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Assignment Details

Fall 2012

Exploring Issues in Science and Technology through scientific methods of inquiry provides a rational, logical and empirical examination of issues.

This class provides a structured way for you to examine and explore all aspects of an issue of interest to you, and how it relates to your interests or discipline.

All topics should be decided during the first weeks of the term.

The selected issues must have a clear and obvious scientific and technological aspect. Use the course portal

to discover issues that have been explored in previous classes to help you be sure your issue has scientific and technological issues.

However the reason that there are issues has far more to do with political, cultural, economic, and religious issues.

You will need to be sure to explicitly address these aspects in your written paper.

Assignments should be submitted to the Dropboxes on ANGEL. If possible, bring an electronic version of the assignments to class on the due date.

I want to make sure you learn how to use all available resources, yet still understand and follow the rules regarding plagiarism. 

Cheating, dishonesty, and plagiarism will not be tolerated and may result in failure of the assignment and/or course.

Please review these articles on plagiarism: "How to Avoid Plagiarism"; "Avoiding Plagiarism  

"Scaffolding"/Peer Evaluation/ Technological and Information Literacy (60%)

List of Five Issues in Science & Technology stated as a stance (2%)

Using a variety of resources, prepare a type-written list of the five most interesting issues in Science and Technology that face us today. There are several magazines (Scientific American, Popular Science, New Scientist, Smithsonian, Science News, Discover, National Geographic) that should aid you in identifying topics to consider. Links are available from the resources button in the banner page of my home page and by clicking here. Be sure the issues you select have an obvious scientific and/or technological aspect you cal explore. Highlight the issue you are most interested in exploring for this class.

Take a stance on each of the five issues you select.

Essay #1  (3%)
Here is a rubric for the first essay.   Submit a type-written double-spaced versions to class when due.  It will be exchanged with a peer for practice with giving effective peer-review.

This essay should serve as a draft introduction to your final written paper.


Forming a Question/ Making a Research Plan Worksheet (5%)
 Forming a Question Worksheet Instructional brochure

This assignment assists you in your initial research of your independent topic. It was prepared as part of the information literacy program, and should be completed as soon as possible after the advanced library training session.  The purpose is to help guide you through the initial steps of forming a question using the library resources only. click on the brochure link above for detailed instructions.

Your assignment is  to attempt to falsify your hypothesis regarding an issue in science and technology. You should include as much detail and exact resources you can at this time, so that I can provide you with valuable feedback, and potentially additional resources to aid your work. You should be working closely with the reference librarians who can help you find appropriate and valuable information. You could consider this worksheet a draft of your annotated bibliography. 

Take this and the other deadlines seriously and you will have a final project that is interesting, informative and earns a great grade!

You should make an appointment with your instructor soon.

Use this link to access FGCU's library guide created specifically for this course.

Mining Resources (8%)  
Resources Rubric
Mine the resources pages I have collected (available from the the course web pages or by clicking on resources pages) to find information regarding your issue that will assist you in preparing your timeline and final project. Consult the rubric for grading details. Use ONLY the resource pages for this assignment.

My goal with this assignment is to get you to look at lots of resources to find out the breadth of what is being said and by whom. It is probably true that you can find a single website that has a whole lot of articles about your issue. Asking you to "mine the resources" is an attempt to help you find that there are other resources in addition to any single great one to help with the task- and if you take all the articles from that site you won't get the breadth of perspectives that you can with a wider search.

Collect data for the following assignments: data and information, examination of the social, political and economic and historical aspects of your issue.

That way you can end up with the assignment showing that you have got all aspects of the issue covered with specific articles for your bibliography. I imagine that you may find that you see a lot of the same information in many places, and that helps you understand what weight to give the information.

It may well be that for the Website evaluation you'll use a particularly rich website "portal" as one of your best pro or con... sites.

Don't forget that this work should be helping you with the timeline too- think about the historical perspective as you select the terms you use to mine those resources for helpful information. 

Be sure to keep good track of your citations as you'll be using these resources for your timeline and the final report.

Here is a sample Mining Resources assignment.

Timeline of Independent Topic (7%) Instructional brochure

Detailed instructions for the timeline assignment

The timeline should be included as an appendix in your final paper. This will allow you to focus on the most pertinent aspects to make your argument within your written report.

Be sure to utilize the brochure for access to helpful resources.  Select the 10-15 most important historical aspects that have led to the development of your issue and describe them in the context of the society at the time of their development. No more than 15 entries are allowed.

These timelines were submitted by students in former classes who gave permission to share with you. They do not meet the newer instructions for provinding a maximum of 15 entries, nor the requirement for a descriptive image.

Even though this does not address the social and economic issues, here is an example of an timeline that is exemplary in how it addresses the scientific and technology aspects of the issue.  This was submitted by a student in a former class who gave permission to share with you.

