From Scientific Inquiry to Global
Applications- Development of a
Two-course Sequence in
Integrative Sciences
Amy Jessen-Marshall
Chair- Integrative Studies Program, Assoc. Prof of Life Sciences
Wendy Sherman Heckler
Assoc. Prof of Education
Lisa Marr
Asst. Prof of Life Sciences
Otterbein (Who are we?)
Integrative Studies Program: Sciences
Role of AAC&U- Shared Futures for Global Learning and LEAP
Process of designing a development model in the sciences
Models for curricular design implementation and assessment.
Examples of courses and learning objectives
Recommend strategies for implementation on campuses
– Professional Learning Communities as a model for faculty and
curriculum development
• Where we are today and where we are going
– New Mission: Goals and Learning Outcomes
• Comprehensive Liberal Arts college
• Westerville Ohio
• Traditional Undergraduate population of
approximately 2400.
• Graduate and Continuing studies
approximately 800.
Integrative Studies is:
• The core curriculum of liberal learning at Otterbein.
• Ten courses spread across all four years, conceived
• Two required Integrative Studies Science Courses
• Make integrative connections across disciplines, helping to
engage complex problems with interdisciplinary knowledge.
Topics for discussion:
• It is increasingly important in today’s global society
for all students, including non-science majors, to
become scientifically literate and understand the
processes and limitations of science and the role of
science in a global context.
• What models for course design are most successful
in developing scientific literacy for non-science
• What themes or content areas are most important to
develop scientifically literate global citizens?
First questions:
• Is science literacy important for all students?
• Why?
Educated society
Consumer issues
• (quantitative literacy)
• (Critical evaluation)
• (Support for science in politics)
• (NSF funding)
Jury of peers
Science is COOL!
Otterbein’s IS Science
The Science Division at Otterbein decided to reform
our non-majors science curriculum within our
general education program (Integrative studies) (2004)
We noticed a dichotomy in how we taught science.
Department mission for Life Science:
• Focus on scientific method.
• Engage student in the process of science through active inquiry.
• Create a community of scientists.
• Create scientifically literate citizens.
Why aren’t we applying this to all students?
Why just our majors?
Where we started:
Specific goals for new Integrative Studies science courses:
Shared with Majors courses:
• Focus on scientific method.
• Engage student in the process of science through active inquiry.
• Create a community of scientists.
• Create scientifically literate citizens.
Unique to Integrative Studies courses:
• Reduce anxiety
• Focus on science as a “way of knowing” (Mode of inquiry)
• Team teach courses with an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary
• Engage students to consider the role of science in global context.
Is science too hard?
Rosalind Franklin
Watson and Crick: Structure of DNA
Not meant to be pedantic statement.
(Common complaint of IS science courses
and premise of Emeriti chemistry professor)
Is science harder than other subjects to learn?
Where does the perception that science is “hard” come from?
But is it unlearnable and should we give up?
What do we know?
1. Students have anxiety/avoidance/phobia about
science,particularly concerning math.
Sheila Tobias has written since the 1980s about the
impact of Math anxiety on students perceptions of
Educators in physics have studied anxiety related to
this discipline and found math phobia a major
2. Students bring misperceptions about science
into the classroom.
•Students tend to approach
science as a fact based
field that needs
to be memorized, and the
language is too foreign.
Content, not process is
• Students tend to bring information from earlier
experiences into the classroom, that is very
difficult to “unlearn.” This sets up blocks to
accepting different information.
Example: Evolution is defined as “Survival of the Fittest”
The strongest, and fastest survive.
True or False?
Evolution is gradual change over time.
The mechanism of evolution is Natural Selection.
Natural selection shows that those individuals
most capable of leaving offspring are the most
“reproductively fit.” Not necessarily the strongest
or fastest.
3. Students bring different skills and histories to
the classroom.
In Cross and Steadman’s “Classroom Research,”
a discussion about students prerequisite knowledge and learning
strategies points out that students may be quite successful
in one discipline, yet not have the skills to cross that divide
into a different discipline.
This raises the very important point, that it is not
that general concepts in Science are “Harder”
than other subjects, it’s that science is
“Different” than other subjects.
•Students may not have the skill set, or the mindset to see
that difference.
•They get trapped in memorization of unrelated facts.
•They fear the use of math.
•They set themselves up for frustration.
So… what can we do?
