The widespread interest in astronomy can be tapped not only to increase knowledge but also to illuminate the nature of science with the interdisciplinary nature of astronomy and its natural links with technology and instrumentation. The tutorial Astrolab has been developed in that context. It allows undergraduate students in sciences to plan and to perform real-time observations with a remote telescope, and to transform those observations into a scientific result. It’s not a ‘recipe’ but a learning-by-doing tutorial to acquire research competences and to understand the complexity of practical work through the interdisciplinary nature of astronomy.
The goal of Astrolab is twofold:
a) to introduce students to the scientific research method in general by working scientifically through project development and preparation, data acquisition and treatment, towards analysis and conclusions.
b) to enhance interest in science studies by making them more attractive and getting the students actively involved in the “learning” process.
The objective of this workshop wa to give future tutors a thorough one week training to enable them to direct and monitor students performing their Astrolab projects. 16 participants were selected from: Kenya (2), Malawi (1), Nigeria (1), South Africa ( 5), Tanzania (2), Uganda (2), Zambia(2), and Zimbabwe(1). Additionally, there were 7 faculty members from the University of Zululand participating. The lecturers were coming from France (1), Nigeria (1) , UK (2), and Zambia (1).