A Course Scaffold for Integrating Science and Culture: A Water Example
Courses, Course Components & Curricular Alignments
The History and Future of Water integrates the sciences and humanities. This course will engage students with different perspectives (e.g, economics, geological, hydrological, societal) on the history of water and guide students to integrate these with their own perspectives based on personal and cultural beliefs. This integrated understanding will lead students to a STEM-informed and culturally-informed approach for thinking about water sustainability and resiliency. Students create a digital portfolio over the entirety of the course that showcases this integrated learning for them as an individual to be shared with other students, thereby learning from one another's cultural backgrounds and experiences. Instructors can easily adapt this course to fit their disciplinary expertise and specific group of students!
This is a digital interactive fiction game for undergraduate STEM students to "choose their own adventure" and engage in, practice, and learn information literacy skills. Within a science-fiction scenario with characters crafted to reflect diversity in science, students will evaluate and act upon provided information types and sources to understand a mysterious set of events that unfold on their arrival at an outpost on Saturn's moon, Titan. Gameplay and post-play reflective activities will require critical thinking, problem-solving, and dealing with ambiguity in order to unravel different potential endings about the existence of an extraterrestrial life form. Thus, effective gameplay will require players to draw upon foundational, meta, and humanistic knowledge domains.
The program portfolio is a student project that spans across the core coursework in the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BS/EVS). Deliverables from multiple core courses contribute toward portfolio creation. The completed portfolio is assessed in the final portfolio course of the program. Students will be able to use their portfolios to demonstrate career-readiness to potential employers and as a personal model and process for professional growth.
We have designed in detail a single course to serve as the first in an envisioned sequence of courses for a certificate in science literacy. There are two phases to the course. An initial case study will exemplify how the scientific process played out in a historical context. In the second phase, students will produce a final report about a contemporary socioscientific issue, present their results to the class, and generate a "publishable" product.
We built a digital resource instrument (a wizard) to assist in the development of life sciences curricula that frame biology competencies in the context of ethical reasoning, since ethical and moral reasoning are important dimensions to college student development (Kohlberg, 1976). Using the "Eight Key Questions" framework developed at James Madison University, we generated a series of questions and examples of how instructors can adapt their syllabi, classroom activities, assessment, and pedagogy to re-center ethical reasoning.
A manifesto, as used in this document, refers to a public declaration of views or stances, acknowledging what is generally already commonly-held knowledge from publications and past conversations, but then presenting new ideas of what should be done. We are crafting this manifesto to make our vision for the future of STEM education clear to others and give examples of what we could someday attain. This document serves as a guide for faculty and administrators in higher education who are interested in widening access and participation. We seek to guide all agents involved (students, faculty and staff) toward achieving their full potential by first identifying, then moving away from traditional models of higher education based on industrial metaphors which focus on production and system efficiency, and standardized inputs and outputs, into an ecosystem-based model, in which agents are seen as assets that enrich a learning environment, valued for who they are, their strengths, their desires, and the dreams they bring in, and they are nurtured to thrive. It is only by shifting our thinking from metaphors of production to ones of growth that we can open up alternative futures.