*Science, Technology, and Society

Course Overview

As a capstone General Education CORE course, Science, Technology, and Society (STS) examines the influence of science and its applications through technology on individual lives, on society, and on how we view ourselves in the universe.

Intended Outcomes

As a part of this course, you will meet the following SNU General Education Learning Outcome that states “SNU students”

  • …are able to evaluate the assumptions, presuppositions, and arguments (both subtle and direct) embedded in expressions of thought and culture by individuals and society. (Critical Thinking/ Discernment)
  • …can solve problems creatively by drawing upon appropriate principles, methods, and examples from a variety of disciplines, predict possible consequences (positive and negative) of a range of potential actions, evaluate possible solutions in an ethical framework, decide upon the best solution, and successfully plan and execute the chosen solution. (Problem Solving)
  • …can construct rational arguments based on solid evidence acquired from appropriate sources and through the use of the best available methods and can communicate those arguments clearly and concisely using sound rhetorical strategies in both speech and writing. (Effective Communication)
  • …can evaluate developments in science, technology and health on the basis of elementary principles, good scientific practices, and the proper interpretation of mathematical models and statistics. (Science and Technology)

Course Materials

Mandatory (we’ll use in the first three-four weeks)

  • Glover, G. J. (2007). Beyond the firmament: Understanding science and the theology of creation, Chesapeake, VA: Watertree; ISBN-10: 0978718615; ISBN-13: 978-0978718619 (Amazon link)

(Week 5 book – may sub with Henrietta Lacks instead) 

  • Lowe, B. (2009). Green revolution: Coming together to care for creation, Downers Grove, IL: IVP Press; ISBN-10: 0830836241; ISBN-13: 978-0830836246 (Amazon link)

(Week 6 book – may sub with Henrietta Lacks instead) 

  • Safran Foer, J. (2010). Eating animals, NY: Little, Brown and Company; ISBN-10: 0316069884; ISBN-13: 978-0316069885 (Amazon link)

Optional substitute book for the Safran Foer OR Lowe book and be used for a book report rather than the regular weekly assignment (read more below).

  • Skloot, R. (2010). The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, NY: Random House; ISBN-10: 1400052181; ISBN-13: 978-1400052189 (Amazon link)

Look carefully over the above list of books – they are representative of the topics we’ll be covering in the six-week class – which are:

  1. An overview of science, technology and society
  2. Technology and its unintended consequences
  3. Science and religion
  4. Science and Religion; Origins (a brief look at cosmological, geological, and biological evolution as God’s creative mechanism)
  5. Creation Care (taking responsibility as God’s stewards of the Earth)
  6. Eating Animals (a brief look at the moral aspects of what we eat and its effects on society and the environment)

Notice the controversial nature of the last two topics (as well as Origins in Week 3). Yes – online STS might get you to think about some things differently for the first time. The point is not to change your mind on anything but simply help you see how some other people might think about these issues. If any of the last two topics seem unpalatable to you (for instance, the Eating Animals section has some graphic video from slaughterhouses, etc.), then you can opt for the Henrietta Lacks book. So you have flexibility in the last two weeks of the course – you can go through Topics 5 – 6 in the regular manner above OR you can do one of the two topics and substitute the Henrietta Lacks book as a book report (no regular assignments for that week – just the 5 – 7 page book report).

In short, you will need three books, the Glover book and two others depending on your topic preference.


Objectives, Activities, and Points

WEEK ONE - AN OVERVIEW OF THE COURSE, TECHNOLOGY & IMPLICATIONS

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Discuss your understanding of the course topics

(1.1) Complete the Student Statement of Intent to Academic Integrity

(1.2) Introduce yourself to your classmates (forum)

(1.3) Watch the course overview video

(1.4) Discuss your thoughts about the course with your classmates (forum)

10

15

Differentiate between the basic goals of science (S), technology (T) and how they relate to society

(1.5) Present your Venn Diagram to your classmates (forum)

(1.6) Watch the Goals of Science and Technology video

(1.7) Take a mini-quiz over the "Goals"

15


10

Understand the symbiotic relationship between science and technology through a case in point: telescopes

(1.8) Watch the Case in Point: Telescopes video

(1.9) Take the mini-quiz over telescopes as a case in point

(1.10) Present your S/T case in point to your classmates (forum)

