Core objective #9: Science, technology & society

Objective: Advanced areas of focused inquiry

Brief description of learning objective: Students will be able to connect science and technology to real-world problems by explaining how science relates to problems of societal concern; be able to distinguish between sound and unsound interpretations of scientific information; employ cogent reasoning methods in their own examinations of problems and issues; and understand the applications of science and technology in societal context.

Standards or Requirements for Verification

The objective of CO9 is to ensure the student understands how profoundly scientific and technological developments affect society and the environment. In contrast to CO4, which pertains to the natural and physical worlds, CO9 is meant to develop an understanding of human interventions in those worlds and their impact on societies. Courses addressing this Core Objective might focus on historical or contemporary applications of scientific knowledge and their effects. They could examine issues such as the impact of technological advances on work, recreation, communication, economic systems, relationships, health, privacy, and environmental sustainability, among other things. Instructors should be mindful of prior knowledge that may be necessary to understand the concepts examined in the course and either include relevant foundational knowledge or require appropriate prerequisites or corequisites. The course syllabus must be explicit about how students in the course will obtain and/or use knowledge about science and technology in the context of its societal effects.  Where appropriate, majors are encouraged to develop this objective within their courses, and if possible to integrate this objective into the Core Capstone course.

This Core Objective will typically be satisfied with a single course that devotes at least 1 credit of student effort (e.g., 15 hours of instruction) to this objective, or that has prerequisite courses that cumulatively devote sufficient attention to the objective.

Courses or sequences satisfying this Core Objective should:

  1. Include the Core Objective, together with its brief description, on the course syllabus in its original form.
  2. Include 1 or more student learning outcomes addressing this Core Objective on the course syllabus, along with other student learning outcomes appropriate to the course.
  3. Identify in the course syllabus the teaching techniques and student experiences that will help students acquire the competencies described in the Core Objective.
  4. Assess whether students have acquired the competency described in the student learning outcomes and use methods for collecting and analyzing data that can be reported to the Core Curriculum Board.

Capstone courses that integrate CO9 should include among their student learning outcomes some that specify, advance, or broaden this Core Objective.

Some examples of approved student learning outcomes and assessment methods are listed later in this document. Faculty may incorporate 1 or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.

Suggested student learning outcomes and assessment methods

Faculty may incorporate one or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.