Murdoch University 代写 BSC150 What is Science?

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    What is Science?

    Unit Information

    Semester 1, 2016

    This information should be read in conjunction with the online learning materials
    which can be found on your MyUnits page.

    Unit coordinators

    Assoc Prof Philip Nicholls
    School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
    Unit Administator
    Ms Natalie Callan
    Contact details
    All email contact via:

    ©  Published by Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, February 2016.
    This publication is copyright. Except as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part of it may in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or any other means be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or be broadcast or transmitted without the prior written permission of the publisher.



    Unit information
    Information about the unit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         3
    Contact details                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4
    How to study this unit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               5-6
    Resources for the unit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              7
    Study schedule                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         8
    Assessment                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9-11

    Information about the unit


    Welcome to:

    BSC150 What is Science?

    Unit description

    The challenges of the future require creative thinking and an interdisciplinary approach to solve complex social, health, technological and environmental problems. This unit will introduce you to the history and philosophy of science and the interconnected nature of the scientific disciplines. It will explore how scientific ways of thinking and knowing have emerged and how science informs and is framed by non-scientific ways of thinking and broader social agendas. Be prepared to challenge what is known/unknown in your discipline.



    Aims of the unit

    Employers of university graduates of the 21st century increasingly require scientists and professionals who are not only expert in their own field, but are also well-prepared to work in multi-disciplinary teams to tackle complex problems, to understand different people’s perspectives and to communicate effectively with their peers, the broader scientific community and the general public.  This unit aims to lay the foundations for you to develop these skills.
    Specifically, the unit aims:
    1)     To enable you to develop a concept of what science is and what it is not, how concepts of science have changed historically and continue to evolve, and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of scientific and non-scientific approaches to questions.
    2)     To introduce you to a range of methods used in different scientific disciplines, with a view to developing your understanding of the perspectives of people working in other disciplines.
    3)     To introduce you to a range of scientific activities undertaken at Murdoch University.
    4)     To encourage you to develop an understanding of the reciprocal influence of science and society on each other, including ethical issues that arise for scientists, and the contribution that society makes to science.

    Learning outcomes for the unit

    On successful completion of the unit you should be able to:
    1)     Identify the common features of scientific methods of inquiry and to contrast these with non-scientific methods of inquiry.
    2)     Critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of the scientific approach to knowledge.
    3)     Describe the major ideas developed within the philosophy of science, and recognise real life examples of these ideas being applied to actual scientific research
    4)     Identify some commonly used research methods in disciplines outside your home discipline.
    5)     Demonstrate an awareness of the different perspectives that can arise from different scientific disciplines, the reasons for these differing perspectives, and their possible consequences.
    6)     Discuss the role of science in society.


    Graduate attributes developed in the unit

    This unit will contribute to the development of the following Graduate Attributes.
    ·         Communication
    ·         Critical and creative thinking
    ·         Social interaction
    ·         Independent and lifelong learning
    ·         Ethics
    ·         Social justice
    ·         Global perspective
    ·         Interdisciplinarity
    This unit was originally designed Phil Nicholls, Mike Anderson and Natalie Callan. Originally implemented by written by Phil Nicholls, Helen Davis, & Graham Mann, February 2014.  Revised Feb, 2016 by Natalie Callan, Helen Davis, Phil Nicholls, & Graham Mann.


    Contact details

    Unit contact details
    Tutor contact details
    You will be notified who your tutor will be at the beginning of the teaching period. The tutor will provide you with their contact details. 

    How to study this unit

    You may find this unit unlike your other units at Murdoch:
    It is not a unit taught by one expert who knows all the answers.  It is not a unit where you can sit back and listen to the lectures, read the textbook, and automatically expect a high grade.  It is not a unit where the lecture content necessarily maps directly and obviously onto your lab activities for the week.  It is not even a unit where students with the top marks will come away having learned the same things.  It is best approached with an open mind and a sense of adventure.  Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to get the most out of your experience.

