The collaborative OTS project will develop a framework of strategies for STEM professionals to use during public engagement outreach events. The project builds on the theory of change that if scientists have training and access to the right resources then they will gain confidence and an understanding of how to flexibly engage with their audience. This two-phase study will work with scientists to create effective strategies that are field-tested across a variety of activity types, leading the project towards a validated OTS model for scientists. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, STEM Research Center at Oregon State University, The Portal to the Public Network, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory are conducting this collaborative effort. The goal of the project is to shift scientists from communicating science to people towards engaging people with science, using effective assessment techniques that allow scientists to modify their engagement with the audience on the spot, or during the engagement event.
The STEM Research Center will lead the research efforts of the project while collaborating on the development. R&D activities during this four-year project include: