Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and Materials Science and Engineering
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
2020 TLT Faculty Fellow
Focus Area: Student Engagement
McEntaffer, professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and Materials Science and Engineering, and his team will embark on a project with the potential to impact thousands of Penn State undergraduate students who take introductory astronomy courses each year. Their goal is to overcome the physical limitations of engaging with astronomy course materials by utilizing a virtual reality (VR) application called “Titans of Space.”
“We want this project to provide students with physically engaging content that conveys complex astronomical concepts through self-led demonstration,” said McEntaffer. “By augmenting traditional lecture-based content with virtual reality-based lessons, we believe we can then assess student interest and engagement as well as their understanding of the material.”
McEntaffer’s team will divide its work over this academic year into three phases, initially working with a small group of students and assessing their individual experiences with VR-based astronomy coursework. In spring 2021, the final stage will use assessment results from the first two for the creation of VR content that will be incorporated into an ASTRO 001 lecture on the solar system.
Jenay Robert – Project Lead