Rachel Freed
Rachel Freed

Thursday 23rd June, 2022

Talks & Workshops

Rachel Freed – Self-efficacy, community and identity in student-focused research programs

  16:30 - 16:45

Remote telescope access has recently grown to be a large part of many formal and informal science education experiences globally. Through the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Sky Partners program and the Skynet Telescope Network education programs, thousands of students have easy access to research-grade telescopes. Through the use of these telescopes students gain a sense of connection and ownership of their astronomy projects. Additionally, they quickly increase their self-efficacy around the use of these scientific instruments. The results of a newly published astronomy self-efficacy survey will be provided here, along with details from interviews of students in astronomy research programs, and from observations of astronomy labs in which students use their own data collected on remote telescopes to study the fundamental concepts of introductory astronomy. For many students, their first access to these telescopes and to basic research projects is a jumping off point leading to longer-term involvement in astronomy and research and integration into the Community-of-Practice around the use of small telescopes for astronomical research. As educators become more familiar with teaching the process of basic astronomical research and publication to their students, they are beginning to build programs in their institutions to expand the opportunities for this astronomical research. We are in a period of exciting growth for high school and undergraduate level astronomical research with professional telescopes, helping to promote an interest in science and an understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry within this expanding community.

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