    1.  Familiarise yourself with the core content. Listen to lectures and read the assigned textbook chapters to find out about major ideas and important names from the philosophy of science.  These will provide a foundation for identifying what the sciences have in common, in terms of “rules of the game” and processes involved in scientific investigation.  Note that some ideas put forward may conflict with others!  Do not panic about what the right answer is in these cases.  It is often helpful to identify the particular people putting forward ideas, and to seek to understand their reasoning, rather than categorising them as right or wrong. Quizzes and the end of semester exam will assess how well you have understood these core ideas.
    2. Be an active participant in the learning activities.  Each week, you will rotate through a variety of scientific laboratory and workshop activities.  The activities are designed to allow you to experience some of the ideas from lectures in practice.  Be on the look-out for lecture concepts as they arise.  Go looking for connections between other sciences and the topics you are interested in.

    Ask questions.  Ask difficult questions – remember that other people can learn a lot from you, even if you don’t think you know very much yet.  Your fellow students will also come from a range of different disciplines.  Take the opportunity to talk and listen to the people around you and use the online discussion forum.  This is how you develop your capacity to work in interdisciplinary teams.  (Also, you are awarded marks for participation.)

    Every second week, in the lecture timeslot, we will have a Q&A panel discussion on a current important topic for scientists. All students are asked to submit a good question that could be put to the panel.  Additionally, after you have submitted your question, you will have access to everyone else’s questions.  Reading these and joining in online discussion is an excellent way of developing your own thinking on the topic.  (Expert panel members and teaching staff in the unit also love to read your contributions.)

    1. Reflect. That is, stop and think about what it all means.  In this unit, you will be keeping a reflective journal to help you with this task.  The value and relevance of the same activity might be quite different for a future biologist compared to a future computer scientist. As stated earlier, there are connections there to be found between learning activities.  Some are obvious; others require deeper thought to recognise.  Perspective-taking is an important part of reflection in this unit: becoming aware of your own current perspective and what informs it, comparing it with that of others (expert and non-expert), and with your own past and likely future perspectives.  Reflection is a good way to develop your critical thinking skills.  It allows you to develop a sophisticated understanding of issues that matter to you. Also, you are much more likely to remember material that is personally meaningful to you.   
    2. Follow up.  Many of the activities in this unit have suggested URLs and additional readings.  In previous semesters, BSC150 students have also shared their own readings through online discussion forums.  Although not formally assessed, engaging in follow-up activities helps you to gain maximum learning benefit.
    3. Be organised.  BSC150 is a complex unit and it pays to plan ahead.  Note the deadlines for the various assessment pieces and be sure to submit your work by then. 
    We hope that BSC150 will provide you with a broad, interdisciplinary platform from which to launch your studies in your chosen scientific discipline or disciplines.

    Contact time

    Lectures/ Panel Discussions 1 hour per week
    Labs/ workshops 2 hours per week

    Time commitment

    As this is a 3 credit point unit, we expect you to spend on average 10 hours per week for the total weeks of this teaching period (or 150 hours overall) working on this unit. Clearly, this allows significant time for preview and review of content, and working through the additional online resources provided.


    Participation expectations and Student responsibilities

    Lectures and Q and A panel discussions will be recorded and you are not formally required to attend these sessions. If you are local, and wish to attend, you are most welcome.
    For each lab/workshop, students enrolled externally will be offered a comparable activity online. There is no on-campus requirement for BSC150.
    Externally enrolled students should aim to login to the online unit at least once per week. While there may be valid reasons why you are unable to login in a particular week, it is very important that you plan ahead and keep up with the scheduled work.  Forum discussion will require regular participation. Via the forum, students will receive instructions from their tutor, participate in discussion with other students and contribute to questions posed by the tutor.
    Students are also responsible for regularly checking announcements, listening to recordings and accessing online assessments.

    Small group and interactive teaching and learning activities

    At the beginning of semester, you will be allocated to an online tutorial group forum and introduced to your tutor.  Within your tutorial group forum you are encouraged to discuss the workshop activities, lectures, and Q and A discussion panels via your designated forum. 

