conclude by discussing recommendations for implementing similar experiential education activities, both specifically and in spirit, in other classes.
Crider, A., & Weston, A. (2012). Experiential Education on the Edge: SETI Activities for the College Classroom. Astronomy Education Review, 11(1), 010202.