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Session 57 - Instrumentation & Information Science.
Oral session, Thursday, January 08
An astronomy survey course for \ 200 non-science majors, offered in spring 1997 at Michigan State University, was supplemented with an internet site. Web access was voluntary, with the exception of about 10% of the homework problems. In addition, all of the answers to homeworks, in-class activities, and tests were available only on the website. The website included web versions of all the usual hard-copy handouts, as well as lecture notes, links to other astronomy URLs, and a frequently-asked question (FAQ) site taken from student email to the professors. MSU students can access the Web through \ 30 PC labs on and off campus, and through private PCs in the dorms where most of the MSU students live.
A mid-semester open-ended feedback form (for class credit) was administered in-class to the students, with 151 respondents. Their responses to the question ``About how frequently do you access the course website?'' will be correlated to their grade at that point in the course, their gender, and their purpose for accessing the website.
These results will be interesting to astronomy teachers who would like to offer additional resources and more lines of communication to their students at low cost and without abandoning traditional methods.
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Program listing for Thursday