Active, flipped and aligned: new (or old) ways of teaching astronomy

Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway, Michael Thomas Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The traditional method of teaching, lectures, have been deemed ineffective in modern, and, especially, large-enrolment university classes. If we are to educate all our students to be successful graduates, we need more effective teaching methods. Words like “active” and “flipped” learning are the current buzzwords, but if these methods are implemented superficially it is unlikely they would lead to improved learning. We will present a transformation of two large 1st year astronomy courses at Monash from the usual lectures+labs delivery to studio-based workshops delivery. Our Physics and Astronomy Collaborative Environment (PACE) studios are purpose-built to facilitate collaborative inquiry-based learning. Our astronomy cohorts consist of a good mix of students: from science and engineering, to music, history, medicine and business. Therefore, the aim of these units is to be accessible to all levels, but challenging enough for those wanting to study astronomy further. This new teaching approach has led to lower failing rates and increased number of students enrolling into 2nd year units. We will discuss challenges encountered and why one should use evidence-based practices when teaching astronomy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event2016 Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) Annual Scientific Meeting - University of Sydney, Sydney NSW, Australia
Duration: 3 Jul 20168 Jul 2016
Conference number: 50


Conference2016 Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) Annual Scientific Meeting
Abbreviated titleASA 2016
CitySydney NSW
OtherThe 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting was held from 3rd to 8th of July and was hosted by The University of Sydney. This was the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Astronomical Society of Australia.
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