10

15

Describe the symbiotic relationship between science and technology

(1.11) Write a paper that describes relationship between science and technology

25

Total possible points for Session One

100

WEEK TWO - THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF TECHNOLOGY

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Describe ways in which we as a society place too much faith in technology(2.1) Watch the Unintended Consequences of Technology video
(2.2) Discuss its implications with your classmates (forum)
15

Explain the unintended consequences of either "Information Technology" or "Technology and War"

(2.3) Watch either the Information Technology or Technology and War video

(2.4) Discuss the implications with your classmates (forum)

15
Understand the nature of light pollution and its effects on society and the environment(2.5) Watch the Case in Point: Light Pollution video
(2.6) Take the mini-quiz on light pollution as a case in point


10

Measure the brightness of the skies and describe the light pollution in a variety of locations(2.7) Watch the video on how to measure the brightness of the night sky
(2.8) Complete the light pollution journal
(2.9) Upload your data to the light pollution GoogleMaps
30
10
Present an action plan to reduce light pollution in your local setting(2.10) Create an action plan on how to reduce the light pollution in your local setting (due at end of Week Three)50

Total possible points for Session Two

130

WEEK THREE - THE NATURE OF SCIENCE

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Understand and describe the meaning and importance of models, theories, laws, hypotheses, and facts in science

(3.1) Watch the Nature of Science video
(3.2) Take the mini-quiz on the nature of science


10

Apply your understanding of the attributes of science to a case in point

(3.3) Write a paper on a particular scientific theory describing the nature of the theory; its associated laws and models; and salient facts

25

Describe how inferences are a vital part of science(3.4) Complete the checks lab in making inferences about the family life of the Whitneys (extensive forum activity)

35

Total possible points for Session Three

70

WEEK FOUR - SCIENCE AND RELIGION; ORIGINS

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Understand and explain the intrinsic differences and similarities between science and religion as a way of understanding the world and describe positive models for science and religion

(4.1) Pre-Discussion: Chat with your classmates about your opinion on the implicit relationship between science and religion (forum)
(4.2) Watch the Science (S) and Religion (R) video
(4.3) Watch the Positive Models video
(4.4) Take the mini-quiz over the Science/Religion and Positive Models videos
(4.5) Discuss your ideas about S/R with your classmates and its implications for the Origins issue (forum)

10


10
15

Describe how some Christians see no apparent conflict between their faith and contemporary science(4.6) Read and respond to the Glover book (forum)
(4.7) Watch the Origins video
(4.8) Discuss your impressions with your classmates (forum)

25

15

Describe your own personal stance on the Origins issue(4.9) Write a paper that outlines your personal stance on Origins25

Total possible points for Session Four

100

WEEK FIVE - CREATION CARE

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Understand the Biblical vision of caring for the Earth

(5.1) Pre-Discussion: Chat with your classmates about your opinion of the importance of the Earth and light of eschatological notions (forum)
(5.2) Watch the Creation Care video
(5.3) Take a mini-quiz over the Creation Care video
(5.4) Respond to the Creation Care video and discuss with your classmates (forum)
(5.5) Read and respond to the Lowe book


10

10
15
25

Describe the effects of our consumerism as a society

(5.6) Present your findings of "There is no away" investigation.

15

Discuss how our society's need for energy affects the environment and list ways in which we can make a positive difference for the Earth(5.7) Watch the One Earth, One Home, One Future video
(5.8) Write a paper about Creation Care
25

Total possible points for Session Five

100

WEEK SIX - EATING ANIMALS

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Understand the source of our food and its implications for animals, the environment, and the poorest members in our society

(6.1) Pre-Discussion: Discuss your thoughts on the moral implications of how we treat animals (forum)
(6.2) Watch the Eating Animals introductory video
(6.3) Respond to the Eating Animals video (forum)
(6.4) Watch and respond to the Food, Inc. documentary (forum)

10


10
15

Describe the effects of our food choices on the treatment of animals

(6.5) Watch and respond to the Earthlings documentary (forum)

15

Present a nuanced justification for decisions behind eating what we eat(6.4) Read and respond to the Safran-Foer book
(6.6) Write a paper about the implications of our food choices
25
25

Total possible points for Session Six

100

SUBSTITUTION (OPTIONAL) FOR WEEKS FIVE OR SIX - THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

ACTIVITIES

POINTS POSSIBLE

Understand the moral ramifications of medical research, new emerging biomedical technologies and its implications for society

(S.1) Read the Henrietta Lacks book and write a directed book report
(S.2) Take a test over the Henrietta Lacks book

75
25

Total possible points for Substitution Option

100


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