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NS 304 Science, Technology, and Society
Morell, Louise


Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

Course

NS 304 Science, Technology, and Society

Semester

F2T 2006 DLC

Faculty

Morell, Louise

Title

Adjunct, Senior Instructor

Degrees/Certificates

B.B.A.
M.A.  Ecology, Botany and Scientific Communications
Various alternate advanced degrees in natural science and health

Office Location

Online, telephone

Office Hours

As requested, generally available

Daytime Phone

512 267 6190

E-Mail

Louise.Morell@Park.edu

morell@flash.net

Class Days

TBA

Class Time

TBA

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:
The Demon Haunted World -- Science as a Candle in the Dark  by Dr. Carl Sagan.  Published by Ballantine Books, New York, 1996.  ISBN: 0-345-40946-9.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Available in the course links throughout.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email helpdesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.


Course Description:
Relationship between science, technology, and society. Topics include: the two cultures, the relationship between basic science and technology, the effects of technology upon society, and possible future technologies. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain concepts of how and why science works and the many ways that science and technology affect our lives.
  2. Define and explain the processes of science and scientific inquiry.
  3. Discuss and illustrate relevant impacts of science and technology on individual lives, professions, and the global society.
  4. Demonstrate the analytical and critical thinking skills essential to making informed judgments and informed choices regarding science and technology.
  5. Analyze and determine statements that are based on science versus those that are not.


  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. 1. Explain concepts of how and why science works and the many ways that science and technology affect our lives.
  2. 2. Define and explain the processes of science and scientific inquiry.
  3. 3. Discuss and illustrate relevant impacts of science and technology on individual lives, professions, and the global society.
  4. 4. Demonstrate the analytical and critical thinking skills essential to making informed judgments and informed choices regarding science and technology.
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

Grading is as per the Grading heading below.
 
The midterm exam, course issue position paper, and proctored final exam are the major graded individual items.  In addition, homework assignments and online class participation and discussion also cumulatively account for 25% of the course grade.
 
In online assignments and discussion, research, analysis, study, discussion and debate of specific issues and cases relating to STS are emphasized.
 
Concepts are also developed through the text, online reference resources (provided by the instructor or discovered and shared by the participants), online discussion, online presentation and discussion of the position/ problem solution papers required for the course, etc.  
 
Participants are strongly encouraged to select or volunteer STS related issues and topics for online analysis and discussion.  Because the impacts of science and technology are so widespread and powerful, this gives participants substantial latitude for selecting and analyzing issues that are genuinely meaningful and personally relevant.

Because NS 304 emphasizes conceptual understanding and independent critical thinking, rote memorization of facts is kept to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, participants are encouraged to constructively disagree with the instructor, and with their NS 304 colleagues,  regarding S&T related issues that are examined and analyzed.

As long as participants first seek out, examine, and weigh evidence and arguments for conflicting positions on STS related issues, they are free to reach any position that their independent analysis and personal value system leads them to.  Even if it disagrees with the instructor's position.  (For example, participants are quite likely to arrive at conflicting positions on the desirability of fetal tissue research or human cloning, whether global warming is a real and very serious problem, etc.)  Constructive disagreement in an atmosphere of mutual respect -- "disagreeing without being disagreeable" -- is encouraged.  As Dr. Carl Sagan puts it, "Valid criticism does you a favor."
 
 

Grading:

Grading
Course Grading (in %'s):
Take-home Midterm examination 15%
Proctored* Final  examination 30%
Class online participation & assignments** 20%
Position paper 35%
100%

The grading scale is as follows:
A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0 -59.

**Important Note:     Because of the issue oriented, active learning approach of this course, every participant must actively and regularly participate in the online discussion and classroom.  This will maximize the benefit (and grade) to the individual student and the entire online class.

* Park Proctored Final Exam Requirement
Final examination - An examination will be taken in person during the 8th week of instruction at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location approved by your Instructor where Park University sites are not available.

It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who will be accepted and approved by the instructor.  

Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found at the Park University Website.  For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test.  A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to me for approval.  Failure to take a final proctored exam will result in an automatic "F" grade.

Proctored final examination - A computerized examination will be taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th (or 16th) week at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location.  For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test.  Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Website.  
Other Information on proctored exams:
• It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who is accepted and approved by the course instructor.  
• Approval of proctors is the discretion of the Online instructor.  
• A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval.  
• Failure to take a final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade.  
• Some Graduate Online courses may not require a proctored Final Examination
 
 

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Please send your work in on time.  It is due by Sunday of each week.  Discussions are held throughout the week!

If you need extra time, due to military duty, personal or medical emergency, please let me know. 

