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This course (SCI 360) teaches students about key societal issues, such as energy, climate change, water, and food, while simultaneously developing students’ information retrieval, evaluation, and application skills.

Drawing together several innovative pedagogic approaches, students in the class experience an intensive semester of weekly writing assignments, small group “think tank” exercises, peer review of each others’ work, and visits with guest experts. Each small group submitted final projects consisting of a white paper, which discussed a problem and proposed a solution, as well as supplemental video recommending solutions to the great issues discussed throughout the semester.

The joint content and information literacy foci are reflected in the five learning objectives for the course:

1. Students will apply relevant models, such as Tragedy of the Commons, Prisoner’s Dilemma, Common Pooled Resources, and Life cycle Analysis to understand and analyze Great issues.

2. Students will be able to discuss the main social and scientific issues surrounding sustainability of Earth’s resources, such as energy, food, water, population, and climate.

3. Students will be able to critically evaluate its validity and applicability, and integrate it into their previous knowledge of a topic.

4. Students will use statistics, data, and information accurately and ethically to analyze Great Issues.

5. Students will be able to work effectively in teams.

Example Assignment: Students read two articles that offered differing opinions on climate change, and then were asked to consider and discuss what further information they would need to come to their own conclusion on the issue.

Collaboratively designed by Michael Fosmire and Jane Yatcilla, Associate Professors of Library Science, and Physics Professor Andrew Hirsch, this 3-credit course has been co-taught by faculty in the Libraries and from the College of Science since Spring 2009.

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