Landing on Mars: A Cross-Institutional Research-Based Seminar Series

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Engaging students in research can take many forms and such research-based learning is widely perceived as beneficial for student engagement and learning outcomes. Here, we report on our experience with organizing a cross-institutional seminar series dedicated to the question of where on Mars to land a coming NASA Mars mission. The seminar series was connected with the professional process for answering the same question and was organized through teleconferences and an internet site together with local discussions at seven participating institutions. We report on our own reflections as well as student reactions collected through group interviews at five participating institutions. We discuss the results against a model for research-based learning. Coordinating the seminar series across seven institutions and several time zones proved inspiring but challenging. Many specific aspects of how the class was organized could have been improved, but students generally reported high levels of engagement derived from the cutting-edge research nature and current relevance of the subject matter.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)328-360
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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