Students in our general education physical science courses learn foundational concepts in science, the application of science to society, the nature of science, and critical thinking.
In the course Science and Society (Physical Science 1000) students learn about the interaction between people and the environment with an emphasis on how modern technologies are impacting impacting the environment. New assessments in the course indicate that students are learning the fundamentals about the interdependency of earth systems and measures that can be taken to protect the environment.
Students in the Energy in Today's World course (Physical Science 1010) examine energy from the perspective of physics. Over the years that the instructor has taught this course, he has incorporated quizzes and review sessions into his instructional presentations to improve student understanding of concepts. The incorporation of student experiments into this course has encouraged the applications of these concepts. Pre-post tests have shown increasing improvement in student understanding with the implementation of these procedures. He will continue to improve the presentation of these procedures as time goes on, in particular, with the increased use of audio-visual material and advancements in technology.
In the course Critical Thinking in Science and Technology (Physical Science 1080) grapple with opposing viewpoints on in-the-news topics that impact science and society. By researching and reading articles they provide evidence for their claims. Post tests have shown that students in the course increase their understanding of the Nature of Science and scientific argumentation.
Students in the Practical Chemistry course (Physical Science 1130) experience the full spectrum of inquiry investigations during the course of the semester. They carry out experiments ranging from confirmation of scientific principles to the process of designing their own experiments to solve problems. This laboratory program gives students a better picture of the Nature of Science. Pre and Post assessment of student attitudes about science suggests that students have a greater interest in science after taking the course.
The Physical Science Curriculum Committee is looking forward to implementation of the new general education assessment outcomes which are in the process of being incorporated into the college. Implementation of the new outcomes will provide an opportunity to examine our assessment plan and curriculum as a whole and continue to strengthen physical science course offerings. We plan to include more of the inquiry based physical science courses offered by the department as general education courses.