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W.R. Alexander (James Madison University)
A qualitative study of an introductory college astronomy class specifically for pre-service teachers was made. This study systematically studied details of student-instructor interactions with a specific goal of finding obstacles and challenges that might hinder students making observations of the night sky. Interviews with students and the instructor, as well as classroom observations, were conducted during the entire course. Students exhibited frustration with bad weather as well as confusion about cardinal point directions. A key finding was that certain students, who hadn’t kept up with assignments, were found to be fabricating sky observational data. Students used language for this fabrication of data that suggested that they thought there was nothing inappropriate. The instructor made the assignments vague enough so that the students felt they were within their right to “fudge” the data. Details of student-instructor interactions will be discussed and interpreted.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.