For the past dozen years, the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill has been developing a unique, survey-level astronomy curriculum, primarily for undergraduate students, with the goal of significantly boosting STEM enrollments on a national scale, as well as boosting students’ technical and research skills. Called “Our Place In Space!” (OPIS!), this curriculum leverages Skynet—a global network of ≈20 fully automated, or robotic, professional-grade telescopes located at some of the world’s best observing sites. We have recently received $1.85M from NSF’s IUSE program to expand OPIS! nationwide and $3M from DoD’s NDEP program to integrate a global network of 5-m to 30-m diameter radio telescopes into Skynet, and to develop a follow-up curriculum to OPIS!, called “Astrophotography of the Multi-Wavelength Universe!” or MWU! Both grants come with funding for participating instructors.

1.
T. M.
Brown
 et al, “
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
,”
Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific
125
(
931
),
1031
1055
(
2013
).
2.
For additional information about OPIS! and implementing it at your institution, see https://tinyurl.com/opis-workshop, https://tinyurl.com/opis-links, and/or email introastro@unc.edu
3.
M. M.
Wooten
 et al, “
Investigating introductory astronomy students’ perceived impacts from participation in course-based undergraduate research experiences
,”
Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.
14
(
1
),
010134
(
2018
).
4.
A. S.
Trotter
 et al, “
Factors Contributing to Attitudinal Gains in Introductory Astronomy Courses
,” in
Robotic Telescopes Student Research and Education (RTSRE) Proceedings
,
Hilo, Hawaii
,
23-27 July 2018
, edited by
M.
Fitzgerald
,
S.
Bartlett
, and
S.
Salimpour
(
2019
), pp.
1
15
.
5.
https://tinyurl.com/opis-videos, accessed Aug. 20, 2021.
AAPT members receive access to The Physics Teacher and the American Journal of Physics as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.