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Jake Simon

  • Assistant Professor

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2323 Osborn Dr

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ASTRO 150: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology


Case Study

I teach ASTRO 150, which is an introduction to astronomy for non-majors.  In this class, we talk about stars, planets, galaxies, the Universe as a whole, and the possibility for life existing beyond Earth.  This class usually attracts a lot of students, as many people are fascinated by space and the “cool things” about astronomy, such as black holes, planets beyond our Solar System, and exploding stars. 

With the rising cost of education across the country, I want to ensure that students at Iowa State are able to enroll in my class and not have to worry about buying expensive textbooks. Thus, when a colleague of mine introduced me to OpenStax Astronomy, I was automatically sold on the idea. While my generation was the first to see the emergence of the internet as a very powerful tool, the current generation of students relies heavily on it. Thus, not only does an open access, online textbook help to offset some of the costs associated with higher education, but it also allows students of this generation to learn through an interface that is more familiar and natural to them.