England-2011-syllabus

From Earlham Cluster Department

Revision as of 07:09, 11 April 2011 by Charliep (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Science, Technology and Society - Syllabus

Overview

There is a long history of advances in science and technology shaping the development of human societies. The pace of change driven by technological and scientific advances continues to increase, to the point where those advances are now the defining feature of modern life. This course will examine some of the major milestones of science and discovery and their effects on human societies.

We'll consider the principle discoveries and developments in a wide range of natural science and allied disciplines over the past 300 years or so. As part of this we'll examine the changes those developments and discoveries engendered in society. With this historical context we'll then consider what scientific and technological developments the (relatively near) future may bring and what their effects on human society might be. We'll also look at how society drives science and scientific discovery through Citizen Science projects.

England was the location of many of the important scientific advances we'll examine, London is also one of the places with a concentration of people that think and write about the future of science, technology and society.

The bulk of the work for this course will be reading, discussion, labs, and writing assignments. There will be some lectures but not large quantities of them. This is a four credit course, we'll meet twice a week for 2 hours each plus about four field trips. Some of the other trips we'll take during the program will include small components of material related to this class as well. Science and technology are all around us, we'll leverage that during this class.

This course fulfills the non--lab Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning general education requirements.

Materials

There are two texts for this course:

I expect that you will have acquired these books before arriving in London in January. Both are readily available from e.g. Amazon. Be sure you have the correct editions of both texts.

We'll also read articles or chapters written by some of the following people:

I will provide you with copies of these at the appropriate times.

Field Trips

As part of this course we'll visit a number of places related to the history of science and technology in England. Darwin's home, the site of the first mashup, and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich among them. These trips will be done in the context of our readings and labs, e.g. when we visit Greenwich we'll work on a lab that incorporates the measurement of time and distance, building on Harrison's work to develop a method for determining longitude.

Assignments

There will be four types of assignments for this class: readings, exercises, labs, and writing.

Readings

We'll have regular reading assignments from the texts and from the other sources listed above. We'll discuss those readings as part of our class meetings and during our field trips.

Exercises

Periodically we will work on exercises related to the readings, most of these will require you to learn about particular scientific or technological concepts and demonstrate a basic understanding of them.

Labs

In order to learn how science is practiced and the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific method this course will incorporate a number of labs. Given that we'll have somewhat limited facilities and equipment these will typically involve using fairly basic tools, but as you will see it is possible to do a significant amount of science without sophisticated laboratories and instruments.

Journals

Each week I'll ask a question or two about the material we're covering and ask you to respond in an on--line journal. I'll provide you with a web--based mechanism for these journals so that it's easy for you to write them and for me to read them without the hassle of printing them on paper.

Term paper

During the second half of the semester each of you will choose a topic, either from a list I provide or of your own choosing (vetted by me), to research and write a 8--10 page paper about. I will give you a fair amount of latitude when choosing a topic as long as it's within the bounds of the material we are covering for the course. This will be a survey paper, which assumes a lay audience.

Evaluation

Your grade for this class will be determined using the following rubric:

  1. Exercises, quizzes, chapter questions from the texts - 25%
  2. Labs - 25%
  3. Journal reflections - 15%
  4. Term paper - 20%
  5. Class participation - 15%

My definition of class participation is showing-up, doing the work, and actively engaging your fellow students and myself in the enterprise of learning.

Disabilities

Please let me know as early in the semester as possible if there are any adaptations or accommodations you require, if there is any emergency medical information I should know about, or if you might need special arrangements in the case the building needs to be evacuated, etc . The Earlham policy is:

It is important to follow this procedure.

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
websites
wiki
this semester
Toolbox