Research-Based Science Education
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Research-Based Science Education for Undergraduates

RBSEU is a collaborative program between the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Indiana University to develop and study the effectiveness of research-based, educational (RBSE) curricula in astronomy for entry-level undergraduate courses. The goals of RBSE curricula are threefold:

  • to teach that science is a process of discovery, not just a body of knowledge
  • to increase positive attitudes towards science, and towards pursuing STEM careers, by giving students an opportunity to do authentic research
  • to develop important skills such as critical thinking, teamwork and goal-driven work skills that are important in any career path.

The ultimate goal is to help instructors at other institutions, in astronomy and in other fields, to implement the developed curricula, and to develop their own RBSE curricula, either based upon their own research or from data archives.


Astronomy Learning Activities for Tablets - New!

(For more information, click HERE. The modules have been updated to html5 to run on tablets as well as on computers.)
  • Nova Search
  • Find novae in the Andromeda Galaxy
  • Star Clusters
  • Determine the ages of star clusters
  • Astronomy in Color
  • Produce color images from astronomical observations
  • Proper Pair, the Drake Formula Calculator, and the Planet Temperature Calculator coming soon to a tablet near you!

Original Web-Based Modules Developed at IU

(These modules use Flash and are no longer being supported.)

NovaSearch is an online research module using data from the WIYN 0.9m telescope at Kitt Peak. Students are able to view sequences of images of the center of the Andromeda Galaxy to search for novae. New data are added each year. Once novae are found, students can estimate the brightness over time to obtain a light curve. NovaSearch is available for use.

Proper Pair allows students to explore the Hipparcos catalog of stellar parallaxes anroper motions to determine whether close double stars are physical binaries or chance superpositions. Proper Pair is available for use.

Astronomy in Color is a simple, web-based tool to create color images from monochrome, multi-wavelength images of astronomical sources. Students can create an image of M33 (the Triangulum Galaxy), a spectacular face-on spiral galaxy that is relatively nearby or images of other astronomical sources.


RBSEU was funded through a CCLI grant from the National Science Foundation



Indiana University

727 East 3rd Street, Swain West 319, Bloomington, IN 47405-7105
Phone: (812) 855-6911

Last updated: 20 November 2010
Comments: astdept [at] indiana [dot] edu
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