    Resources for this unit

    Essential textbook
    Okasha, S. (2002). Philosophy of science: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This is available from the University bookshop, and costs $14.95. Also available from Amazon if you are off campus, and it has a Kindle version available also. The LMS has a guide to this text at
    Other references/recommended reading/online resources
    Please see Your Online Unit for resources associated with each learning activity. These are under the Required Readings toggle.
    The following will be provided during the teaching period:

    ·         lecture slides (powerpoint file on the LMS)
    ·         lecture recordings (via Echo360 on the LMS)
    ·         digital media (on the LMS via a direct link or via Echo360)
    ·         electronic journal articles
    ·         articles on the web

    Study schedule

    Wk Week starting Lectures and Q and As (on campus or online) Topic Workshop Activity (all online) Assessment items (Due Date)
    Wk 1 29 February 2016 Lecture 1
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    What would convince you? Introduction to the unit and meet and greet tutorial.  
    Wk 2
    07 March 2016 Q and A Panel Discussion 1
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 ONLY
    Can science and religion ever just be friends? Science in the Media  Part A Science in the Media forum contributions and discussion Part A (Midnight Sunday 13th March)
    Wk 3 14 March 2016 Lecture 2
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    Nature of science itself Science in the Media Part B All five Q and A Panel Discussion Questions
    (Midnight Sunday 20th March)
    Science in the Media forum contributions and discussion Part B (Midnight Sunday 20th March)
    Wk 4 21 March 2016 Q and A Panel Discussion 2
    Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4 ONLY
    The real problem with climate change  Herd Immunity Reflective Journal Part 1
    (Midnight Sunday 27th March)
    Wk 5 28 March 2016 Non-teaching break    
    Wk 6 04 April 2016 Lecture 3
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    It’s all in your approach Philosophy Cafe  
    Wk 7 11 April 2016 Q and A Panel Discussion 3
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 ONLY
    Confused about diet, health and exercise? – Me, too! Prion Theory
    Workshop Quiz for Herd Immunity and Philosophy Café (Midnight Sunday 17th April)
    Lecture Quiz 1-3
    (Midnight Sunday 17th April)
    Wk 8 18 April 2016 Lecture 4
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    Clear thinking in a confusing world
    House MD  
    Wk 9 25 April 2016 Non-teaching break
    Wk 10 02 May 2016 Q and A Panel Discussion 4
    Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4 ONLY
    Is Google, and other 'internet stuff', making us 'stoopid'? Measuring Minds  
    Wk 11 09 May 2016 Lecture 5
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    What you can do with numbers Travelling Salesman Workshop Quiz Prion Theory, House MD, Measuring Minds and Travelling Salesman Due (Midnight Sunday 15h May)
    Wk 12 16 May 2016 Q and A Panel Discussion 5
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 ONLY
    Are the interactions between science, athletes and sport harmful or beneficial? None Reflective journal Part 2
    (Midnight Sunday 22nd May)
    Wk 13 23 May 2016 Lecture 6
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    The big ideas and the right thing Poster conference (on campus or online)  
    Wk 14 30 May 2016 Lecture 7
    Monday 3:30pm-4:30pm ECL1 AND repeated Thursday 11:30am-12:30pm ECL4
    Revision/review session None Lecture Quiz 4-6 & Poster conference quiz (Midnight Sunday 5th June)


    Assessment for this unit is conducted in accordance with the Assessment Policy.

    Schedule of assessment items

    You will be assessed on the basis of:
    Assessment item Description Value Due
    Science in the Media Workshop contribution Assessing your understanding of workshop activity 2% Science in the Media forum contributions and discussion Part A due midnight Sunday 13th March
    Science in the Media forum contributions and discussion Part B due midnight Sunday 20th March
    Quizzes Assessing understanding of lecture material and workshop activities 33% Workshop quiz for Herd Immunity and Philosophy Café due midnight Sunday 17th April
    Lecture quizzes 1-3 due midnight Sunday 17th April
    Workshop quiz for Prion Theory, House MD, Measuring Minds and Travelling Salesman due midnight Sunday 15h May
    Lecture quizzes 4-6 due midnight Sunday 5th June
    Workshop quiz for the poster conference due midnight Sunday 5th June
    Contribution to Q and A Panel Discussions Quality of questions contributed 15% Midnight Sunday 20th March
    Reflective Journal Weekly reflection on learning activities
    0% formative feedback only
    Part 1 Midnight Sunday 27th March
    Part 2 Midnight Sunday 22nd May
    Examination Closed book multiple choice exam 30% Assessment period



    Assessment details


    Quizzes (35%)

    Your understanding of the content of each lecture and associated readings, will be assessed via online quizzes, accessible via Assessments in Your Online Unit.  This will mainly assess learning outcomes 1, 2 and 4.  There will be six lecture quizzes – one for each lecture topic. Each lecture quiz will contribute 2.5% to your final mark.  You will participate in a range of workshop activities.  There will be eight assessed workshop activities, the seven weekly workshops worth 2% each, and the virtual poster conference worth 6%. These will mainly assess learning outcomes 3, 4, and 5.