Even though this does not address the social and economic issues, here is an example of a timeline (about St. John's Wort as a treatment for mild depression) that is exemplary in how it addresses the scientific and technology aspects of the issue. 

 Here is another sample timeline- development of standardized testing.

This exemplary timeline does an outstanding job of relating the issue (nuclear energy) to items of interest to the student (music).

Also remember that APA style for citing the web requires that you provide the 'retrieved on' date.

Data & Information on Topic (8%) Due before all presentations begin
Rubric for Data & Resources

As you research your selected issue, you should will find many resources that provide visual data and information demonstrating interpretations of various aspects of interest related to your issue. You are not expected to create these data, but only use that data and information that you find about your issue.


You will provide those data, complete with references properly cited, before your proposal is due. Use these data and information in your oral presentation, and provide them in your final written product.

Here is a great example of data and information that is presented in a very visual way. If you were to use this sort of survey data, it would be important for you to tell your audience about the details of the survey (i.e. who was surveyed, how many, when and how).



Evaluation of Websites (Pro/Con worksheet 4%) 
Evaluation Worksheet

Use this page to guide you through this worksheet

Select what you consider to be the most valuable websites that are for and against your stance (pro and con) that you have encountered while researching your topic, and complete this critical analysis using the Evaluation Worksheet.  The goal is for you to demonstrate your proficiency in evaluating information, and recognizing the bias of authors. 


Annotated Bibliography 8%

Rubric for Bibliography Instructional brochure

Write a short summary of how each resource relates to your project (not necessarily what the article was about!). Also provide information about the author and publisher for the resource. Use APA format (or some similar science style citation source (like Chicago). MLA is not acceptable.
Consult rubric!!

Here is a description of the types of scholarly works that may help you understand this assignment.  This sheet compares primary, secondary and gray literature.

Here is an exemplary annotated bibliography (about hydrogen and fuel cells for transportation) as a sample.

NOTE: When you copy and paste (do so sparingly) you MUST USE QUOTATION MARKS for the copied work. It should be indented and single-spaced if greater than 4 lines.

Outline (content-rich with complete citations): (5%) 

By this time I want to you to have a well-formulated research program. Submit as complete outline with lots of content as you can provide.  Here is a link to a resource that helps with outlines 

This is our best opportunity to communicate about how well you are going to demonstrate the outcomes and whether you understand my expectations.  Grading this assignment is always contentious because expectations for how critically to grade any work at this early date is different for each of us.  I'll assign a grade (5% of your final grade) based on how well your outline demonstrates that you are making adequate progress toward the final assignment.  The more you are able to explain, discuss and describe your ideas the information you have collected thus far, the more I will be able to provide the feedback you need to earn the grade we want you to earn for the class. The more complete your outline, the easier the first draft and final version will be!  Provide complete citations for material you know you'll be using and explain yourself as much as possible.  You are welcome to submit the outline even earlier for un-graded feedback if you like.  Late submissions may be docked for being late, and will certainly interfere with your ability to provide your best work for the class.  

 Your research must include consideration of political, cultural, economic, and religious issues. Be sure to explicitly address these aspects in your written paper.

My Instructor (2%)

Sign up for a private, individualized session with the instructor. You should have already done the advanced research that was demonstrated during the training session. This assignment gives you an opportunity to consult with the faculty member to help fill in any gaps or discover difficult to acquire material that you may need to support your stance on the issue.

First Version (5%)  

On the day the first version is due, provide TWO copies. One will be reviewed by the faculty member, and the other by a reviewer in the class. The peer reviewed article will be returned to me to be graded and then returned to the author.

Follow the instructions below for the oral and written presentations. By this time in the semester you should be able to submit a well-crafted and nearly complete first version. This is NOT a draft, but rather a version that will (hopefully) require only polishing for completion.

Peer Review of First Version (Draft) (3%) 
Here is a checklist and a peer-review worksheet to help you create an A paper


Other assignments (40%)


Final Products

10%: Oral Presentation

15%: Independent Presentation-Written (Final Version)  Should contain an updated timeline and annotated bibliography

Detailed instructions for the written and oral presentations.

Here is a checklist and a peer-review worksheet to help you create an A paper.

Your research must include consideration of political, cultural, economic, and religious issues. Be sure to explicitly address these aspects in your written paper.

While preparing your paper, consult the rubrics and details provided on this page to gain a better understanding of what is expected, including the following suggestions:

Cathy Muir took the a stance about standardized tests during the Spring, 2006 section of this class.

Here is her second draft- missing some data and information, but providing an  excellent model. 

