Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

7-7-2011 10:30 AM

Keywords

information literacy, science literacy, instruction, interdisciplinary programs, pedagogical design

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

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.


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Jul 7th, 10:30 AM

Explaining science: integrating science literacy into a research-based undergraduate program

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.