dr c's remarkable ocean world

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Dr. Chamberlin's Spring 2003 Online Course Guidelines

This page last updated: Thursday, January 16, 2003 9:57 AM

2. Learning Outcomes: the benefits of this course to YOU!

Many if not most of you wonder why the heck you have to take a science class, especially a physical science class, which oceanography is. After all, few of you want to become scientists and as far as you are concerned, science has nothing to do with your life. You're just here for the credit and because college transfer requirements demand that you take a physical science class, right?

Well, if you'll open your mind for a moment and if you will at least try to see past this short-sighted notion, you might discover that this course has everything to do with your life, regardless of whether you are pursuing a scientific career and regardless of what the four-year colleges state as their reasons.

By taking this course, not only will you be smarter and wiser about the planet we live on but you will develop a better appreciation for your relationship with the ocean and you will learn some real-world skills to boot. This course will help you get a better job, help you get along better with others and help you appreciate life in all its grandeur and beauty.

Approach this course with the attitude that it can teach you something valuable about life and you'll be a lot more motivated to succeed.

The benefits you can expect to derive from this course are called learning outcomes in the education business. Broadly defined, learning outcomes are the knowledge, understandings and analytic-synthetic-evaluative skills that you will master as a result of your studies. Learning outcomes establish targets towards which your academic studies are aimed. Nonetheless, learning, as a lifelong process, continually refines and redefines these outcomes. If you are successful in this course, you will be well on your way towards achieving these goals and expanding the horizon of what is possible in your life.

Specific to this course, we aim to:

And before we finish with this section, which may, at first glance, seem superficial to your immediate desires to get through these guidelines and figure out what the heck is going on in this class, let me add to these lofty goals from a paper by Larry Yore of the University of Victoria, entitled What is Meant by Constructivist Science Teaching and Will the Science Education Community Stay the Course for Meaningful Reform? published in the June 2001 edition of the Electronic Journal of Science Education. He summarizes the goals of a science education from Hurd (1998) who states that the central attributes of a science literate person are:

  1. distinguishes experts from the uninformed, theory from dogma, data from myth and folklore, science from pseudo-science, evidence from propaganda, facts from fiction, sense from nonsense and knowledge from opinion;
  2. recognizes the cumulative, tentative and skeptical nature of science; the limitations of scientific inquiry and causal explanations; the need for sufficient evidence and established knowledge to support or reject claims; the environmental, social, political and economic impact of science and technology; and the influence society has on science and technology; and
  3. knows how to analyze and process data, that some science-related problems in a social and personal context have more than one accepted answer, and that social and personal problems are multidisciplinary, having political, judicial, ethical and moral dimensions.

THINK about these learning outcomes and consider how you may derive the most benefit from them as you explore the science of oceanography in the coming weeks.

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