AAS 197, January 2001
Session 87. Innovations in Teaching Astronomy II
Joint Display, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[87.15] Immersion Astronomy Education at Biosphere 2

C. D. Garmany (Columbia University: Biosphere 2)

Although there has been much discussion about alternative modes to teaching science, few of us have the opportunity to try completely innovative methods. At Columbia University's west campus, Biosphere 2 near Oracle, AZ, one such experiment in astronomy education is underway. Universe Semester can be considered the equivalent of a semester abroad for a physics or astronomy undergraduate. Students from all over the country may attend, and take a full semester of accredited Columbia University astronomy and physics classes. The students live on-site in apartment. They have access to a 24" telescope plus smaller portable telescopes every night. They also have observing time at MDM Observatory, in which Columbia University is a partner. With a faculty of three, and no more than 25 students per semester, this program is a true immersion experience, with immediate feedback and close monitoring of progress for every student. The program is currently in its second semester, so we do not have significant data on how learning is affected, although we will offer preliminary results.

Universe semester operates both spring and fall semester. It offers physics and astronomy majors a chance to immerse themselves in astronomy The availability of some introductory level classes, as well as classes in environmental science offered by the parallel Earth semester provides an opportunity for non-science majors to attend the program as well. For more information, see our web page at www.bio2.edu, and follow the links for undergraduate education, Universe semester.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.bio2.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: katy@astro.bio2.edu

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