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3030 - Writing on Science & Society Course Descriptions

The following list is alphabetical, by instructor's last name. Course offerings below are for the Spring 2016 semester. Check the current Course Schedule.

INQUIRY THEME: BUILDING UTOPIA, Dr.Matthew Henningsen
Science, at its heart, is an act of creation. It creates new ways of looking at and understanding our diverse social order… and, at times, attempts to create entirely new societies and worlds. It attempts to create utopia, that supposedly perfect world of perfect science. But, what are the limits of science? When does the scientific creation of a utopian society turn deadly, and actually morph into a dystopia? Can science be trusted? Can it build our ideal societies? As a class, these questions will be our foundation as we investigate science as a force for social creation. More specifically, we will study the utopian tradition from its ancient roots to its current manifestations, all the time analyzing how science is being used (or abused) in each unique social order. Our investigations will coincide with our production of a wide variety of genres. You will write a report on a specific utopian text, and present this report to the class, craft a business letter, an argumentative essay, and a memo, until ultimately fashioning an exhaustive prospectus for a utopian society, replete with a detailed annotated bibliography. This final project will be your chance to actually build a utopian, scientific society, and you will present your findings to the class in a creative, multimodal manner.
SCIENCE, SUSTAINABILITY & COMMUNICATION, Dr. Rebecca Dickson

In this course, we will work on developing your writing and communication skills while adding to your rhetorical knowledge. Because WRTG 3030 courses are directed toward science, engineering, and technology majors, we will pay special attention to the language used in scientific communications. We’ll assess various science-related works to see how successful the writers are at conveying their messages while developing your ability to use a professional language that is acceptable in your field and easily understood. We’ll examine various writing genres, that is, types of communication required in different situations, and to transfer, taking what you learn in this class and applying it to other courses and professional situations. Our subject matter will largely focus on sustainability: we’ll look at and discuss key sustainability concerns and how science and the media present those concerns.

Students will write four major papers with at least two drafts of each; one of the papers will require peer-reviewed research. You’ll also write response papers, both in class and online, in which you reflect on readings and discussions, communication practices in your field, and other topics. You’ll also do two digital presentations. You will be engaging with your colleagues and me regularly, and you’ll do reading quizzes and various worksheets.

WRITING AND RHETORIC-SCIENCE & SOCIETY, Douglas Dupler, M.A.

Writing on Science and Society is a second-level writing course that expands and refines students’ writing, critical thinking, and communication skills. Topics such as rhetoric, argument, ethics, science communication, and current social issues that also contain scientific, technological, economic, and political dimensions, are the grounding for our semester-long practice of writing and rhetoric. This course introduces, analyzes, and guides the production of various texts in important genres of scientific and professional writing, and aims to prepare students for the writing situations and critical-thinking challenges that they will encounter as professionals and citizens.

WRITING ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, Gail Georgeson , J.D., M.A.
In this course, we will work on developing your writing and communication skills while adding to your rhetorical knowledge. Because WRTG 3030 courses are directed toward science, engineering, and computer science majors, we will pay special attention to the language used in scientific communications. We’ll assess how successful scientific rhetoric is at conveying its messages while developing your ability to use a professional language that is acceptable in your field and easily understood. We’ll pay close attention to writing genres -- the types of writing required in different situations, and to transfer, taking what you learn in this class and applying it to other communication situations.
THE RHETORIC OF SCIENCE, Dr. Orin Hargraves
The fruits of scientific investigation carry the authority of being verifiable and reproducible but their acceptance depends significantly on the willingness of people to adopt the same point of view towards nature that scientists have and the investigative methods that scientists use. The fact that many segments of modern societies reject or question scientific facts points to a disconnect between the ethos of scientific culture and the populations to which it communicates its findings. At the interface of these two cultures is the scientist as communicator. In this course you will discover and develop competence in the genres of scientific communication that promote the advancement of the understanding of science. You will explore your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and develop skills that will help you recognize the needs of the various audiences of science that, when met, are most likely to promote clear understanding and acceptance of scientific developments and discoveries. Through this process you will begin to develop your ideas about your role as a scientist in the public sphere.
WRITING ON SCIENCE & SOCIETY, Danny Long, M.A.

As a future professional in the sciences or engineering, you will be expected to write and speak clearly and convincingly to audiences not only in but also, and especially, outside your field. The purpose of this course is to provide you the opportunity to practice techniques for communicating analytically and persuasively, to further develop your creative and critical-thinking skills, and to consider how your field relates to other fields and to the civic arena. As a way of pursuing all of these objectives, you will complete a service-learning project for which you will tutor local at-risk high school students for a total of 10-12 hours in math, the sciences, and/or a variety of other subjects. (The hour requirement depends on where you tutor.) We will use this experience to examine, among other things, the relationship among doing, teaching, and learning a field; the sociological, political, and institutional factors shaping education in math and the sciences; and the various rhetorical norms involved in scientific pedagogy and practice.

