NS 304 Science, Technology, and Society
U1T 2008 DL
Michael, Richard P.E., DEE
Adjunct Faculty, Lead Instructor, & Online NS 304 Course Developer
B.S. Mechanical EngineeringM.S. Environmental Health EngineeringRegistered Professional Engineer, Diplomate American Academy of Environmental Engineers (Board Certified Environmental Engineer)
(To avoid posting on the Internet, the instructor's telephone contact information will be provided directly to enrolled students.)
2 June 2008 to 27 July 2008
Textbook: TEXTBOOK Required: 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. Dr. Sagan's book is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology. Jargon is avoided, and no scientific background or prior scientific education is required for readers of this book. The Demon Haunted World is available in many libraries, as well as many larger bookstores. The soft cover edition is priced at about $14.
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
Science for All Americans Online from the American Association for the Advancement of Science available in its entirety online at:
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Educational Philosophy: "Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn."
-Attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Also credited in a slightly different form as a Chinese proverb.
Science as Inquiry
Science teaching should emphasize understanding of concepts and the process of scientific inquiry. Student conceptual understanding is best attained by applying the concepts and the process of inquiry to real world concerns and issues relating to science and technology that directly impact, interest or concern students.
“Understanding science is more than knowing facts.”
Quoted from How Students Learn Science in Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning published by the National Academy of Sciences. Available online in its entirety at:
“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of facts.”
Dr. Carl Sagan –noted astronomer and author of the NS 304 textbook.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
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 embryonic stem cell 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 textbook author Dr. Carl Sagan puts it, "Valid criticism does you a favor."
Course Grading (in %'s):
Take-home Midterm examination 15%
Proctored* Final examination 30%
Class online participation & assignments** 20%
Position paper 35%
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: Our course week runs from Monday to Sunday. Assignments are due at Sunday midnight. (Technically, the course runs on U.S. Mountain time, but you are welcome to submit your assignments by Sunday midnight according to your local time.)
It is very difficult to catch up when you fall behind in an accelerated online course. And our online interaction works best when we are all on the "same page".
However, I do recognize that many of you are actively serving in the U.S. military and may be assigned to TDY, be serving under hardship circumstances, or may have nonmilitary professional obligations, family emergencies, or the like that occasionally force you to delay your participation.
If you ever have circumstances which may delay your submission of work, or your online participation, please notify me via email as soon as possible, and, if your circumstances warrant, I will try to work with you.
IMPORTANT: Anytime you want to receive detailed and direct instructor feedback on anything that you post to our course conference area, please also submit a copy to the Dropbox for that week. If there is no specific Dropbox that applies to your posting, please send a copy of your posting to your instructor via email. When doing this, please include the following in the subject line for the email: "NS 304 Feedback?"
This includes any assignments that you are asked to post to the conference area, any questions that you post, or anything that you post for which you would like direct individual feedback.
Additional information on NS 304 course policies will be communicated in the course Welcome Message which will be emailed to everyone, and/ or posted in the online course.
Students are responsible for clicking on the link below and thoroughly reading each Online course policy. If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor for clarification.
Online Course Policies
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
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 Page 85-87
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog
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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86
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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88
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 .
Last Updated:4/29/2008 2:58:50 PM