Goals of new science courses:
1. Introduce science into the Integrative studies
curriculum earlier. (Move one required course to the
sophomore year.)
Rationale: Reduce science anxiety by modeling that science is not
so “Hard” that a student can’t handle learning college science until
their upper level years.
2. Introduce inquiry based labs into each course.
Rationale: To refocus student learning from fact based science to
the METHODS of science focusing on the principles of scientific
3. Team teach courses with faculty from different
scientific disciplines.
Rationale: Model how the scientific disciplines approach
related problems from different perspectives and with different
techniques. We want our students to discover that science method is
universal, and that scientific theories are even stronger when
evidence is available from several fields of study.
Key point:
•Non-majors won’t have the opportunity to experience multiple fields
of science if we are using Introductory Majors courses as the way to
fulfill science requirements.
•Students end up with a small sampling of content in one
field, where the level of content is designed for majors.
•Interdisciplinary courses• Model how the scientific disciplines approach
related problems from different perspectives and with different
• Science methods are universal
• Scientific theories are even stronger when evidence is available
from several fields of study.
Courses offered to date:
•Origins (Paleontology/ Molecular Biology)
•The Atom (Chemistry/ Physics)
•Why sex? (Ecology/ Molecular Biology)
•Exobiology (Physics/ Microbiology)
•Water (Ecology/ Chemistry)
•Faculty driven topics•Content is not the driving goal!
So… have we been successful?
One of our main focuses has been impact on
science anxiety.
A series of statistical comparisons were made to assess levels of
pre-existing Science anxiety in the populations, and to correlate
variables related to anxiety.
Of the students who responded,
•157 reported some level of science anxiety
•170 reported no significant anxiety
Variables considered to determine the underlying
factors that correlate with anxiety.
1. Current GPA
2. Year in College
3. Major (grouped by Academic Division)
4. Previous High School experience in science courses.
5. Gender
Gender compared to Science Anxiety
Science Anxiety relative to Sex
s 100
u 80
s 40
Fe m a le
Ma le
Anx ie ty
No a nx ie ty
P-value: 0.0001
Statistically significant correlation reported
Udo, M., Ramsey, G., Mallow, J., (2004) “Science Anxiety and Gender in Students
Taking General Education Science Courses”. Journal of Science Education & Technology,
Vol. 13 Issue 4, p435-446
But did the students actually
learn more about scientific method?
Results of course comparison for the ability to define scientific method.
Definition of science method: Pre and post class scores
# of students
240 start
240 end
350/400 start
350/400 end
Class Impact on Science Method
Definition codes
Average Value
Class number
What have we learned?
Gender is a strong predictor of science anxiety, and is closely
tied to experience in High School science.
Anxiety is difficult to alleviate, as evidenced by both versions
of our non-majors science courses.
The majority of students regardless of science background,
see the value of learning about science in today’s society, and
understand that participating in labs is a major part of learning.
Focusing on science method and modeling its use
through labs and team teaching does result in
statistically significant improvement in the ability
to define the process of science method.
Team teaching is difficult to assess, although overall it has been
reported as positive. Individual courses are more or less successful.
small correlation that women are more critical of team teaching.
All classes are effective at increasing student awareness and
interest in science related current events.
Where do we go from here?
Focus on upper level courses!
Three years ago- Otterbein selected by
American Association of Colleges and Universities
to be one of sixteen schools in a joint project:
“Shared Futures: General Education and Global Learning.”
Piloting courses throughout our INST Core curriculum
focused on Global Learning. (Not just science)
Two INST Science Courses:
Developmental Model
Lower level course: Fundamentals of scientific
Upper level course: The main theme of this course is
to show how science and scientific data are
foundational to society, through the exploration of a
current global issue. The course will explore how
science is applied to the issue, and how other
influences also impact the issue.
INST upper level courses
with a global focus
Definitions and Learning Objectives
Initially adopted AACU’s definition from Diversity Digest:
“To produce global thinkers - students who reach beyond
the classroom to apply their developing analytical skills
and ethical judgment to concrete challenges in the world
around them.”
INST upper level courses
with a global focus
Interested science faculty interested in developing a pilot
class formed a Professional Learning Community
Nine faculty, Four Departments
(Life and Earth Science, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and
Biochemistry, Education-Science Ed)
1. Definitions of Global Learning
2. Common Learning Objectives
3. Curriculum Implementation and Assessment
Met biweekly throughout the academic year 07-08.
