Contributed Talk - Splinter Bildung

Monday, 13 September 2021, 10:30   (virtual Edu)

A Cross-Faculty Undergraduate Course in Astronomy and Astrophysics

B. Poppe ,T. Plaggenborg, J. Kunz-Drohlshagen, S. Harfst, T. Ott, E. Drohlshagen, M. Gehlen, T. Hoffmann, A. Rietze, N. Wassermann, G. Drolshagen
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg

In the last years a cross-faculty course in Astronomy and Astrophysics was introduced at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. The lecture is assigned to the professionalization area and is thus visible and open for enrolment for students of all participating Bachelor programs of our university. It consists of two parts taught in the winter and summer term with 4 hours per weeks (6 ECTS). During the lectures, basic astrophysical topics are covered while in the seminar typical astronomical skills are taught. Attending students are from a variety of different programs ranging from physics and typical MINT topics to studies of humanities such as philosophy, economics or pedagogics. In this work we will summarize the different parts of the course. On additional posters, selected aspects and continuing training options are presented in more detail. The course consists of three major parts: a lecture, a seminar (each 2 hours per week) and a conference simulation as examination phase. Eight to ten lectures per semester are devoted to classical lectures following the general astronomical canon. Here the biggest challenge is the different physical background of the students. We try to cope with this problem by offering three different knowledge levels for students. The mid-level is taught in class (basic mathematical and physical knowledge). Additionally low level (popular science style) as well as higher level (e.g.,more theoretically based methods) lectures and materials are provided online. The remaining lectures of each semester are part of the exam phase which is held as a simulation of an international conference. The seminar is the place to clarify additional questions, learn astronomical skills and to prepare the final examinations. During the seminar an introduction to most astronomical techniques is given (Observation planning, Astro-Imaging, Astrometry, Photometry, Spectroscopy etc.). If weather permits, observation nights are offered with our remote and robotic telescopes (see submission of Hoffmann et al. to this conference). During the last year a self-guided on-line sky learning tour was developed in which the students learn a basic orientation at the night sky with the naked eye (see submission of Gehlen et al. to this conference). The exam is performed as a simulation game consisting of two parts which are performed in groups of two students. Each group is supposed to give a talk on a current topic of astrophysics and to present a poster of an astronomical object imaged by the students with the help of robotic telescopes. The 100-150 talks and posters are presented in a conference style arrangement in different splinter meetings on different major topics and poster sessions. Additionally, the course acts as an entrance level for physics and engineering students interested in our research areas in astrophysics and space environment studies (see submission of Ott et al. to this conference). While the course was originally planned for 20-30 students the popularity could be increased steadily. Meanwhile each semester between 200-300 students of many different programs attending this course making it one of the largest lectures in the professionalization area. In 2020 the course was promoted with a 50.000 € fund of the Lower Saxony ministry for Science and Culture to strengthen the on-line character and to support its long-term development.