AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 10 Astronomy Education: Middle School to College
Poster, Monday, May 26, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[10.05] Development of an Online Virtual Laboratory for Introductory Astronomy

S. Parete-Koon, E. J. Lingerfelt, L. Dessieux, R. W. Kincaid, M. Browne, J. Meyer (U. Tennessee), M. W. Guidry (U. Tennessee & ORNL Physics Division*), K. M. Lee, C. M. Siedell (University of Nebraska), E. McMahon (U. Tennessee & U. Texas)

We describe a comprehensive set of twenty virtual laboratories for introductory astronomy that have been developed at the University of Tennessee and the University of Nebraska for use in lab-based sequences. These laboratories are fully web-deliverable and built using Flash MX Actionscript and Java technology, and employ professional interface design. The virtual laboratories are designed to be usable in either a supervised laboratory setting, where the student has direct help available from a teaching assistant, or in a distance environment, where the student must rely more extensively on intrinsic help available within the vlabs themselves. Modular design of the vlabs permits an instructor to tailor varying degrees of difficulty by including or omitting individual sections of each lab. This flexibility permits the vlabs to also be used as supplemental interactive material for non-laboratory courses. A central goal of each laboratory is inclusion of at least one section requiring the student to interact with real data available from the Web. We shall discuss both the technical implementation of these laboratories and our experience with using them with students.

*Managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.