Shared our ideas / efforts / syllabi / activities
Presented: Common Hour, Center for Teaching and
Learning, e-portfolios
INST upper level courses
with a global focus
Definitions and Learning Objectives
Current Working Definition:
“To foster student understanding and appreciation of
science and its cultural significance. To empower
students to develop and apply scientific and analytical
skills both in further understanding of themselves and
human nature and in an ethical context towards solving
global, national and local problems.”
INST upper level courses
with a global focus
Definitions and Learning Objectives
Common “Global” Objectives :
Understanding of
• data as the foundation of course topic
• the active building of scientific body of knowledge: new
advances, future challenges
• how the issue differently affects parts of the world
• how cultures react to the global issue differently
• how student decisions/actions impact the issue (locally and
• ethical considerations
We chose a global issue
as the focus of each course
• Each professor free to choose own issue.
• Each course will apply scientific principles to an
issue facing the world today.
• Each course will also explore how other nonscientific influences also impact the issue.
Global Issues?
• Share your ideas of possible topics
Global Focus Courses offered to
• INST 350: Biological Sciences-Plagues and Pandemics
– Course is in its 5th offering this quarter
• INST 400: Earth Science & Society- Coral Reef Resources
– Course is in its 3rd offering this quarter
• INST400: Earth Science & Society-Energy Resources
– Course will be offered for the 2nd time winter quarter
• In development: INST 360: Energy and Society
• Others ?
Course Example 1 :
INST400: Earth Science and Society –Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are at the same time one of the most beautiful
and one of the most endangered biomes on earth. They
have historically provided food, shelter, and other
resources for people, yet they are now facing world wide
decline. This course examines reef issues from the vantage
points of different countries and regions.
This course explores the science of coral reefs, including
the physical (oceanography, mineralization) and biological
(diversity, community ecology) aspects. Then we apply
this scientific understanding to learn about the value of
reefs, the current challenges facing reefs, and the potential
actions we could take to conserve reefs.
Course Example 1 : Specific objectives from
the syllabus
To understand/ learn about…
• the science behind coral reefs and that several
different fields contribute to that science.
• the services provided by reefs and the current
trends in coral reef health.
• how reef issues affect various regions of the world
• a specific country in depth and complete
assignments about that country and its reefs.
• how one’s own actions have impacts on this
global biome.
Course Example 2 :
INST350: Biological Sciences- Plagues and
This course is focused on the global nature of infectious
diseases. Discovering how plagues and pandemics, both
historical and emerging, impact human health and play a role
in shaping societies is an important piece of understanding
your role as a global citizen. Infectious diseases do not
recognize state or national boundaries. The interconnected
relationship among microbiology, virology, medicine,
epidemiology, sociology, economics, politics and history
provide a framework for making decisions in today’s world.
This course will engage you in issues that affect your personal
health, the health of your community and the health of people
across the planet.
Course Example 2 : Specific objectives from
the syllabus
By the time you complete this course you should be
able to:
Identify and describe what types of microbes are considered pathogens.
Describe historical plagues and pandemics that shaped civilizations.
Identify key advances in medicine and technology that contain or prevent pandemics.
Describe newly emerging and reemerging infectious agents that influence
current societies.
Compare historical events to current events and draw inferences for future pandemic
Identify current challenges in human health care and treatment of infectious
disease that impact future pandemic risks.
Consider how society and culture recognize and respond to pandemic threat, based
on societal practices and resource availability.
Reflect on how your major and other courses integrate into these topics and
what role you play in human health, personally and as a global citizen.
Surprising Insights…
• Some students don’t know what are countries.
– Chosen countries included: Africa, Puerto Rico, Hawaii,
Guam, Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean.
• Many students don’t know global geography.
– Chose to study coral reefs in Germany, Japan and other
countries without reefs or even land-bound.
• Many students have a distorted view of US and world
– Some students think 25%-50% of US Budget goes to foreign
– Most students think the US pop is 15-20% of global pop
(range 5-33%)
Coral Reef Course:
Interactive Exercises
• Country project (handout)
Application of material to a new setting
Global Perspectives
Research, oral presentation, and writing skills
– Each student gives five 1 min presentations on
country chosen: country intro, organisms, uses of
reef, reef health, country’s policies + plans re reef
• Bingo exercises: invertebrates, fish,
countries, human use of reef resources uses
(8 am class: first 6 to bingo get donuts)
Plagues and Pestilence:
Interactive Exercises
• Jig Saws (sample in handout)
• Rationing vaccines + meds during an
epidemic/pandemic: ethical considerations
• Epidemiology: figure out patient zero
• Characteristics of the perfect pathogen for
• Selection pressure lab: Colored M+Ms
(prey) and silverware (predators)
– still trying to design simple pathogen/host lab
Writing In the Plagues and
Pestilence Course
• Initial Reflection Essay: Background knowledge of
and personal experience with infectious diseases.
