Adaptive online science course uses rich content and game-like simulations to explore one question: Are we alone?
Smart Sparrow, a platform that lets educators create rich, interactive and adaptive learning experiences, recently announced in collaboration with ASU Online the launch of HabWorlds Beyond, a new type of online course. HabWorlds Beyond teaches students about space exploration, climate science, and the search for life on other planets. Centered on one of the most profound questions in science -- does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? HabWorlds Beyond uses game-like simulations to expose students to the thought processes and practice of science in a fun and engaging way.
HabWorlds Beyond is derived from the fully online class Habitable Worlds (SES 106/GLG 106) – ASU Online’s successful adaptive course that was developed over three years of collaboration between education technology company Smart Sparrow, ASU Online, and Professor Ariel Anbar of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. Beginning in fall 2014, college professors from any university will be able to teach HabWorlds Beyond in their classrooms, using the Smart Sparrow platform.
“With all the problems facing our planet, we want people to understand the power and limitations of science,” says Anbar. “Large lecture courses can describe scientific results but they can’t teach how science really works. “We wanted to create a new way of teaching science to people who aren’t necessarily science majors, so that they can be smarter voters and decision-makers about the future of our planet.”
Anbar and course designer Lev Horodyskyj hypothesized that the right online course could do more than a large university lecture-lab course in giving students a taste of the scientific process. To that end, HabWorlds Beyond is not a collection of taped lectures, multiple choice questions and PowerPoints. Instead, just like Habitable Worlds, it features game-like simulations, immersive virtual field trips, and a semester-long individualized quest. Students create and destroy stars, hunt for planets, search for signs of life, and travel around the world and back in time, to explore the limits of Earth’s habitability. As of today, 1,500 ASU students have taken the course, and its popularity continues to grow.
For more information please visit: habworlds.org.