ON DEMAND: Finding Resonances: Using Biographies of Lesser Known Astronomers That Match a Learner's Identity
Students in the Astronomy 113 on-line asynchronous lecture class have an option to create one of two final projects, one a traditional exploration of a topic in astronomy or this option, create a podcast or video short bio of an astronomer that they identify with. In the assignment I suggest they might find someone who has contributed to the field but is not profiled in our textbook. I suggest they might choose someone who matches them on race, country of family origin, gender, culture, or research topic of interest to name a few possibilities. I have been amazed at the responses. One student chose a Black astronomer who is still active in his field, and wrote to him explaining why he felt his discoveries should appear in the textbook. The astronomer sent back a very nice letter of response which he allowed the student to share with the class. Another identified and researched a prominent Vietnamese astronomer, while another found someone to identify with on the basis of gender identity. I was honestly surprised at the positive response. Students will write a short reflection on their projects as well for their final portfolios and I fully expect to have a few who felt this was a highlight of the course. Several have already mentioned that they really didn't think they would find anyone like them in the field, and their podcasts and videos are enlightening for me as well.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.