Fundamental Python Skills in the Introductory Astronomy Classroom
13:45 - 14:00
Programming is a fundamental research skill in astronomy, and is growing ever-more important to teach earlier in students’ careers. However, in many cases, this task is left to workshops, bootcamps, and extracurricular opportunities (such as REUs or summer schools), or to students to pick up on their own, which can create barriers for many students, particularly those from under-represented minorities. Additionally, while some programming is often included in astronomy courses, it is not often the primary focus of introductory-level courses, leading to a stochastically-gained, heterogeneous understanding that lacks key fundamentals. I have been responsible for developing and teaching two university-level courses that explicitly center programming in an astronomical data analysis context, and am in the process of publishing a textbook aimed at first time programmers as they begin astronomy research. I will use feedback and data gathered from these courses and materials to present lessons learned and a framework for approaching programming fundamentals in the astronomy classroom, including the use of interactive online resources such as Binder, Google Colab, Jupyter-book, and Github Classroom.