If your work is late and I have not heard from you, 10% of the grade will be deducted each day for the particular assignment.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Academic Honesty, Respect and Netiquette
Students are expected to be honest, to be respectful, to be polite and stay on topic.  If a student has a concern, they should write the course instructor.
-----------
Students are responsible for clicking on the link below

http://captain.park.edu/portal/online_course_policies.htm

and thoroughly reading each Online course policy. If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor for clarification.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week
Assignments and Activities
1
BEFORE CLASS 1:
Because this is an accelerated class having just eight class meetings, you are asked to complete the following BEFORE class 1:
Please send an email to your instructor before the first class with the following information –
Your Name, Contact Phone Numbers, Preferred email address, Major, Class Standing (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior), What you want to gain from this class.
Week 1 Reading Assignment:
Read all of: Chapter 1, "The Most Precious Thing" and Chapter 2, "Science and Hope" and Chapter 21, "The Path to Freedom" in text (Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World -- Science as a Candle in the Dark).
Online Class: Introductory exercises. Science, technology and society - introduction to basic concepts. Course overview. Accessing and evaluating information. Class discussion.
Assignment for Week 2
Week 2 Reading Assignment:
Chapter 19, "No Such Thing as a Dumb Question" and Chapter 17, "The Marriage of Skepticism and Wonder." Skim read Chapter 23, "Maxwell and the Nerds" from text (Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World -- Science as a Candle in the Dark)
2
Assignment for Week 3
Read: Skim read Chapter 3, "The Man in the Moon and the Face on Mars" and skim read Chapter 13, "Obsessed with Reality" in Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World -- Science as a Candle in the Dark.
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.
3
Assignment for Week 4
Read: Chapter 12 carefully, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection". Chapter 12 is an especially important chapter in Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World -- Science as a Candle in the Dark.
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.
4
Assignment for Week 5
Read: Chapter 14, "Antiscience" and Chapter 16, "When Scientists Know Sin" in text
"Takehome" Midterm Exam next week.
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.
5
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.
Midterm Exam
Assignment for Week 6
Read: Chapter 5, "Spoofing and Secrecy" in text.
Written assignment -- analyze impacts of science and technology on a career or profession of your choice. (More info on this within the online class.)
6
Technology and the nature of jobs and work. “How will science and technology affect “MY” (your) chosen career and how can I best prepare?” Discussion
Assignment for Week 7
Read: Skim Chapter 23, "Maxwell and the Nerds" and Chapter 25, "Real Patriots Ask Questions" in text
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.
7
Course issue position papers due.
Online discussion of colleagues' course issue position papers begins.
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.
8
Proctored Final Exam
Online discussion of course papers continues.
Written and discussion assignments detailed within online class.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:

Overview and Course Goals by course Author Rich Michaels:




 




"All our science, measured against reality is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have ." Albert Einstein (1879--1955)




 




"The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself." Jacob Bronowski in Magic, Science, and Civilization




 




"It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity."  Albert Einstein (1879-1955)




 




 "Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgments can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud, and from show."   Nobel Prize Physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988)




 




 




Welcome to STS -- Science, Technology and Society (NS 304) online!




 




STS is an issue and inquiry focused science course for nonscientists.  STS emphasizes real life relevance and utility, active learning and independent critical thinking. Rote memorization and scientific jargon are minimized.




  




Two Major Goals of STS:




 




·         Develop and demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the nature of science and technology (S&T) and their impacts -- the how, why and what of science and technology and a "scientific approach".





 




·         Develop and demonstrate the independent inquiry, analytical and critical thinking skills necessary for making informed choices and decisions and apply them to real world science and technology related problems, issues and choices that impact virtually every aspect of our lives and our society.




 




Why Study STS?




 




In this technology-driven age, we must make judgments, choices and decisions everyday that directly or indirectly involve science and technology (S&T).




 




To judge, choose and decide intelligently, we must develop at least a fundamental understanding of science and technology. Furthermore, we must become conscious of how S&T impact what we value and desire as individuals and as a society. Unfortunately, many or most of us lack the understanding to do this intelligently and effectively. Despite living in the most scientifically and technologically advanced society in the history of the planet, by any reasonable standard, most Americans are, in effect, scientifically illiterate -- uninformed and unequipped to deal with S&T.




 




Fortunately, developing a practical and useful working understanding of S&T does not require that we all become scientists or engineers.  Nor must we memorize books full of scientific facts and theories.  The facts discovered by science are products of science, not the essential components of science.




 




STS Emphasizes Fundamental Understanding and Real World Application




 




In NS 304 we will first work to develop and solidify our understanding of the nature of science and a scientific approach. We will then apply that knowledge and some of the very same critical thinking approaches that underlie all of science to analyzing real world problems, issues and case studies involving science and technology.




 




Memorizing the facts and theories discovered by science is de-emphasized.  That is, we will concentrate more on how science discovers, tests, analyzes, confirms and refutes, rather than on what science discovers.




 




Independent student analysis and student critical thinking are the main focus of STS.  By applying them to real world issues and case studies, we will test and practice the attitudes, approaches and critical thinking processes of science .