Most of the material we will work with in class will be produced by you, discipuli extraordinaria. You will collaborate with one another, write with one another, teach one another. Count on staying busy each and every class period. In addition, we will analyze the characteristics of persuasive writing about and in the sciences and education for a variety of audiences. The course will include brief units on logic and visual rhetoric. At various points in the semester we will discuss the craft of writing—e.g., writing strong, beautiful sentences that capture audiences, filling them with awe and admiration and wonder. You will complete a number of informal writing assignments. You will write two professional career documents: a personal statement and an exit message, both addressed to your service-learning partners. In groups you will write children’s books for local first graders. You will write fallacious dialogues. You will create a series of posters that teach the CU campus community about Shakespearean-era science. And you will put together an annotated bibliography that will prepare you for your final project: a piece of writing that uses book arts to share research in math or the sciences to a specific public audience.

WRITING ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, Dr. Naomi Rachel

There is a disconnect between what we know as fact in the sciences and the response from politicians and the public. We will explore many of these issues including vaccinations and global warming. There will be three major writing assignments, one collaboration and two oral presentations. Students will give news updates on topics of interest in the sciences and engineering. The focus will be on peer reviewed research and critical thinking. The skills learned will help with graduate school exams as well as job applications. This is a discussion based class and work will be peer critiqued. In additional to research papers, the writing will include professional elements including memos and abstracts. All the reading appeared in “The Best American Science Writing” and will be available free on D2L.

WRITING AND RHETORIC-SCIENCE & SOCIETY, Dr. Marty Patton

Through selected reading and writing assignments, students examine ethical and social issues that arise within the decision-making processes associated with science and technology. Focuses on critical thinking, analytical writing, and oral presentation. Taught as a writing workshop, the course emphasizes effective communication with both professional and nontechnical audiences.

WRITING AND RHETORIC-SCIENCE & SOCIETY, Dr. Naomi Rachel

There is a disconnect between what we know as fact in the sciences and the response from politicians and the public. We will explore many of these issues including vaccinations and global warming. There will be three major writing assignments, one collaboration and two oral presentations. Students will give news updates on topics of interest in the sciences and engineering. The focus will be on peer reviewed research and critical thinking. The skills learned will help with graduate school exams as well as job applications. This is a discussion based class and work will be peer critiqued. In additional to research papers, the writing will include professional elements including memos and abstracts. All the reading appeared in “The Best American Science Writing” and will be available free on D2L.

SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE, Dr.Lonni Pearce

This course asks the questions: How is science communicated in the public sphere and how is it used rhetorically in discussions about environmental, social, economic, and political issues? We’ll focus on representations of science in news media, in artistic/cultural works, in public policy, and in industry.

Because the ways we perceive and choose to interpret science significantly shapes our understanding of our world and how it works, the work of this course will better prepare you to be more savvy, more informed, and more intentional readers and writers so that you can engage in the important political, environmental, economic, and social challenges of our time. Over the course of the semester, we’ll look at various texts to explore these questions:
  • How is scientific knowledge rhetorically constructed/presented?
  • In what ways is science a form of economic, political, material, and social power?
  • Whose science counts?
  • How do we navigate/interpret contradictory scientific accounts?
SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, AND LAY ARGUMENT, Don Wilkerson, MA
As a semester-long project, you will write ONE of the following: an essay on science, technology and public policy; a preliminary draft of an honors thesis; a post-UROP paper; a UROP, Capstone or other research proposal; an engineering or product licensing proposal; a curriculum reform proposal. You will choose a topic and genre, and then compile an annotated bibliography. Midway through the semester you will begin drafting your paper. At the end of the term, you will convert your paper into a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation. While you are doing preliminary research for your project, you will write a brief essay on ONE of the following topics: research ethics, professional ethics, creativity in science or engineering, truth in science, the social effects of technology. This essay will prepare you for your term project by teaching you how to define terms, clarify unstated assumptions, present evidence in support of an assertion and respond to likely objections.
WRITING AND RHETORIC-SCIENCE & SOCIETY, Dr. Naomi Rachel
My goal for this course is to enable students to read analytically and to write with clarity and focus. This class will teach you to write well in a variety of styles and genres and to state and defend an argumentative thesis. An educated person must be able to read with in-depth comprehension and to be able to communicate complex ideas in economical and elegant prose. Language= communication= power.

The work done in this class will enable you to do well on graduate school exams (MCATS/ GRE/LSAT) job applications and generally empower you through the analysis of the issues that matters to us now and in our future. We all write best about what we care about and the essays read and written in this class will inspire both thought and passion . I promise that at least some of the material will be very surprising and shocking. The emphasis will be on HOW we convey complex scientific ideas to a general readership. Medical schools and science grad programs are now recruiting English majors because they can analyze, think critically and read and write with care.