Previous abstract Next abstract
As we approach the twenty-first century, the college population is becoming increasingly diverse. Research suggests that gender, racial and cultural differences can affect a student's response to different teaching methods. How can undergraduate astronomy courses be better designed to accommodate more of these diverse learning styles?
This question was the focus of my participation in the University of Maryland's summer Curriculum Transformation Project. Selected on the basis of their proposed projects, twelve faculty members explored the issues of diversity in a seminar format for six weeks. Through group readings, awareness of common problems across the disciplines were examined. Individual exploration allowed each participant to focus on specific course transformation. I examined the research of Sheila Tobias presented in ``They're Not Dumb, They're Different: Stalking the Second Tier" and ``Revitalizing Undergraduate Science: Why Some Things Work and Most Don't."
Application of this summer's work to introductory astronomy for non-science majors has resulted in an attempt to accommodate a greater variety of learning styles. Changes in my course include the use of electronic mail through Listserv in a class of 200 students, introduction of more cooperative learning activities, an improved, user-friendly syllabus, rewards for active participation in lecture, enhanced visual presentations, and promotion of a less competitive classroom atmosphere.
Monday program listing