High Stakes Testing:  Incomplete Indicator for Student Retention

Class Participation and Attendance: 5%

I expect you to pay attention in class and participate in class discussions. The nature of this class requires sincere effort from all participants. Missing classes is to be avoided at all costs. Attendance will be kept and used to help foster class participation. Coming to class late is disruptive and will be noted. If there is any reason you cannot attend class, it is your responsibility to make arrangements with me before class.

Be sure to turn in all class assignments on time by the due date.  For example Essay 1, due at the second class session will be counted toward your participation grade.  

When considering how to demonstrate outstanding class participation during class discussions consider the following:

Relevance: Your comments should pertain directly to the materials at hand. If you have to start off your comment with "this may not relate" you are probably quite correct. Does your comment clarify the issues or does it take us off the track?
Advancement: Your comments should deepen the analysis. They should also incorporate the tools that we are trying to develop. Do your comments move us forward or do they require us to backtrack or detour?
Logical: Are your comments logical? Are they consistent? Do they relate and connect to that which other comments have revealed? Are you drawing upon your interdisciplinary knowledge?
Originality: Are you being creative? Do you point out relationships to other subjects which we have discussed in the past? Are your comments mundane or repetitive or are they new, offering fresh insight to the subject matter?
Factuality: Your comments must be factually based. Until we agree on the facts of the case, analysis is spurious. This does not mean that there is only one interpretation of the facts, it simply means that will want to constantly clarify the facts as we progress.

General Etiquette:
• Please turn off volume on cell phones while in class.
• Please enter quietly and unobtrusively if you arrive late.
• Please participate only in the primary discussion (don't converse with your neighbor - it is distracting).

Summaries (5%)

Each student is expected to prepare a brief written summary of each presentation. 

Each summary should contain 

1.  a summary of the presenters stance 

2.  your interpretation of whether they provided adequate credible evidence to sway your opinion

After you have written all the summaries, take a moment to reflect and consider the issues we have explored. 

The packet of summaries should also contain a brief summary paper (1-2 pages) in which you provide specific examples of whether or not the course helped you achieve the described student learning outcomes.  

We will discuss the non-scientific and non-technological aspects of each of your selected issues. This discussion requires that you prepare to discuss the issues aspects that are political, social, moral and ethical. The discussion is expected to show the various opinions and influences that make up these issues. During the discussion and class summary, you are expected to present discussion questions to guide further consideration of the issues explored in a meaningful way that demonstrates a global consideration of these issues. You will be graded on your participation and attendance.

Below is a list of items that a previous class suggested as a basis for their discussions:

  • How to clarify where we stand on the issue especially if we are partially on the fence on part of the issue
  • Opportunity to ask questions about the issues that came to mind after the class.
  • Resolution to the issues?
  • Pro/Cons for topics?
  • Opportunity to debate: why did you change you mind? Defend your position.
  • Debate/Discuss the future of the issues. Alternatives?
  • Generational, What are we doing now and what will the future be like- How many of these will be issues in the future and how many will fall by the wayside?
  • Who is PAYING for all this?
  • Personal creative solutions?
  • The HOT topics!
  • How did people choose their issues?
  • Thoughts and help for others - write a letter to the next class in your portfolio
  • What are your thoughts about the presentations and how to improve for future presentations?

e-portfolio (5%)

up to 5% additional if you revise any assignments and give updated assignment in portfolio as to why and how it was improved.

Provide in the 3 evaluations (self, course and instructor) what ways we can all do better at communicating in the first place.

You will use googlesites to chronicle your progress in this course.

Instructions on how to set up your site

The template be found at this site: https://sites.google.com/site/fgcuscitech2012/

It is my desire that by critically evaluating yourself, the class, and me as an instructor you can gain a better understanding of the education process and how actions relate to what you get out of your classes. As mentioned in my statement of teaching philosophy, I am attempting to help you learn. It is an active process requiring at least two willing participants. The portfolio will be used to help you reflect and assess what and how you have learned as a result of having taken this class.

This portfolio should be a unique course history of your experiences in Issues in Science and Technology at FGCU.   

For each assignment you should provide your completed assignment, a reflection on what you learned as a result of completing the assignment,and whether or not (and how) completing the assignment and related class activitities has helped you meet the student learning outcomes. Also make suggestions you think that would improve on the assignment (or instructions for it) and helping you meet the course goals.

You also need to provide one image that you think best reflects the assignment or what you learned from completing it.

Once you incorporate what you've learned through the reflection, you may want to provide a final version of your assignment that better meets the rubric and assignment. Be sure you mark that clearly as a revision so I can take that into consideration in awarding participation and other points to calculate your final grade for the course.

In addition, the e-portfolio must contain responses to the following evaluations specifically (completed at the end of the term).:

    Course evaluation   
    Instructor evaluation  

--and a Letter to future students about the class- what they can expect and and etc.

Remember that your portfolio is a step in the process of gaining a quality education.



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Last updated October 9, 2012