• Historical ID Paper: Each student chooses a book to
read: Barry’s Great Influenza or Fenn’s Pox Americana
• Emerging Disease:
Each student chooses a disease -factors affecting emergence: land use, climate change, human
travel, cultural activities, pathogen details
• Position Paper: Avian Flu – should we devote resources
now to prevent excess deaths in the future, or is the risk of an
avian pandemic too distant?
• Final Reflection Essay:
perspective, life, etc…
Effect of course on student’s
Use of DVDs to aid in Global
• In order for students to experience other cultures
– to go places, see things, and learn more about
the diseases within the context of the
• In addition, some historical events/ case studies
are less dry (more alive) when seen on the screen
as opposed to read in a book.
DVDs seen in Coral Reefs Class
• Grouper Moon (grouper over fishing),
• Silent Sentinels (global warming and reefs)
• Stewards of the Reef (sharks and shark finning
• Blast fishing (film by anthropologist re dynamite
fishing )
– FYI: dynamite in water kills fish but also destroys coral
• Marine Debris: the stuff that washes up on remote
atoll, dissect bird guts and see all the netting and
DVDS seen in Plagues
and Pestilence
• Rx for Survival, by Bill and Melinda Gates
• Pandemic Facing AIDS : 5 individuals’
• stories with HIV in 5 different countries
• Influenza 1918
• The Plague
• Typhoid Mary
• Ebola Hunters
• Avian Flu
• Malaria Fever Wars
Student comments on DVDS
• “I think that as a white, middle class American it is very easy to
separate people living in other countries from myself, to ‘other’
them, to dissimilate our coexistence entirely, particularly when
you only hear about them. Statistics, numbers, graphs: these
things do not adequately describe human suffering the way the
Farmer’s novel and images do. The AIDS video in particular
struck me, because the people in it were not so unlike me…”
• “Seeing how other people’s lives were devastated by disease
caused me to feel a sense of connection with them on a very
fundamentally human level.”
• “As a student, I appreciated the world perspective ….to watch
first hand accounts from people who live or treat infectious
diseases daily in different countries.”
Several specific case examples
• Reefs: Tuvulu Atoll--Global warming
raising sea level, crops failing, citizens
ultimately will have to leave, but are not
“Refugees" as no war involved.
• Reefs: Shark fins-- increased market due to
increased affluence, but as shark
reproduction similar to seals, population
being decimated (soup-weddings, fins dried)
Several specific case examples
• Plagues: 1991 Outbreak of Cholera in Peru traced
to Chinese Ship emptying of bilge water off coast
….Ship brought cholera-laden plankton from China
• Plagues: teeth from several mass grave sites
provide DNA to identify Yersinia pestis in all 3
pandemics was the same strain
– Reference: Drancourt et al. Emerging Infectious Diseases,
Vol.13, No.2, Feb 2007 (332-333)
• Plagues: experiment in Uganda on HIV
transmission to hetrosexual partners….volunteers
weren’t told HIV status
– Reference: Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power
Student feedback: Plagues
“After this class, I am much more informed on
the understanding of how new discoveries
are made in the field of sciences. Even
though it sounds strange and a bit naive, I
always had the thought that scientists knew
everything and could figure everything out if
not the first time around, then definitely the
second. However, I now know that there is a
lot of trial and error that goes into new
discoveries, and that there is a lot science
can not answer.”
& More Student feedback:
“I really enjoyed the class. I thought it was
pleasantly different than anything else I had
taken at Otterbein. It really broadened my
view of the world and made me feel
privileged for my education and
environment. I would recommend the class to
anyone at Otterbein.”
& More Student feedback:
“I knew there were viruses and bacteria, but I
had no idea what the difference was between
the two, I also didn’t understand prions and
parasites…Not only did we learn about
these pathogens, but we learned about
how they reproduced, how our body
responds, how antibodies are created (and
how they work), and pathogens’ hosts,
reservoirs, and vectors. Before this class I
had not even heard of those terms. Now, I
can explain how the whole process works….”
