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Data At Your Fingertips: Using Citizen Science in Undergraduate Astronomy Classrooms
Add to Calendar 2023-03-22T19:45:00 2023-03-22T21:00:00 UTC Data At Your Fingertips: Using Citizen Science in Undergraduate Astronomy Classrooms

538 Davey Lab

Davey Lab
Start DateWed, Mar 22, 2023
3:45 PM
End DateWed, Mar 22, 2023
5:00 PM
Presented By
Molly Simon (Arizona State University)
Event Series: Astronomy Colloquium

Title: Data At Your Fingertips: Using Citizen Science in Undergraduate Astronomy Classrooms

Abstract: With big data on the rise, research teams across a multitude of disciplines are left with more data than they have time to analyze independently. Citizen science is an invaluable tool that involves crowdsourcing aspects of the data analysis process, enabling these research teams to solve problems involving large quantities of data more efficiently while simultaneously taking advantage of the inherently human talent for pattern recognition and anomaly detection. 

Zooniverse (, is the world’s largest online platform for citizen science. Since its inception in 2007, the Zooniverse has hosted over 350 projects with over 2 million registered volunteers globally. In this talk, I will discuss a new set of citizen science investigations intended for introductory astronomy students. These investigations utilize contemporary data from relevant projects active on the Zooniverse platform. I will highlight two separate investigations that focus on the topics of transiting exoplanets and climate change, respectively. Results from pilot testing these investigations with over 2,500 students indicated that the implementation of these investigations led to higher reported data literacy self-efficacy and increased student interest in making meaningful contributions to scientific research. 

I will conclude with a discussion of a new citizen science-based research course developed at Arizona State University as part of the online bachelor’s degree program in Astronomical and Planetary Science. This course highlights Exoplanet Watch, an exoplanet-centric citizen science project run by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In this course, we emphasize the importance of repeated analysis as it pertains to exoplanet ephemeris maintenance. Preliminary results from the course’s Fall 2022 pilot offering showed statistically significant increases across 3 constructs: knowledge of the discipline, research self-efficacy, and institutional sense of belonging. 

Astro Colloquium and 'coffee & cookies' department gathering (3:45-4:00pm)

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