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Scientific and Political Change

(P Pol 749, CCT649, Fall 05, Sp 10, 12, 14, 16, 18)
(Previously: Science, Technology & Public Policy)

Initial Goals
I set out to update Diane Paul's syllabus from the previous offering of this course and soon saw that there wouldn't be enough weeks to cover the topics. This led me to take a different tack: It is hoped that the experience of case-based learning motivates students to identify and pursue the disciplinary learning and disciplined inquiry they need to achieve the competency and impact they desire, which will vary according to the diverse work-situations of the students. (This inverts the conventional curriculum in which command of fundamentals is a prerequisite for application of our learning to real cases.)

Challenges and Responses

Future Plans
I am considering the possibility of running the entire course based on 3-week PBL cases.

The 2010 offering consisted of four 3-week PBL cases.

The 2014 offering was hybrid, combining students in the room and students brought in from a distance using google+ hangout. A UMB blog was used for students to submit annotated bibliography entries, notes on inquiries in progress, and final reports. (The blog was used in part because the UMB wiki had become unreliable for uploading on some browsers.)

(12/17) Each case has been revised for 2018 so that students address a larger question: What theory and research can inform what is to be done in this emerging era in which people can no longer rely on assuming that the arc of history bends towards progress in science, in institutions that provide for the welfare of the populace, and in citizen engagement to bring the other two arcs together?
(8/18) I am considering the idea of revising my project-based learning courses into something even more open to individualized inquiry. Following the lead of a friend, Mac Brown, I am thinking about a course in which students produce contributions to a book (or handbook) on the topic of the course in all its angles: what is known; how to gain knowledge – to move from a novice to someone with organized themes and examples; ways to pursue action, involving collaboration with various parties; lessons to teach or guide others; case studies or illustrations of themes; etc. (further discussion)

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