Scientific Literacy

Fall 2009

Vanderbilt University

Instructor: Prof. Pratim Sengupta


Office: 245 Wyatt

Phone: 6-3513

Syllabus: Click here

About This Course

Scientific literacy is a very broadly defined and debated notion. The main goal of this course is to provide students with several "state-of-art" opportunities to explore and investigate the different aspects and meanings of scientific literacy, both from an epistemic perspective, as well as from the perspective of designing technology-based learning environments to foster (various aspects of) scientific literacy. The course will highlight two core aspects of scientific literacy: scientific thinking, and scientific modeling. Students will learn about various aspects of the "process" of scientific research, build computer-based scientific models of phenomena, and design computer models-based learning environments with the goal to teach some important aspect(s) of scientific literacy. No prior knowledge of programming is required at all.

Course Objectives

1. To investigate and understand various aspects of scientific literacy through active construction of computer models of scientific phenomena;

2. To investigate and understand the processes of "thinking scientifically";

3. To investigate the role of technology and tools in scientific thinking and scientific expertise;

4. To design prototypes of learning environments (LE’s) focused on fostering scientific literacy - in particular - LE’s that make connection between different scientific domains explicit.

Special Notes

1. This course has an active lab component. Lab sessions will be held in the Mind, Matter and Media Lab at Room 247, Wyatt Center

2. Links for the readings for each week that are NOT from the textbook will be uploaded on the class website.