Scientific Inquiry and the Nature of Science (NSCI 311)

Writing Integrated with Course Content Sample in Nature of Science 311

Writing Intensive Capstone for Science, Technology and Values:

This is a writing intensive, capstone course. As such, writing, and revising your writing, will be a large part of this course. There will be weekly writing assignments in which you will be encouraged to develop an appropriate writing style for scientific communication. You will be assigned a writing group with which you will be required to work together in and out of class trading assignments and helping one another with your writing. Some assignments will build upon previous ones. For instance, HW4 and HW5 might be rough drafts of a final assignment that is turned in as HW6; alternatively, HW9, HW10, and HW11 might consist of sequential steps in the development of a complete scientific idea that is consolidated and polished into a term paper in lieu of a take home individual exam.  With these assignments that build upon each other, you will receive feedback on the early assignments with the expectation that this feedback will improve your skills at communicating scientific ideas for the final assignment of the series.

As a capstone course, this course will integrate the many ideas you have gained through the other coursesin this Pathway. Our discussions, readings and assignments concerning the nature of science will synthesize many of the ideas found in courses throughout this Pathway (with somewhat greater emphasis on science than technology).  Clearly, the major aim of this course is to give you fluency in the critical thinking, research techniques, and scientific skills necessary to operate in the 21st century. Writing assignments and oral presentations will be an integrated part of this experience. In addition, you will consider the use of science in your own life and in society, the impact of science on your values and world-view (and how that affects your ideas about issues hotly debated in the media and politics), and how the practice of science might be influenced by culture and societal context.

Research notebook (30% [of final grade]):

You are expected to keep a research notebook with all work from the course. This includes notes from whole-class discussions, reflection on readings and case studies, descriptions of your work in research teams, and your findings. We will collect and grade these periodically for completeness. If you miss a day, you are expected to get notes from a member of your research team.