    Contribution to Q and A panel discussions (15%)

    Every second week there will be a Q and A style panel discussion, where a panel of experts will discuss a particular topic related to science and respond to questions from the audience.  You are required to submit questions via the LMS.  An assortment of the best questions submitted will be asked of the panel for each topic.  Your questions will be assessed and allocated a mark based on (a) relevance to the discussion topic, (b) the extent to which they demonstrate your understanding of the most important issue or issues.  There will be five Q and A panel discussions, with each contributed question worth 3% of your total mark (i.e. 5 x 3% = 15%).  This will assess learning outcomes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
    Reflective journal (0% and 20%)
    As this unit encompasses a wide range of content and learning experiences, you are asked to keep a journal of your reflections on your participation in the unit activities, including lectures, Q and A panel discussions and workshops activities.  Your task is to make an entry of approximately 200 words in your journal each week (2500 words total).  You are given the opportunity to submit the journal to your tutor in Week 4 for formative feedback. The completed journal should be submitted in Week 12 (20%). This will provide you with some preliminary feedback on your early work that you can use to refine your writing for the assessed submission.  You will be assessed on your awareness of what you have learned each week; your ability to evaluate different concepts and ideas, your understanding of them and their relevance to science and society;  your ability to identify the implications of your experience in the unit for your future actions as a student, a scientist, and a citizen. This will assess all six learning outcomes.

    Examination (30%)

    A two-hour, closed book, multiple choice exam will be held during the assessment period at the end of semester.  The exam will assess your understanding of the lecture content and issues raised in the panel discussions.  You must bring identification to the exam.  You may inspect your marked exam during the 14 day period following the release of results.

    Assignment submission

    You automatically submit your Reflective Journal submissions to URKUND when you submit online. Urkund is a text-matching service which will automatically show matches between your submission and text online or other submissions. There is no minimum or maximum score. It is simply your responsibility to check the report emailed by Urkund and amend your reflection where necessary prior to submitting the final version to your tutor for marking. You can submit your report as many times as you wish up until the due date. Please ensure you leave yourself time to submit to Urkund. It can take up to 24hrs to process a report.
    Your questions for the five Q and A panel discussions and your reflective journal are to be submitted under Assessments on your online unit.
    It is your responsibility to keep a copy of all work submitted for assessment.

    Penalties for late submission

    To ensure fairness to all students, Reflective Journals submitted after the deadline will lose 5% of the available marks for each day they are late.  Those submitted more than one week late will receive no marks.

    Extension requests

    In cases where a student fails to meet a deadline for some good and sufficient reason, an extension may be granted.  Extensions will usually be granted only for medical reasons or extreme personal difficulties, and will require you to present a medical certificate or other documentary evidence.  If you have ground for an extension, you should contact the Unit Administrator before the due date. The Unit Administrator will need to know:  your full name and student number, your tutor’s name, how many days’ extension you are requesting and what documentary evidence (e.g., medical certificate, letter from Counselling Service) you have.  For information about deferred assessment, please refer to the University handbook.

    Determination of the final grade

    The final mark will be the sum of all the component marks.  The learning goals of BSC150 include learning about a range of scientific disciplines and issues, the assessment tasks are designed to ensure that you engage with a sufficiently broad spectrum of these.  However, you are not required to pass each component, provided that your total mark exceeds 50%.  If there is a compelling reason why you are not able to attempt an assessment task, it is your responsibility to inform the Unit Administrator so that alternative provision can be made for you.
    To ensure consistency in marking between different tutors in the unit, a sample of assignments will be cross-marked and marks may be adjusted accordingly.  This will occur before assignments are returned to students.
    See Section 11 in the current Assessment Policy regarding grades.