Massive Open Online Classes Bring Astronomy To The World

Teaching Methods and Tools
5th Shaw-IAU Workshop
Wednesday Nov. 29, 2023
UTC: 9:50 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Thursday Nov. 30, 2023
UTC: 9:20 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Massive open online classes, or MOOCs, are intended for adult, lifelong learners worldwide. The author has created four astronomy MOOCs that have reached nearly 400,000 people in 180 countries. The core of a MOOC is a set of video lectures, and other pedagogy that is effective in a MOOC includes citizen science projects, peer writing assignments, live Q&A sessions, and the use of social media and discussion boards. Completion rates of MOOCs can be low, since free-choice learners often have jobs, families, and busy lives. However, when the learners complete surveys, do writing assignments, work on a project, or participate in discussion forums, the completion rate increases dramatically. MOOCs can reach audiences in developing countries that other modes of communication might not.

About Chris Impey

Chris Impey is a Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 250 refereed publications and has been awarded $20 million in grants from NASA and the NSF. He has won eleven teaching awards and has taught four online classes with over 400,000 enrolled and 6 million minutes of video lectures watched. Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society and has won its career Education Prize. He’s also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, the Carnegie Council’s Arizona Professor of the Year, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. He has written 120 popular articles on cosmology, astrobiology, and education, two textbooks, a novel called Shadow World, and 9 popular science books.