& More Student feedback:
“I think we learned just as much about
infectious diseases and the healthcare
systems of other nations as we did about
the US. I think having this global focus was
very beneficial because the majority of the
time, we are concerned only with our lives,
which means our nation.”
& More Student feedback:
“I adored this class. I felt that it has been the most
effective INST class I have taken. I feel it achieved
its main goals by causing us to think critically about
issues outside ourselves while helping us to think
of ourselves as ‘world citizens’. This class was
incredibly effective in connecting ‘me’ to ‘them’
and allowing me to realize that as an educated global
citizen I have a responsibility to be informed, pay
attention, care, and take action. This is the first
class that has caused a personal change of view
in my life. The class, and others like it, are what
the INST program should really be about and are
definitely valuable assets that the college needs to
pursue further. I am thrilled, as a senior, that I was
able to have this experience before graduating”
& More Student feedback:
“I used to pay little or no attention to epidemics and
such occurring in other parts of the world. I simply
saw it as ‘their’ problem and felt, because I lived in
the US, that I had nothing to worry about. However,
after taking this course, I have come to realize that
there is nothing ‘us’ or ‘them’ about infectious
& More Student feedback:
“It was a pleasant surprise for me to be able,
in this class, to learn about science through
a variety of other subjects (history,
economics, etc. ) because it made the
concepts easier for me to comprehend. I
surprised myself when I learned that by
understanding the basics of biology I was
able to understand ideas and processes
that originally seemed complicated and
How to Assess INST Goals?
INST goals: Understanding of…
• data as a foundation of the course topic (societal
issue or problem)
• the active building of a scientific body of
knowledge: new advances, future challenges
• how a global issue affects different parts of the
world differently
• how different cultures react to the global issue in
different ways
• how student decisions/actions (in the role of
scientist or citizen) impact the issue
• ethical considerations
Preliminary understanding 1:
Nature of scientific practice and knowledge
• Science is an active and contemporary
practice; while it encompasses more-or-less
stable ideas, science is not a collection of
dead facts. There is no one definitive
scientific method, but scientists tend to solve
problems in systematic ways and operate
under shared beliefs about the ways in which
the natural world operates.
Preliminary understanding 2:
Relationship between science, society, and
• There is a relationship between science as a
human practice, and the larger society. On the one
hand, this implies that the people who practice
science are influenced by and influence the society
in which they live. There is a practical relationship
in the sense that society at large helps determine
what scientific research questions get asked and
funded, and how results get applied. In the
broadest sense, the relationship between science
and society can be described as: the natural world
constrains society, and understanding the natural
world (the broad goal of science) gives us more
Preliminary understanding 3:
Application and limitations of science to
address societal issues and problems
There is a relationship between science and societal
problems and issues. Science can be a powerful
means of explaining and predicting natural
phenomena. However, natural phenomena are
typically only one aspect of a societal problem or
issue, and so solutions often require that scientific
understandings are integrated with other kinds of
human knowledge.
Preliminary understanding 4:
Relationship between science and global
• Many contemporary societal issues and problems are
global in scope. This means that many human
actions need to be understood beyond their local
implications; decisions made one place impact and
are impacted by decisions made in many other parts
of the world. In another sense, the global scope of
societal issues and problems means that scientific
knowledge meant to inform solutions to issues and
problems may get integrated with other kinds of
knowledge differently in different parts of the world.
How to Assess INST Goals?
