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Incorporating Current Research into Formal Higher Education Settings using Astrobites

By Nathan Sanders, Susanna Kohler, Chris Faesi, Ashley Villar, Michael Zevin and the Astrobites Collaboration

Abstract

A primary goal of many undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in the physical sciences is to prepare students to engage in scientific research, or to prepare students for careers that leverage skillsets similar to those used by research scientists. Even for students who may not intend to pursue a career with these characteristics, exposure to the context of applications in modern research can be a valuable tool for teaching and learning. However, a persistent barrier to student participation in research is familiarity with the technical language, format, and context that academic researchers use to communicate research methods and findings with each other: the literature of the field. Astrobites, an online web resource authored by graduate students, has published brief and accessible summaries of more than 1,300 articles from the astrophysical literature since its founding in 2010. This article presents three methods for introducing students at all levels within the formal higher education setting to approaches and results from modern research. For each method, we provide a sample lesson plan that integrates content and principles from Astrobites, including step-by-step instructions for instructors, suggestions for adapting the lesson to different class levels across the undergraduate and graduate spectrum, sample student handouts, and a grading rubric.Comment: Accepted by AJP. 15 pages, 4 figure

Topics: Physics - Physics Education, Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
Publisher: 'American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)'
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1119/1.4991506
OAI identifier: oai:arXiv.org:1706.01165

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