Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scott Miller's Astro 101 Online Video Demos

Scott Miller, of Sam Houston State University, has a set of video demonstrations for astro 101 that are freely available on the web.


At the recent AAS meeting in Washington, D.C., I attended all of the astro 101 education sessions. It is no surprise that web content is being used widely in astro 101 classes, from research-based education to classes and conferences within Second Life. Scott Miller, from Sam Houston State University, gave a presentation about the use of video demonstrations within the online sections of astronomy that he teaches.

Scott's videos are freely available on You Tube and iTunes. The videos cover many of the key elements from an astro 101 class. They feature Scott and his "assistant" Stephen. The Penn & Teller-style setup leads to predictably cheesy gags and punchlines, but the videos are sure to appeal to some of your students. I have watched about half of them at this point, and despite the corny humor, I found the production values to be surprisingly good. The videos aren't just another talking head in a living room explaining a concept. You know the lecture tutorial on luminosity, temperature and size? There is a video where Scott and Stephen actually use hot plates and tea kettles to demonstrate those concepts.

Scott's AAS presentation was mainly focused on the comparison between online students using the videos and in-class students who didn't use the videos. I wonder how in-class students who also watched the videos would do compared to those other groups?

1 comment:

charles said...

Word study taught

Teachers then test students' pattern knowledge rather than their ability to memorize single words. For example, a teacher might have students work with twenty words during a word study cycle and then randomly test students on ten of those words. In word study, teachers encourage students to compare and contrast features in words. One common method for doing so is by having students sort words. Word study provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words. Knowledge of these patterns means that students needn't learn to spell one word at a time.
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