INST Goals
• Understanding data as a foundation of
the course topic (a societal issue or
Preliminary Understandings
3. Application and limitations of
1. Nature of scientific practice and
Understanding of the active building of
a scientific body of knowledge: new
advances, future challenges
Understanding of how a global issue
affects different parts of the world
Understanding of how different
cultures react to the global issue in
different ways
Understanding of how student
decisions/actions (in the role of
scientist or citizen) impact the issue
Understanding of ethical
science to address societal
issues and problems
4. Relationship between science and
global society
4. Relationship between science and
global society
2. Relationship between science,
society, and technology
2. Relationship between science,
society, and technology &
3. Application and limitations of
science to address societal
issues and problems
Science Course Assessment
• Views on Science-Technology-Society
(VOSTS) assessment (Aikenhead & Ryan,
1992): Pool of 114 multiple-choice items
– Students’ conceptions of the nature of
scientific knowledge and practice
– Students’ acceptance of sociological
descriptions of scientific practice
– Students’ ideas about the interrelatedness
of science, technology and society
• Definitions
– Science
– Technology
• External Sociology of Science
– Influence of Society on Science/Technology
– Influence of Science/Technology on Society
– Influence of School Science on Society
• Internal Sociology of Science
– Characteristics of Scientists
– Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge
– Social Construction of Technology
• Epistemology
– Nature of Scientific Knowledge
Otterbein Survey Questions
• Definitions
– Science (1)
– Technology
• External Sociology of Science
– Influence of Society on Science/Technology (3, 4)
– Influence of Science/Technology on Society (7, 8, 9)
– Influence of School Science on Society
• Internal Sociology of Science
– Characteristics of Scientists
– Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge (5, 6)
– Social Construction of Technology (10)
• Epistemology
– Nature of Scientific Knowledge (2)
• Defining science is difficult because
science is complex and does many
things. But MAINLY science is…
– Students in global courses moved toward
defining science as a body of knowledge,
rather than as a process or societal institution
(41% on pre-survey and 54% on post-survey)
– Students who confused science and
technology (application of science) was small
to begin with and did not change (7%)
• When scientists investigate, it is said
that they follow the scientific method.
The scientific method is:
– Majority of students defined the scientific
method as “questioning, hypothesizing,
collecting data and concluding”; trend only
increased (59% on pre- and 70% on post)
– No student (pre- or post-) said that “there is no
such thing as the scientific method” (2% of high
school students responded this way in the original
• A country’s politics affect that country’s
scientists. This happens because scientists are
very much a part of a country’s society (that is,
scientists are not isolated from their society). Your
position is:
– A majority of students said that politics affects scientists,
for various reasons (78% pre- and 89% post-); Very few
said politics does not influence scientists (8% pre-; 4%post)
– Most common reasons chosen for why ‘politics affects
science’ was that it would dictate policy and funding,
and that politics affects everyone in society generally,
including scientists
– The number of students who said that politics affects
scientists because scientists “try to help society” – while
small – nearly doubled from pre- to post- (7% to 12%)
• Some cultures have a particular
viewpoint on nature and man.
Scientists and scientific research are
affected by the religious or ethical
views of the culture where the work is
done. Your position is:
– The percentage of students who agreed that
scientists are affected by religious or ethical views
increased from 58% to 82% in the global courses
– Most students saw the individual (rather than
cultural norms) as the most important
determinant of how these religious/ethical views
would affect scientific research
• Scientists trained in different countries have
different ways of looking at a scientific
problem. This means that a country’s
education system or culture can influence
the conclusions which scientists reach.
Your position is:
– Students in the global classes changed their
answers from pre- to post- survey: most students
disagree to most students agree
– Students agreeing with this statement (for various
reasons) increased pre- to post- from 45% to 62%
of global classes
– Students disagreeing with this statement (or,
• A team of scientists in any part of the
world (for example, Italy, China or
Nigeria) would investigate the atom in
basically the same way as a team of
U.S. scientists. Your position is:
– Most students said that a scientist’s country would
affect the way he/she would approach a scientific
problem (57% pre- and 68% post-)
– However, most students said the reason for this
would be because of the technology that would
be available, not because of any difference in
• Heavy industry has greatly polluted North
America. Therefore, it is a responsible
decision to move heavy industry to
underdeveloped countries where pollution
is not so widespread. Your position is:
– Most students said that moving pollution was not a
responsible solution; we should reduce or
eliminate our own pollution (45% pre-; 47%
– The percentage of students who said that industry
should not be moved because “these countries
have enough problems already” increased from
0% to 9%
– The percentage of students who said that moving
the industry was irrelevant because pollution
• Science and technology offer a great
deal of help in resolving such social
problems as pollution and
overpopulation. Your position is:
– Students’ positions on this question changed little
from pre- to post- surveys
– Most students responded with qualified
agreement (61% pre-/64% post-)
– Some students responded with enthusiastic
(possibly simplistic) agreement (19% pre-/22%
• Science and technology can help people
make some moral decisions (that is, one
group of people deciding how to act
towards another group of people). Your
position is:
– Majority of students felt that scientific and
technological knowledge had some role to play
in informing moral decisions (58% pre-/64%post)
– More than a fifth of the students felt that scientific
or technological knowledge had no role in moral
decision making (28% pre-/22% post-)
• When a new technology is developed (for
example, a better type of fertilizer), it may
or may not be put into practice. The
decision to use a new technology depends
on whether the advantages to society
outweigh the disadvantages to society.
