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Abstract Title: Legacy of the Pale Blue Dot: Can introductory astronomy experiences impact self-concept and self-efficacy?
Abstract: As Carl Sagan observed, learning astronomy can be "humbling and character-building." Can it also help students overcome self-doubts, including those arising from stereotype threat, by providing perspective and/or cultivating a growth mindset? To find out, we conducted a study of self-reported student experiences in a large-enrollment general-education astronomy course. Volunteers completed an initial survey probing self-efficacy and growth mindset, a short survey after each lecture probing attitude changes, and a repeat of the initial survey. We identified particular topics and activities with detectable impact by comparing daily survey responses with lecture content. The fraction of students claiming that a class affected how they felt about astronomy, themselves, or humanity was larger during the first third of the course, and each showed peaks for a few specific days. The most distinct peak, registering on all three questions, corresponded to the class containing Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot" video.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A27

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Lindsay House
University of North Carolina Greensboro
159 Dillingham Circle
Asheville, NC 28805
Phone: 8285459275