This project is developing a series of more than 40 videos centered on physical demonstrations that are ideal for use in introductory astronomy courses. The short videos are being made publicly available on the web in a variety of formats and resolutions and easily played or downloaded. The videos are high-quality and contain overlays of graphics and computer simulations to illuminate the underlying concepts. Each video is narrated from a script developed by experts, and thus can be useful in distance education courses as well as in the classroom. Each video is accompanied by interactive instructional materials to engage students in the video.
Intellectual Merit: Concepts from introductory astronomy are identified and ways to illustrate these concepts using demonstration equipment are being developed. Video scripts clearly illustrate the phenomena in a time efficient manner while maintaining the excitement of science. Interactive materials accompany or are incorporated into each video, based on the recommendations of educational research to maximize student learning from demonstrations.
Broader Impacts: The videos and supporting materials are being made available on the web and on DVD images that can easily be downloaded and burned. The videos are hosted on the Astronomy Education web site at the University of Nebraska, a site that is already widely-used by astronomy faculty. Videos are also being hosted on Youtube, Vimeo, and incorporated into the web-based homework system of Norton Publishing. The videos are brief and so are the interactive materials that accompany them. Thus, astronomy faculty can easily incorporate them into an existing instructional structure without disruption. Students respond favorably to the highly-visual nature of the videos, linkages with social media sites, and the brevity of the videos. These videos are being widely adopted and are widely useful in the astronomy classroom and in distance education courses.