AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 135 Making Astronomy Real
Oral, Thursday, January 8, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, Regency V

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[135.08] The Second Generation of USC's Self-Paced, Web-Based Astronomy Courses

C.K. Lacey (U. of South Carolina)

Prof. John Safko created and developed the Astronomy Center at the University of South Carolina (USC). The Astronomy Center involves faculty, staff, and a complex computer system to administer and run self-paced, web-based introductory astronomy courses with laboratories taught by instructors for undergraduate students. The Astronomy Center currently serves over 1,000 students per semester, and the self-paced nature of the course is a big draw for students with complicated school and work schedules. I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages, for faculty and students, of the self-paced courses at USC.

The Astronomy Center is in the midst of completely rewriting and redesigning both the software and hardware configurations from scratch, using our many previous years of experience with the self-paced, web-based system. I will describe this ongoing major effort to rewrite the computer system using open software. This project is a collaboration between the Astronomy Center and USC's Advanced Solutions Group (ASG), who are responsible for the actual rewriting. The new system will provide more flexibility in changing and adding to the curriculum, future expansion capability, robust backup and system operations, and the option of using the software for different courses.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: lacey@sc.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.