VASTS Online Course Overview

Program Description:  

The VASTS online course consists of eight NASA-developed modules compiled to expand students’ knowledge of aerospace history, science, exploration and technology, and prepare the Scholars for participation in a Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. Learning will take place through weekly reading assignments, simulations , viewing video segments, and participating in online discussions. Learning will be demonstrated through completion of case study analyses, technology design activities, real-world math application problems, quizzes, participation in online discussions, essays, and a final scientific report.  These activities are submitted in sequential order every two weeks and posted through the VASTS online course website.  All activites within the modules are reviewed and evaluated by a certified Virginia educator through the online system with detailed feedback provided.


Facilitation of Online Coursework

The Master Teacher will facilitate the VASTS online coursework for approximately twenty-five (25) Scholars in preparation for the potential participation in the Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, VA. The purpose of the VASTS program is to provide online coursework for the Scholars to acquire knowledge of NASA, space exploration, and key STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. The top 180 performing Scholars from across Virginia who successfully complete the coursework will attend a seven-day, residential program in which they will undertake a teamed-aerospace mission design project at LaRC. The objective of the VASTS coursework and Summer Academy is to create a pipeline to STEM-related higher education studies and aerospace-related fields by providing relevant content and experiences on aspects of designing and conducting a human mission to Mars. Students will be exposed to NASA scientists, technologists, mathematicians, and engineers who serve as career role models. Master Teachers for the Summer Academies will be chosen from instructors facilitating the online coursework. Master Teachers report to Ian Cawthray, VASTS Education Program Specialist – Virginia Space Grant Consortium.


Master Teacher Stipend:

$2500 for online course content grading and forum participation


Period of Performance:

November 22, 2013 – May 31, 2014


Responsibilities:

  • Grade modules submitted by the scholars bi-weekly and final project using prescribed performance rubrics.  Online course module assignments that the students complete are due every two weeks beginning in December.  See Student Important Dates for module content due dates. 
  • Provide personalized and timely feedback (within one week of submission) of assignments using the Moodle online coursework management website. Input grades into the system. Include comments regarding exemplary work and areas that need improvement when necessary. Provide examples of how work could be improved.
  • Monitor scholar’ performance, quality of assignments, online posts, and replies within the discussion forums. Contact students individually as needed. Send Ian Cawthray copies of correspondence via email.
  • Ensure online discussions are appropriate and topic-relevant. Address students individually through email if breach of online etiquette occurs. Send Ian Cawthray copies of such correspondence via email.
  • Maintain performance data and tracking of student performance using the online system. Send Ian Cawthray a bi-weekly report (spreadsheet) on students who are falling behind on assignments and noting the follow-up taken.
  • Correspond with VASTS scholars and NASA mentors through online discussion forums, synchronous chat sessions, and email through the Moodle site.
  • Complete Mid-Course and Post-Course evaluation surveys.

VASTS Coursework Training:

A mandatory training session will be held at Virginia Space Grant Consortium in Hampton, VA on November 22nd, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.


Travel:

Travel for the training session will be reimbursed and lodging with meal allowance provided, if needed, for teachers living outside a 50-mile radius from Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Compensation rate is $0.565 per mile. Lunch will be provided during the training session.  Lodging will be provided on Thursday evening upon request.  VSGC will make arrangements and payment.