AP0612 - The Impact of Science on Society

What will I learn on this module?

The world around us is continually being shaped by science, and by society's relationship to it. Increasingly people need to be informed users and consumers of scientific knowledge, but are unlikely ever to be producers of new scientific knowledge, thereby highlighting the importance of effective science communication, its impact on public engagement with science and the subsequent public understanding of science.
In this module you will review a range of contemporary bioscience and technology topics in terms of [i] the underpinning research/evidence base, [ii] the associated ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI), [iii] how science is communicated to the public and [iv] subsequent impact(s) on modern society. Subjects for review will include modern (bio) medical practice such as genetic screening, the allocation of scarce life saving resources, the use of animals as experimental research subjects, and biodiversity conservation. A case study based approach will be used for delivery of topics. Transferable skills in reading, research, writing, analysis and presentation will also be covered in the context of effective science communication to enable application of critical thinking skills when reading, writing and talking about science. An assessment seminar will be form part of the module schedule.
This module will give you the opportunity to explore the changing ethical, legal and social implications of research within the biosciences, with an overall aim of developing graduates who are ready to talk about science, interpret its influences in modern society and analyse contemporary science and technology based issues, so that they are able to communicate their understanding to others and contribute informed views to ongoing debates.

How will I learn on this module?

This module will give you the opportunity to critically reflect on your specialist scientific studies and to grapple with the associated social, legal and ethical issues that you meet now and in your future working lives.
Your learning in this module will be supported by interactive lectures/ seminars, a workshop, field work, and directed and independent study. Concepts and principles will be discussed in lectures and interactive in class review of case studies will enable staff to diagnose and clarify any misconceptions identified from the direction which student discussion takes/ the questions asked, whilst also providing you with the opportunity to clarify you understanding via immediate staff feedback on specific queries. Additional learning support is provided via a workshop focussing on the development and application of transferable skills in the context of science communication and public understanding of science and fieldwork analysing public engagement with science. A specific tutorial will provide opportunity for review and clarification of your understanding of assessment. Feedback on a formative assessment task will also be provided to further support and direct your learning towards final summative (marked) assessment.
Technology-enhanced learning is also an important aspect of both the teaching and learning on this module. The module electronic learning
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portal / the module blackboard site is populated with the module guide, syllabus and module schedule, detailed assessment brief, taught content, including lecture slides, and staff contact details. You are able and expected to engage with online content in advance of classes to maximise your learning opportunity in taught sessions and can review content after scheduled sessions to consolidate your knowledge and understanding. Additional online resources include a digital reading list to support your directed learning and provide a starting point for your wider reading and independent study.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A range of academic support will be provided for you to access in support of your learning, both in class and accessible outside formal scheduled teaching.
At the start of the module, you will be provided with a module guide which will be reviewed in detail in the module introduction by the module tutor. The approach to formal scheduled teaching sessions is interactive and enhances opportunity for academic staff to support students throughout the module during the programme of scheduled teaching sessions. Additional academic support specifically for module assessment is provided via a formative assessment task and a scheduled assessment tutorial.
Online module resources are also a source of academic support. The module electronic learning portal / the module blackboard site is populated with the module guide, syllabus and module schedule, detailed assessment brief, taught content, including lecture slides, and staff contact details. The module reading list is also provided online. You are therefore able to access and engage with content, directed and independent learning activity and also the module assessment (both formative and summative) in support of your learning outside formal scheduled teaching activity.
Academic staff will also direct you to relevant Departmental, University and external sources of academic support, such as on site and online library resources and facilities and support for you to become a STEM Ambassadors and gain additional personal experience of communicating science to the public via science outreach activity.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk

There are generic textbooks in the reading list on science communication and the public understanding of science, plus a range of articles on topics such as the hindsight analysis of scientific controversies/ scandals and the evaluation of the evidence underpinning claims made in science media. These information sources are provided as directed reading and as a starting point for your own research and wider reading which must be clearly evidenced in the work of final year students.

(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Develop an understanding of the changing social, legal and ethical implications and impacts of bioscience research in modern society.
2. Develop transferable skills in reading, research, writing, analysis and presentation in the context of effective science communication
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Analyse and evaluate science communication.
4. Research, extract, critically evaluate, prioritise and utilise scientific information from a variety of sources to develop/deliver a piece of science communication.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Recognise the need to question and challenge scientific communication and investigate the evidential quality underpinning claims and recommendations made.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment will be via coursework assignment, which will have 2 components:
Component 1: 50% module ;Coursework assignment: ELSI (Ethical, Legan and Social Issues) focused poster max size A3) (MLO 1, 3, 4, 5)
Component 2: 50% module ; Coursework assignment: development and evaluation of a piece of science communication example formats
i. Popular (non-academic) media scientific article, such as newspaper/ magazine article, blog/vlog entry etc*. plus supporting sources of evidence and reflective commentary (1000 words)
ii. Science education / communication artefact*, such as poster, web page, pamphlet etc. plus supporting sources of evidence and reflective commentary (1000 words)
iii Critical reflection on development and engagement with science outreach activity plus supporting sources of evidence*
(MLO 2,4,5)
*total word count not to exceed 2000 words.
Submission of all supporting sources/ critical reflections will be managed electronically. Submission of the science communication pieces will be dependent on the format of the communication e.g. popular media articles would be submitted electronically.
Feedback on final summative (marked) work will comprise an individual criterion based marks sheet and a cohort based performance analysis. Individual feedback will be managed electronically. Cohort feedback will be provided via the module electronic learning portal/ blackboard site.
You will be given the opportunity to engage in a formative assessment activity to gain feedback from academic staff in support of their learning for final summative (marked) assessment. This will take the format of feedback on an assignment proposal.
You will also be given the opportunity to clarify your understanding of assessment details such as marking criteria, expected standard/ format of work etc. by participating in a scheduled assessment tutorial.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

• The Impact of Science on Society will give you the opportunity to explore the changing ELSI (Ethical, Legal and Social Issues) implications of bioscience research and the subsequent impact within modern society. The aim of the module is to develop graduates who are ready to talk about science, interpret its influences in society and analyse contemporary science and technology based issues, so that they are able to communicate their understanding to others and
contribute informed views to ongoing debates- all highly attractive transferable skills for employers. Controversial topics will be reviewed such as genetic screening, the allocation of scarce life-saving resources, the use of animals as experimental research subjects, and biodiversity conservation. Assessment is by coursework assignment, and the format of the coursework will be [i] an ELSI focused coursework and [ii] development and evaluation of a piece of science communication.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 18 months

Location Various Locations

City Newcastle

Start September or January

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Courses starting in 2021 are offered as a mix of face to face and online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future.

Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.

 

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