Instruction as a Scientific Experiment: A Professional Development Case Study of a Professor Changing the Introductory Astronomy Course for Non-Science Majors
This article describes a case study of a faculty member who wanted to change his introductory astronomy course for non–science majors to include more learner-centered pedagogy. To help him achieve this goal, he was assisted by an instructional specialist and the author. The professor approached the overhaul of instructional style as a scientific experiment. Using interview and observation data, the motivations and expectations of this professor and the implementation of the professional development are explored. Results indicate that persuading science faculty to view their teaching as a scientific experiment or research project may be a valuable avenue for professional development. Results hint that professional development for faculty can benefit from professional developers who are also well vested in the content area taught.