SCIENCE 4030 - Emerging Issues in Science and Society

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

This course will examine science-related issues that affect society, as well as social issues that affect science. Implications for science policy, science education, science communication and scientific research will be considered. Students will work in teams to examine specific science-related issues that affect society and make recommendations for action. Students will prepare evidence briefs to inform decision makers. Students will examine specific social issues that affect science, and prepare position statements on these issues. This course will provide historical perspective on the roles of science in society. It will enhance students? skills in team work, critical thinking, creative thinking and problem-solving to address issues in science and society.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SCIENCE 4030
    Course Emerging Issues in Science and Society
    Coordinating Unit Sciences General
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Mixed mode - flexible and/or intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available only to students admitted to the relevant Honours program
    Assessment Assignments and essay
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Diane Mather

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Critically analyse literature relevant to specific scientific advances and their social relevance.
    2 Formulate logical evidence-based recommendations and supporting briefs related to issues in science and argue their relevance.
    3 Negotiate complex societal issues in a team through collaborative investigation and reporting
    4 Reflect on the social context of contemporary issues in science.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Learning activities will include
    • 6 x 2-h tutorial sessions in which the instructor introduces a historical or current example of a scientific issue with social implications and students will participate in in-class activities and discussion related to that issue.
    • 6 x 2-h tutorials designed to help students develop and practice skills needed for critical analysis of emerging issues in science and society
    • 6 x 3-h workshops in which students will work in teams on specific science-related issues that affect society
    Specific Course Requirements
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment task

    Type of Assessment


    Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes

    Hurdle Yes or No

    Course learning outcomes being assessed / achieved

    (Should be no more than 3)

    Approximate timing of assessment

    (week of teaching period)

    Introductory assignment





    Week 8

    Position statement




    1, 2

    Week 11

    Team report




    1, 2, 3

    Week 13

    Evidence brief




    2, 3

    Week 13

    Reflective statement





    Exam period

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Introductory assignment (10%)
    Each student will read a research article and write a concise statement about the possible social impact of the research and one concise recommendation that might help address that impact (up to 500 words total).

    Position statement (30%)
    Students will individually analyse a social issue that affects science and write a statement (up to 1500 words) that presents and justifies a specific position on this issue.

    Team report (30%)
    Students will work in groups of 3-5 (depending on class size) to analyse a science issue that affects (or has the potential to affect) society and to prepare a written report (up to 3000 words) that presents and justifies specific recommendations on that issue.

    Evidence brief (10%)
    Students will individually design and produce a one page (double-sided) evidence brief to support one or more recommendations related to a science issue that affects society.

    Reflective statement (20%)
    Students will maintain a reflective journal throughout the course that details their cognitive progression and records their contribution to team-based activities. Using this journal as a resource, students will reflect on their cognitive progression throughout the course and write a statement (up to 1000 words) on what they have learned throughout the course through participation in tutorials and workshops and through collaboration with their peers in team-based learning.

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M11 (Honours Mark Scheme)
    GradeGrade reflects following criteria for allocation of gradeReported on Official Transcript
    Fail A mark between 1-49 F
    Third Class A mark between 50-59 3
    Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B
    Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A
    First Class A mark between 80-100 1
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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