 




We will examine, discuss and debate online the issues and impacts relating to science and technology that directly (and indirectly) affect us, both individually and collectively.  By focusing on real life issues and topics that directly affect students, STS emphasizes personal relevance along with conceptual understanding, and independent critical thinking.




 




How will science and technology affect my life, my career, and my education?  How do I keep up with the technology-driven rapid pace of change in the workplace, my personal life and society?  What choices are best for me? For society? How can I best learn to recognize, anticipate and deal with the impacts of S&T?  How do I make informed choices? How do I maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impacts of S&T in my life and my career?  How do I evaluate claims supposedly based on science?  How can I tell real science from "junk science"? These are examples of the important questions and subjects areas covered.




 




On an individual, social and global level, the indirect and unintended consequences of S&T are examined, as well as direct and intended impacts. Multi-cultural and gender related considerations and issues are also investigated, especially as they relate to cultural and gender related inequalities in the impacts of technology and in access to technology - the "digital divide".




 




Importance of Objective, Critical Thinking




 




The core of the "scientific approach" is an attitude -- open-minded and objective, yet still critical -- toward testing propositions and claims and acquiring knowledge.  This scientific approach is based on weighing and evaluating facts, evidence and arguments for yourself and independently reaching your own conclusions, rather than relying on authority.




 




This same inquiring, objective, open-minded yet skeptical approach essential to science also helps us understand and manage science and technology in our lives.  This same approach is also a very powerful way of analyzing and addressing the multitude of problems and issues involving S&T that impact us.  It is also a powerful tool for informed citizens in a democratic society.




 




Negative Impacts and Unintended Consequences and the Limitations of S&T




 




None of this means, however, that science and technology are perfect tools for understanding and solving all of the problems that confront us. 




 




Indeed, science and the products of science have caused or contributed to many of our most serious individual and social problems.  Environmental pollution and weapons of mass destruction are two important examples.  So, we will also examine some limitations of science and technology and the unintended consequences of science and technology. 




 












NS 304 is designed to develop your conceptual understanding, and to provide you with the analytical tools and critical thinking skills essential for effectively managing science and technology in your life and your profession.  By the completion of this course, you will be able to: 




1. Discuss and explain fundamental concepts relating to how science works and why science works that way.




 




2. Discuss and illustrate some of the many ways that science and technology affect our lives.




 




3. Discuss and illustrate key characteristics of the nature of science and the fundamental processes of science, scientific inquiry and a "scientific approach".




 




4. Discuss and illustrate with examples relevant to your own life the enormous and pervasive impacts of science and technology on our individual lives, our professions, our society and the world we live in.




 




5. Discuss and illustrate with real life examples how and why technologies almost always have multiple impacts, including unintended consequences, or "side effects".




 




6. Discuss and illustrate with real life examples the strengths and limitations of science - what science can and can not do.




 




7. Demonstrate in depth the independent analytical and critical thinking skills essential to making informed judgments and informed choices regarding:




 




· The countless S&T related issues and problems that confront us individually and as a society.




 




· The multitude of conflicting and competing claims, often claiming to be based on science, that confront us.




 





These learning objectives reinforce Park's Goals for Science Literacy in the Curriculum: 




  • "Understanding of the nature and role of scientific evidence in the pursuit of knowledge."


  • "Recognition of the importance of the scientific method of argument and modeling process."


  • "Appreciation of the origins of scientific inquiry and method and seeing their continuing presence in the mutual interaction between human society and its physical environment."


  • "Acquisition of tools for successful involvement in scientific pursuits of the scientific community.




 




Class Activities




 




Online analysis, study, discussion and debate of specific issues and cases relating to STS are emphasized. Concepts are also developed through the text, online reference resources (provided by the instructor or discovered and shared by the participants), online discussion, online presentation of the position/ problem solution paper, required for the course, etc.  Participants are strongly encouraged to select or volunteer STS related issues and topics for online class analysis and discussion.  Because the impacts of science and technology are so widespread and powerful, this gives participants substantial latitude for selecting and analyzing issues that are genuinely meaningful and personally relevant.




 




 




Because NS 304 emphasizes conceptual understanding and independent critical thinking, rote memorization of facts is kept to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, participants are encouraged to constructively disagree with the instructor, and with their NS 304 colleagues, regarding S&T related issues that are examined and analyzed.




 




As long as participants first seek out, examine, and weigh evidence and arguments for conflicting positions on STS related issues, they are free to reach any position that their independent analysis and personal value system leads them to.  Even if it disagrees with the instructor's position.  (For example, participants are quite likely to arrive at conflicting positions on the desirability of fetal tissue research or human cloning, whether global warming is a real and very serious problem, etc.)  Constructive disagreement in an atmosphere of mutual respect -- "disagreeing without being disagreeable" -- is encouraged.  As Dr. Carl Sagan puts it, "Valid criticism does you a favor." 




 





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This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:10/5/2006 10:52:25 AM