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Explaining Science: Embedding Science Literacy into a Research-Based Undergraduate Program

Explaining Science: Embedding Science Literacy into a Research-Based Undergraduate Program

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Published by andrew colgoni
Andrew Colgoni, Sarah L. Symons, Chad T. Harvey, Carolyn H. Eyles; McMaster University
Presentation Slides from the Western Conference on Science Education 2011

Science literacy, which we define as the writing, reading and information research skills required to practice science, is a
central component of the Integrated Science Program (iSci) at McMaster University. Concepts developed in the interactive, collaboratively-taught science literacy classes support the research projects that form the basis of learning in iSci. The aim of the science literacy component is to prepare the next generation of professional scientists to communicate not only within academia, but also to the wider community. In this presentation, we will describe the format of iSci and the role of science literacy within it. We shall then discuss the various activities and techniques used to introduce professional skills throughout the four-year program. iSci students gain experience in writing for audiences through two main conduits. One is a science blog: an on-going, individual, low-stakes writing practice activity. The other is a series of research project assessed deliverables: high-stakes, collaborative writing tasks. These take the form of oral presentations, posters, debates, abstracts, lab reports, and papers. Students are supported in developing writing skills (from research notes, through drafting, review, and editing) by feedback from instructors, dedicated TAs, and their peers. Information literacy skills, including source evaluation and information retrieval, are developed from the start of the Program. iSci has strong links to the University Library and students are introduced to primary literature early in the course. We report on results from the first two years of the science literacy initiative, and outline plans for further developments and evaluations.
Theme: Teaching and Learning Science
Keywords: information literacy, science literacy, instruction, interdisciplinary programs, pedagogical design.
Andrew Colgoni, Sarah L. Symons, Chad T. Harvey, Carolyn H. Eyles; McMaster University
Presentation Slides from the Western Conference on Science Education 2011

Science literacy, which we define as the writing, reading and information research skills required to practice science, is a
central component of the Integrated Science Program (iSci) at McMaster University. Concepts developed in the interactive, collaboratively-taught science literacy classes support the research projects that form the basis of learning in iSci. The aim of the science literacy component is to prepare the next generation of professional scientists to communicate not only within academia, but also to the wider community. In this presentation, we will describe the format of iSci and the role of science literacy within it. We shall then discuss the various activities and techniques used to introduce professional skills throughout the four-year program. iSci students gain experience in writing for audiences through two main conduits. One is a science blog: an on-going, individual, low-stakes writing practice activity. The other is a series of research project assessed deliverables: high-stakes, collaborative writing tasks. These take the form of oral presentations, posters, debates, abstracts, lab reports, and papers. Students are supported in developing writing skills (from research notes, through drafting, review, and editing) by feedback from instructors, dedicated TAs, and their peers. Information literacy skills, including source evaluation and information retrieval, are developed from the start of the Program. iSci has strong links to the University Library and students are introduced to primary literature early in the course. We report on results from the first two years of the science literacy initiative, and outline plans for further developments and evaluations.
Theme: Teaching and Learning Science
Keywords: information literacy, science literacy, instruction, interdisciplinary programs, pedagogical design.

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Published by: andrew colgoni on Jul 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

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06/25/2014

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Outline
1. About the Integrated Scienceprogram2. The goals of Science Literacy3. The implementation of ScienceLiteracy
 
What is iSci?
New – introduced September 2009
Interdisciplinary, research-based science program
Limited enrolment program targeted toward highlymotivated, high achieving students
Small class sizes (max. 60/year)
Collaborative, self-directed learning

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