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First Year of Online Undergraduate Degree in Astronomical and Planetary Science

Presentation #242.12 in the session Education Programs, Resources, and Research ­— iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
First Year of Online Undergraduate Degree in Astronomical and Planetary Science

In Fall 2020, the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University began its 100% online undergraduate degree in Astronomical and Planetary Sciences. This degree is one of the world’s first online astronomy Bachelor of Science degrees. Offered through ASU Online, this innovative degree will prepare students for many careers including K-12 STEM teachers, technology and science journalism and writing, public outreach, science communication officer, science policy, statistical data analysis, and computer programming. The degree program includes groundwork in mathematics and physical sciences, topical courses focused on diverse fields within astronomy and planetary science, and exposure to the engineering and computational tools and techniques used to carry out research. Students who are interested in going to graduate school in Astrophysics would need additional advanced coursework not currently offered online.

We have developed new online courses and redesigned existing ones in support of this degree. By utilizing innovative learning techniques and technologies for the online realm, we are able to provide an interactive experience for online students. Our existing online introductory astronomy course, also taken by many non-majors, has been redesigned and features new online adaptive and interactive laboratory experiences created with the ASU Center of Education through eXploration (ETX). New project-based courses include the topics of Science Communication and Problem Solving and Programming using Python. Solving the problems of collaborative group work in online upper division courses has benefited from piloting new tools and technology in remotely taught in-person courses during the pandemic. We are also developing research opportunities for our online students including remote and short on-campus experiences. Currently, over 230 students in our degree program are enrolled in courses this semester and interest in the program continues to rise.

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