Your position is:
– Most students identified a technology’s
advantages/ disadvantages with its costs and
efficiency (45% pre-/47% post)
– Small number of students felt that “advantage”
and “disadvantage” were relative terms, and
this number decreased in the global classes (20%
Our VOSTS Conclusions
INST goal: Understanding data as a
foundation of the course topic
(societal issue or problem)
– In general, students were optimistic (but
not blindly so) about the possibility that
science had something to contribute in
devising solutions to societal problems
INST goal: Understanding of the active
building of a scientific body of
knowledge: new advances, future
-Students saw science as a body of
knowledge rather than a method or societal
-Students identified a basic set of practices as
‘the scientific method’
-In general, students did not seem to confuse
science with the application of science,
although there was some movement toward
identifying scientists as “wanting to help
INST goal: Understanding of how a
global issue affects different parts of
the world differently.
– Not clear; for example, in the fertilizer
question, students seemed to believe that
a technology had absolute advantages and
disadvantages (relative to costs and
efficiency) rather than advantages and
disadvantages that could be relative to a
INST goal: Understanding of how
different cultures react to the global
issue in different ways.
-Not clear from the VOSTS assessment;
but it does seem to be the case that
students recognize that science itself is
affected by various societal factors; also,
the global courses seemed to play some
role in developing this understanding.
INST goal: Understanding of how
student decisions/actions (in the role
of scientist or citizen) impact the
-Seemed to be more awareness of others’
suffering in the pollution question
-Understanding that one is accountable for
one’s own problematic behavior (pollution
question) but decrease in pointing out
global connectedness
INST goal: Understanding of ethical
– Certainly seemed to understand that
scientists may be affected by their
individual or cultural ethical standards
New Directions for
Integrative Studies
Newly adopted mission:
The Integrative Studies program aims to prepare Otterbein
undergraduates for the challenges and complexity of a 21st century world.
It foregrounds interdisciplinary and integrative skills, competencies,
and ways of knowing and is committed to the premise that one’s learning
should serve and shape one’s responsibilities in and to the world.
Goals and Outcomes based on AAC&U•LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes
•Assessing Global Learning: Matching Good Intentions with Good Practice
Caryn McTighe Musil
Goals and Learning Outcomes
GOAL ONE: To inspire intellectual curiosity about the world as it is
and a deeper understanding of the global condition.
Students grasp the significance of past and present global
interconnections and interdependences in the human,
natural and physical worlds.
Students recognize the interactive and dynamic relationship
of global and local issues or problems.
Students understand sustainability as an economic, social and
environmental practice.
Students imagine and explore likely and alternative
global futures.
Goals and Learning Outcomes
GOAL TWO: To assist students in cultivating intercultural
knowledge and competencies.
GOAL THREE: To promote active and critical reflection on the
human self and its place in the world.
Students study the self and the ways in which self is situated in
human, physical and natural worlds.
Goals and Learning Outcomes
GOAL FOUR: To challenge students to critically examine their
ethical choices and responsibilities for a global context.
Students affirm the value of an enlarged ethical responsibility
to other persons, the natural world, and future generations.
Students explore and engage their relationship to the
global public good.
Students explore and engage the larger goals of
human and ecological flourishing.
Students appreciate sustainability as an economic,
social and environmental value.
Goals and Learning Outcomes
GOAL FIVE: To encourage purposeful public engagement
and social responsibility.
Students acquire intellectual and practical skills necessary
for meaningful work and active participation in the local community
and the larger world.
Students explore multiple and evolving forms of civic identification
and belonging, with particular attention to the practice of citizenship
in local, national and global contexts.
Students explore the purpose of responsiveness and value of
action in the face of the pressing problems of the 21st century.
Students come to see themselves as responsible, engaged
and informed persons, capable and willing to act in ways that
will improve or reshape the world.
Otterbein College Science Division
Department of Life Science
Department of Education
The Integrative Studies Program
Otterbein Center for Teaching and Learning
The McGregor Fund
National Science Foundation Grant # 0536681
AACU Shared Futures FIPSE Grant

Common Book Experience - Appalachian State University