Amanda Bosh wins 2020 Teaching with Digital Technology Award

xTalks Office of Digital Learning
Friday, July 31, 2020

Congratulations to EAPS Senior Lecturer, astronomer and planetary scientist Amanda Bosh, who was one of 30 faculty to receive a 2020 Teaching with Digital Technology Award, co-sponsored by MIT Open Learning and the Office of the Vice Chancellor. These student-nominated awards are for faculty and instructors who have used digital technology to improve teaching and learning for MIT students. This year, nominations were solicited for on-campus and remote teaching. In total, students submitted 487 nominations for 232 individuals, and 30 winners were selected and celebrated at a Zoom event yesterday. 

Bosh teaches three undergraduate courses in observational astronomy: 12.410 / 8.287J (Observational Techniques of Optical Astronomy), 12.411 / 12.611 (Astronomy Field Camp), and 12.409 (Hands-on Astronomy). "This is a very hands-on class," Bosh said of the 12.409 course for the awards event yesterday. "We set the foundation by going through the calculations that an astronomer will make in order to determine what exposure time they should use, when at the telescope. The students were able to do this for the target of their choice and then submit this as a request to the Elliott 24-inch telescope at Wallace Observatory." When she's not teaching, Bosh also coordinates on-campus stargazing with the MIT community through Observe@MIT, and this summer, she helped coordinate over 90 students during their virtual summer undergraduate research opportunities (UROPS), in addition to her own mentorship group. 

Response:

Everyone at MIT found themselves suddenly dropped into fully online, digital teaching and learning so quickly during the spring semester.  The students adapted quickly, and I was pleased to see how enthusiastically they participated in these online sessions!  One of the fun parts of the re-imagined 12.409 was when we deduced the size of the Earth by making simultaneous measurements of shadow lengths; having students around the world made this possible! The 12.409 teaching team—Michael Person, Taylor Safrit, Tim Brothers, and several undergraduate TAs—were very creative and dedicated in quickly putting together new, online approaches to hands-on astronomy!

I greatly appreciate the nominations and the award! We are happy to hear that the new online activities were well-received and accomplished the class goals. I send kudos back to the students, for being so flexible and accommodating!