SC210 CED--Science and Technology in Society--Summer II 2012
Online, Asynchronous

The Textbooks

Course Description

Course Objectives

Course Policies

Grading System

Course Schedule

Prof. Thomas A. Easton

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OFFICE: Rm. 108


OFFICE PHONE: 859-1331

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Volti, Society and Technological Change, Worth, 6th ed., 2009 (ISBN: 978-1429221214)

Easton, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Science, Technology, and Society, McGraw-Hill, 10th ed., 2012 (ISBN: 978-0-07-805027-5)

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SC210 surveys the relationship between science and society and considers a number of current scientific and technological issues. Students who complete the course will understand the place of and restraints on science, technology, and the scientific approach in modern life.

See "Course policies" below for details on testing and grading.

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After completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Explain the nature of science and technology
  • Explain the sources of technological change
  • Explain the restraints on science and technology in modern society
  • Explain how science and technology affect the conditions of human life

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Since this course is online in asynchronous mode, there will be no classroom meetings and no live chats. Students are expected to do the reading, participate in the discussions on the Discussion Board, and produce seven weekly papers (5-10 pp.). Papers should represent both thought and research; use EBSCO (available from the Thomas College library's web page). No paper will be due the first week.

The student's grade will be based equally on the seven papers and participation.

Students who plagiarize papers will receive zeros for the work in question, with no makeup opportunities.

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A (94 - 100)      A- (90 - 93)
B+ (87 - 89)     B (83 - 86)    B- (80 - 82)
C+ (77 - 79)     C (73 - 76)     C- (70 - 72)
D+ (67 - 69)     D (63 - 66)    D- (60 - 62)
F (below 60)

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Week of July 2 The Nature of Technology Volti, Ch. 1 -- Lecture Notes
The Scientific Approach Easton, Introduction
Paper #1 (due next week) In both science and technology, something is accepted as true if it can be demonstrated.  Is it true that colors exist?  Devise a way to convince a red-green colorblind person (who cannot tell the difference between red and green) that there is in fact a difference.
Week of July 9 Sources & Effects of Technological Change Volti, Chh. 2 & 3 -- Lecture Notes
Science, Education, & Religion Easton, Issue 2
Paper #2 (due next week) What part does education (at all levels) play in promoting technological change?
Week of July 16 Scientific Knowledge and Technological Advance Volti, Ch. 4 -- Lecture Notes
Diffusion of Technology Volti, Ch. 5
Paper #3 (due next week) Choose a technology and explain why it might be considered subversive (meaning undermining of established authority).  Explain how (with examples) fears that a technology might be subversive might hold back the development of the technology.
Week of July 23 Technology, Energy, & the Environment Volti, Ch. 6 -- Lecture Notes
  Climate Engineering Easton, Issue 4
Reviving Nuclear Power Easton, Issue 5
Paper #4 (due next week) Research the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and identify the technological issues that led to the disaster.  Explain what might have been done differently.
Week of July 30 Medical & Biological Technologies Volti, Ch. 7 -- Lecture Notes
  Genetically Modified Foods Easton, Issue 11
Paper #5 (due next week) When the demand for a medical technology exceeds the supply, how should society determine who gets to be treated? Ability to pay? "Merit" of the patient? Who should decide?
Week of August 6 Medical and Biological Technologies Volti, Ch. 8 -- Lecture Notes
Transhumanism Easton, Issue 19
Paper #6 (due next week) Just how far should people be allowed to go with using technology to modify the human body?  Relate your thoughts to Paper #3 above.
Week of August 13 Work in Nonindustrial Societies Volti, Ch. 9 -- Lecture Notes
Technology and Jobs Volti, Ch. 10
  Technological Change & Life on the Job Volti, Ch. 11
Robots vs. Jobs Easton, New Issue Handout
Paper #7 (due next week) It seems fair to say that technological change will continue and that jobs will continue to be lost. How should people currently in college prepare for such changes in their future? Use the potential development of nanotechnology or robotics as an example.
Week of August 20 Printing Volti, Ch. 12 -- Lecture Notes
The Electronic Media Volti, Ch. 13
Thinking Machines Easton, Issue 15

Syllabus last modified April 18, 2012.